Once a place of imprisonment, exile and isolation, Robben Island now stands as one of Cape Town's most intriguing visitor attractions. Located in Table Bay, just 6.8 kilometres west of the coast, this historical attraction is both a South African National Heritage Site as well as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
For 400 years, Robben Island was a place of banishment for political troublemakers, social outcasts and undesirables in society. Its most famous inmate was spiritual and political leader Nelson Mandela, who was held as a political prisoner there for 18 years.
While South Africa was under the apartheid system, Robben Island became notorious for its brutality, and today it stands as a poignant reminder to democratic South Africa of the cost of freedom.
Take a tour of the prisonClosed as a prison in 1995, the Robben Island Museum was opened in 1997. Educational for both children and adults, this fascinating museum tells the story of South Africa and conducts on-going research into the history of the island.
Take a tour around Robben Island and delve into the murky history of the place. Tours are often conducted by former prisoners. See Nelson Mandela's cell and hear contrasting tales of both freedom and misery. A trip to Robben Island is an unforgettable and often highly emotional experience that you won’t want to miss.
Surprisingly, the island is also home to a colony of African Penguins giving wildlife enthusiasts a chance to witness this beautiful bird up close during your visit.
Robben Island lies just off the coast of Cape Town, and you can take a ferry from the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront. This Radisson Blu Hotel Waterfront, Cape Town is just a short walk from the ferry departure point, so it's the perfect place to stay if you want to visit this world-famous attraction.