The essence of the tour of Robben Island
Declared a World Heritage Site, the 3.5 hour eye opening tour illuminates the country’s tortured history and once prison to its most formidable political heroes, which include Nelson Mandela. The ferry ride departs from the luxurious V&A Waterfront and provides a breathtaking view of the city and Table Mountain in its backdrop. Helicopter and private tours can also be accommodated for more discerning travellers. The island is home to a wide variety of fauna and expertly guided by ex-political prisoners that give chilling experienced tours across the island and the in-house museum.
Highlights of this harrowing tour include Nelson Mandela’s cell, where South Africa’s greatest known statesman was harshly imprisoned during his incarceration. This is also the focal point of the tour for many people. Explore the limestone quarry where prisoners would toil in the raging sun for hours, breaking up rocks in this carefully patrolled area was just a mindless way to keep prisoners occupied. A vast graveyard on the island houses many prisoners who were taken by an epidemic, and further back in history to those who succumbed to leprosy. There are various places of worship including a green domed mosque and the old Garrison church. During these harrowing times of struggle there was always the refuge of faith. A tour of Robben Island, once a maximum security prison, is a fascinating window into the torments of the past.