Explore an island that has a rich history
There are few places in South Africa that bear the weight and sheer historical importance of Robben Island, and a trip to the former prison serves as a jarring reminder of country’s troubled political past. At the same time, it reveals itself as a powerful symbol for the triumph of the human spirit, and offers fascinating insight into the reconciliation and resilience that played such a key role in the development of a new South Africa. From the moment you arrive at the humble island, just a short ferry ride from the V&A Waterfront, you’ll feel the impact of this World Heritage Site. A former inmate will guide you while on the island, and you’ll receive unparalleled insight into the significant role that each of the Robben Island’s inmates collectively played throughout apartheid.
There is a small curio shop in the Nelson Mandela Gateway building that offers a range of memorabilia and curios relating to the island. If you’re looking for more, the surrounding V&A Waterfront offers a wide range of shopping facilities, with over 450 stores, major retail outlets, food merchants, curio markets, craft workshops and barrows.
Tickets are sold at R320 for adults and R180 for all children under the age of 18. The three and a half hour tour includes a return trip across Table Bay, a visit to the Maximum Security Prison, interaction with an ex-political prisoner and a 45 minute bus tour with a guide providing commentary. Concession rates to schools and disadvantaged groups are also considered on application to the Education and Marketing departments respectively.
Getting to the V&A Waterfront from the airport
Robben Island is accessed by ferries which depart from the Nelson Mandela Gateway at the V&A Waterfront. The ferries leave at 9am, 11am and 1pm (winter); 9am, 11am, 1pm and 3pm (summer), weather permitting. The ferry ride is half an hour each way.
Transport to and around the V&A Waterfront
Car parking is situated at convenient locations around the V&A Waterfront which provide direct access to the Nelson Mandela Gateway, with varying tariffs to suit the length of your stay. Catch a MyCiti Bus (Cape Town’s rapid bus service) at Breakwater Station. On weekdays it comes every 10 minutes during peak periods. Metered Sedan Taxis are available from a number of locations in the V&A Waterfront.
|Nelson Mandela Gateway +27 (0)21 413 4200|
|The ferries leave at 9am, 11am and 1pm (winter); 9am, 11am, 1pm and 3pm (summer), weather permitting, from Nelson Mandela Gateway, at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town.|
Buy Tickets and Vist the Big 7
Robben Island Pictures
Big 7 News
While exploring a city on your own steam may be preferable to many travellers, there is something to be said for having a guide. From pointing out interesting landmarks that may have gone by unnoticed to helping you barter with local informal traders, guided walking tours are always worth investigating on your urban travels. Explore Cape Town’s City Walk via: Footsteps to Freedom, Cape Town Free Walking Tours or the City Sightseeing Walking Tours…
Having a good time with your family and friends shouldn’t break the bank, that is why we’ve found the best free and budget-friendly things to do at the Cape Town Big 7 attractions: Table Mountain Cableway, Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden, Robben Island, V&A Waterfront, Cape Point, City Walk and Groot Constantia.
From 8 October to 16 October Groot Constantia is celebrating wine with #PinotageDay and #DrinkLocalWine Day in #SouthAfrica.