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Cape Town Robben Island tours and information

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Robben Island is world renowned as the prison in which Nelson Mandela spent much of his 27 years of incarceration. But prior to Nelson Mandela and his fellow political dissidents, the island had a 400 year-long and unhappy history as a dumping ground for any unwanted persons - from those who went against the political, social or religious grain of the day, to criminals, lepers and lunatics.

Many apartheid activists and former inmates consider it as their alternative political "university". Today a moving memorial to a long liberation struggle, it is one of South Africa's most significant historical sites, where former political prisoners will act as your guides.

The Island, surrounded by the cold, restless and shark-infested waters of Table Bay, is situated ten kilometres off- shore and is 575 hectares in size. It is home to a rich and varied marine life, particularly seabirds, some of which are rare migrants.

Ferry service
A thirty min trip by catamaran (or alternately a historical boat (previously used to taxi prisoners to the Island); every day, every hour, 9am to 2pm, from Nelson Mandela Gateway at the Waterfront.

Prior to embarking on an Island trip, explore the Nelson Mandela Gateway: the mainland memorial to the Island's history and past inhabitants that provides orientation and context for your Robben Island experience - and worth a visit on its own.

Bus, walking and cycling tours and limited accommodation - are available on the Island