Robben Island Tours – Cape Town Attractions

Robben Island

Welcome to Robben Island – Please leave your prejudices at the door

Despite its controversial past, Robben Island is just one of many Cape Town attractions that make the Mother City such a desirable tourist destination. If you’re looking for something that’s educational, inspirational and highly enjoyable then don’t miss out on a Robben Island tour next time you visit Cape Town. The tours are a year round favourite among locals and international visitors and provide some important insight into South Africa’s past.

Not your typical stuffy museum type tour, Robben Island (also known as Robben Eiland) is only accessible by boat. Once you’ve reached the island you’ll be hosted by one of Robben Island’s ex political prisoners as you tour the island learning about the significant role the prison and its inmates played in shaping what South Africa has become today.

Robben Island Watchtower

Robben Island Prison Watchtower

Below some interesting facts about Robben Island:

  • Robben Island is a UNESCO World Heritage Site (just one of 8 in South Africa)
  • Robben Island and Table Mountain are the only two World Heritage sites that can be seen from each other
  • The island was once used as a leper colony and animal quarantine station
  • The island is 574 hectares and is home to over 100 bird species
  • The highest point on the island is Minto Hill that houses the Southern Hemisphere’s oldest lighthouse.

Mandela on Robben Island

Nelson Mandela Prison Cell

A visit to Nelson Mandela’s prison cell on Robben Island is a once in a lifetime experience. You’ll stand in awe of how this iconic political figure spent the good part of 18 years in such a cramped space. It’s an unbelievable eye opener seeing the harsh conditions Madiba was subject to during the many years he spent on the island.

Getting there

The Robben Island ferry departs daily from the Nelson Mandela Gateway at the V&A Waterfront. I’d suggest booking your tickets well in advance (especially during the summer months). If you’re going to book your Robben Island tickets in advance just check the weather forecast so you’re not left out in the cold.

Robben Island Boat Trips

Visit the official Robben Island tour booking website for more details on this not to be missed Cape Town attraction.

As of May 2011 Robben Island tickets cost R220 for adults and R110 for children under 18. The Robben Island tour is 3 ½ hours and includes a return ferry trip across Table Bay, a visit to the Maximum Security Prison, interaction with an ex-political prisoner, a visit to the lime quarry and a 45 minute bus tour with a guide providing commentary.

If you need a cheap flight to Cape Town then Travelstart can help. Follow the link to search, compare, book and fly.

If you’re also visiting Johannesburg then you must stop by the Apartheid Museum – this will round off your Robben Island experience perfectly.

Images: juergenschulte, gorbulas_sandybanks & Mr Ush on Flickr

Our Readers Comments

  1. Nice place to b been there 1Sept 2017.Enjoyed every minute.I wish to book for a group of 45 adults frm Newcastle kzn.0822169132

  2. To whom it may concern I want to book a school tour can you get back to me ASAP;

    • Hi Olivia,

      Thanks for contact us.

      For this you will need to contact the Cape Town tourism board or click on the link provided in the blog you replied to it will take you to the Robben Island Cape Town website where contact details are provided.

      I have copied and pasted it below their contact details.

      T +27 (0)21 413 4200 | F +27 (0)21 419 1057

  3. we would like to make an advance booking for robben island any day from 26th Dec 2015. we are a group of 7 adults, 4 children under 13 and 1 under 16 preferred time is 13hoo or 15hoo


    • Hi Mohammed,

      Thanks for contacting us.

      We wont be able to assist in making this reservation.

      I have done a search and found the following website where you will be able to make the necessary reservation.

      Hope this helps.

      Enjoy your trip.

  4. I need 5 adult tickets and 5 kids tickets for robben island. Either for the 3, 4, 5 January. Please. Thank you

  5. Hello i would like to book for 10 tickets for robben island we are coming there on the 23Sep its wise to book in advance or tell us how it work all adult

  6. hello I would like to know if I can book anywhere else I would like to book a ticket of r220 and one of r110

  7. im pretoria requesting a price to robben island

    • To whom it may concern

      We a groep of 10people we’ll be visting Robin Island on 24 Oct 2014 so we would like to know can we book inadvance or how does ot work.

      Pls assist

  8. Dear Sir/Madam

    Blackheath Primary School would like to visit Robin Island. Could you please forward details to our school as soon as possible. Conact Details: 021 905 2200. or Mrs. September at 079 5224288.

    email @:

    We would like to bring 120 learners and 10 educators on this excursion.

    Kindest regards

    Rene Schuurman

    Admn clerk
    Blackheath Primary School

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