Bet you thought a history lesson and a fitness session could never work out pleasantly together… well the The Robben Island Museum Walking Tour will most certainly change your perspective. Read about our recent 10 000 steps explorative journey on the island.

As the latest addition to Robben Island Museum tours, alongside the standard bus tour, Educational Tours, and Specialised Tours, the Walking Tour offers visitors a guided walk around the Island’s perimeter while highlighting more historic sites.

During the course of the Robben Island Museum Walking Tour, visitors will be guided to eight historic sites, including the Murray’s Bay Harbour Exhibition, the Visitor Centre Complex, the Land of Banishment for Xhosa Chiefs, the Ou Tronk Exhibition, the Blue Stone Quarry, the World War II Precinct, the Lime Stone Quarry, and the Maximum Security Prison.

Since this new visitor experience was first launched in December 2021, the Robben Island Museum tour guides have welcomed many from right across the globe to experience this unique opportunity to delve deeper and closer into the history and biodiversity of the Island.

The significance of Robben Island lies in its sombre history as it was initially used as a prison and a hospital for the unfortunate who were isolated for being “socially undesirable”. These inhumane circumstances came to an end in the 1990s when the Apartheid regime was debunked by the enduring South African people and political prisoners who had been incarcerated on the Island were finally given their walk to freedom.

Today Robben Island symbolises the triumph of the human spirit of freedom and democracy over oppression. The Island has important places of commemoration of which the Walking Tour allows a more in-depth and personal experience to be enjoyed by visitors. On the Robben Island Museum Walking Tour visitors get to take their time appreciating and taking in the vast beauty and history the Island holds through its buildings, paths, views and vistas.

As visitors embark on a fulfilling stroll around the famous South African Island, encounters with birdlife are assured. Robben Island is home to around 132 species of birds along with some endangered species. This wide range of species is made up of sea birds, water birds and terrestrial birds, so be sure to look out for the popular Chukar Partridge and penguins in the fields and bushes when setting forth on the Robben Island Museum Walking Tour.

Although the Island is situated just off the coast of Cape Town (approximately 7 kilometres) and surrounded by water, the spotting of wildlife such as bontebok, springbok, steenbok, fallow deer, and eland can also be expected during the Robben Island Museum Walking Tour experience. Not forgetting the angulate tortoises that can frequently be seen casually crossing the roads as you make your trek from site to site.

As a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Robben Island Museum has many different layers of history that not many other places can match, making the Island a popular local and tourist attraction. Since Robben Island was opened to visitors in 1997, thousands of people, from far and wide, have visited the site to pay homage to the late Nelson Mandela and Robert Sobukwe.

From the moment you step onto the deck (making your first of 10 000) at Nelson Mandela Gateway and make your way onto one of the well-known Robben Island Museum ferries, your glorious Robben Island Museum trip is already put in motion. Get the most out of this historic experience with the Robben Island Museum Walking Tour.

The Robben Island Museum Walking Tour is available Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at 09h00. Visitors are advised to arrive 30 minutes before their boarding time and to wear comfortable clothes and shoes (preferably sneakers). Some fruit and snacks to nibble on during the walk is also advised, but refreshment shops are available on Island as well.

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Good to know

This new Walking Tour is not the standard tours on offer to Robben Island (which is priced between for R400 for adults and R210 for children under 18). This new Walking Tour will cover some sites that are not covered by the standard bus tour. These sites were upgraded during the nationwide lockdown in 2020/1 – including the Visitors’ Centre, the land of banishment and the Robert Sobukwe Complex. What also makes it unique is the fact that visitors will be walking to these sites (on the footsteps of those who came before us) and have a chance to ask questions and interact with the tour guide who will be guiding them on the walking tour. In addition there is the rich biodiversity of the island that will be showcased. The new Walking Tour includes the ferry ride to/from Robben Island.

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There is no one way to explore all of the Cape Town Big 6, and much of what makes each of them so special is the variety of things to see and do at each. So if possible, take your time to explore each of the city’s most visited tourist attractions in as much depth as possible – as any local will tell you, you can spend a lifetime at each of the Big 6 and still not tire of them. Find the 3 and 4 day itineraries and tips here.

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