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.
The standard tour to Robben Island is 3.5 hours long, including the two half-hour ferry rides. 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. from Nelson Mandela Gateway, at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town.
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.|
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Robben Island Pictures
Big 7 News
On 29 March, in celebration of International Piano Day, Ian Burgess-Simpson Pianos together with Table Mountain Cableway brought up music to the mountain for a once in a lifetime event; the handcrafted Shigeru Kawai grand piano was placed on the 12 Apostles Terrace on top of Table Mountain.
There is no doubt that Robben Island is a very special place, it is a powerful symbol for the triumph of the human spirit, and offers a fascinating insight into the reconciliation and resilience that played such a key role in the development of a new South Africa.
Earth Hour is an annual global event highlighting the environmental challenges facing our planet and is celebrated on the last Saturday in March for one hour from 20:30 pm to 21:30 pm local time. The V&A Waterfront is working with Sunshine Cinema, a solar-powered mobile cinema, to host their first solar-powered Earth Hour event on 25 March 2017.