Robben Island




Located about 12 kilometers away from the coast of Cape Town, South Africa, is the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Robben Island. The island is situated in the Table Bay can be reached by boats that arrive from Cape Town. Boat rides take approximately 20 minutes.

Robben Island is a relatively small island. Only about a kilometer wide the island lies just above the sea level. The significance of the island lies in the purpose it served. For nearly 4 decades, Robben Island served as a prison, military base and as a leper colony that housed criminals,  outcasts and petty trouble makers.

The name translates to “Island of Seals” in Dutch and the island became quite famous near the 20th century when it became a common place to send exiled people from around the continent. Most of these exiled prisoners also included very famous politicians and freedom fighters.


Amongst the several inmates, the more popular included Nelson Mandela, Tokyo Sexwale, Dennis Brutus, Walter Sisilu and Robert Sobkwe. Housing very important politicians, the island remained under tight security surveillance and was off limits to even local fishermen, let alone civilians.

During their stay in Robben Island, the inmates were subject to several tortures and public humiliations that were meted out to crush their spirit. However, as time grew, the oppressions paved a way for the people to fight back and gain freedom of speech and mind.

Excursions: The Robben Island is today a major tourist attraction in Cape Town and those who have already visited the island claim to feel the hardships the inmates had gone through while wandering around the prisons.

It is highly recommended to book a tour well in advance as tours to the island get fully booked weeks in advance. The island can be reached by boats that take about 30 minutes to arrive from the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront in Cape Town. Ratones para gaming

On site features: There are two main parts to the island. Upon disembarking at the main jetty, guests are greeted with a sign that reads “Robben Island welcomes you – we serve with pride”. The main jetty is also called as the Nelson Mandela Gateway which houses a port and a museum.

A shuttle bus at the main jetty takes guests on a tour of the island and stops at various interesting landmarks including the village, temples, ship wrecks, Robben Island University, the lighthouse, cannon battery and the central prison.

The other part of the island includes the maximum security prison that used to house the political prisoners. The highlight of this jail is that it was built by the prisoners themselves. The prison is divided into several sectors from A to D. Sectors A-A to A-F are all housed on the ground floor and are small individual rooms. Sectors D-A to D-F housed bigger common rooms with a capacity of over 80 prisoners. Though the prison is huge, the rooms and sectors are small and very uncomfortable and you could actually feel the hardships endured by the prisoners by just looking at these rooms.

The guides who undertake the tours are politically influenced people who had served sentences in the same prison before. Hence you can expect them to have firsthand knowledge of the prison and its gruesome stories.

While on the island, you can also take some time off to visit one of the largest colonies of African Penguins in the entire continent. On the whole, the entire trip takes you to a place you could never even think of living in. And yet, some of the greatest leaders of the world called it a home for so many years. When you are in Cape Town, don’t miss out on visiting the Robben Island which has more than one sad tale to tell.


Robben Island

Robben Island

Located about 12 kilometers away from the coast of Cape Town, South Africa, is the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Robben Island. The island is situated in the T





Robben Island
Robben Island

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