Where to Stay - South Africa

Robben Island, Cape Town, Western Cape

Infamous island, Nelson Mandela spent 18 years on Robben Island. Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Important symbol in the new South Africa.

Robben Island, Cape Town

Cape Town Attractions

Cape Town Accommodation

This infamous island, just off the coast of Cape Town, was a penal colony for most of its 400 year history and is surrounded by a rough shark-infested sea. Nelson Mandela spent 18 years on Robben Island, most of them in a small cell. In 1997, Robben Island was turned into a museum and declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Island has become an extremely important symbol in the new South Africa, reflecting the triumph of good over evil, of democracy over apartheid.

The museum's guides are former prisoners themselves and listening to their stories makes a visit to Robben Island a humbling and emotional experience.

We recommend you book your tour in advance either through a travel agent or directly at the Nelson Mandela Gateway (near the clock tower) on the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront. During peak season (December and January) we advise you book 3 weeks in advance and also reconfirm your booking before you arrive. 

Ferry times to Robben Island

The ferries depart 09h00, 10h00, 11h00 and 13h00, 14h00 and 15h00 weather permitting from the V&A Waterfront Cape Town. Passengers must arrive 30 minutes prior to departure time and the gates close 10 minutes before departure time. Tours last around 3.5 hours and include the two 30 minute ferry rides to Robben Island and back, a tour of the prison buildings, and a bus tour of the island itself. Make sure you bring a hat and sunglasses in the summer and most importantly a comfortable pair of walking shoes. Cameras are allowed on the island.

Tickets for Robben Island Tour
Tickets for Robben Island can be bought in advance online on the webtickets.co.za website. The ticket price includes return boat trip across Table Bay, a visit to the Maximum Security Prison and a bus tour of the island.

Adults: R250
Children Under 18yrs: R120

Robben Island Museum
Telephone: +27 (0)21 409 5100

Nelson Mandela Gateway
Telephone: +27 (0)21 413 4200