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.

  • Explore South Africa’s political past in various Robben Island exhibition displays
  • Visit Nelson Mandela’s prison cell, and tour the maximum security prison with an ex-Robben Island prisoner
  • Tour the Robben Island surrounds in a guided bus tour
  • Keep an eye out for African Penguins
  • Pick up Robben Island and Cape Town memorabilia at the store in the Nelson Mandela Gateway
  • Venture out to explore the surrounding V&A Waterfront, where you can dine and shop with views of the iconic island
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    • A return boat trip across Table Bay
    • A visit to the infamous Maximum Security Prison Interaction with an ex-political prisoner
    • A 45-minute bus ride with a guide providing commentary
    • The opportunity to explore the Murray’s Bay Harbour precinct attractions, such as the Muslim shrine, or kramat, and the Museum Shop
    • Robben Island Museum offer school tours on request.

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.

Return Trip Tickets

Adults: R360
Children: R200 (children under the age of 18)

Skip the queues and book your tickets online via Webtickets

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.


The departure point for Robben Island is located in the heart of the V&A Waterfront.

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, from Nelson Mandela Gateway, at the V&A Waterfront. 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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 There is some pretty cool architecture on Robben Island. The Victorian style Governor’s House on Robben Island was built in 1895. During WW2 is served as an officers mess hall and today it is used as a conference venue. #architecture #CTBig6 #RobbenIsland #CapeTown #VictorianArchitecture

Robben Island Pictures

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