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Learn more about Mandela's time on Robben Island!

People lived on Robben Island many thousands of years ago, when the sea channel between the Island and the Cape mainland was not covered with water. Since the Dutch settled at the Cape in the mid-1600s, Robben Island has been used primarily as a prison. Indigenous African leaders, Muslim leaders from the East Indies, Dutch and British soldiers and civilians, women, and anti-apartheid activists, were all imprisoned on the Island. Nobel Laureate and former President of South Africa Nelson Mandela was imprisoned on Robben Island for 18 of the 27 years he served behind bars before the fall of apartheid.

Robben Island has not only been used as a prison. It was a training and defence station in World War II (1939-1945) and a hospital for people with leprosy, and the mentally and chronically ill (1846-1931). Since 1997 it has been a museum and a heritage site.

The Robben Island Tour includes:

  • 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.

To secure a place for yourself or your group on the ferry during the busy summer season, we recommend you to book early with Ticketbar!


3.5 hours (including the two half-hour ferry rides)

Departing times:

You can select morning or afternoon tickets, An exact departure-time will be given after your reservation. Tickets will be sent within 24 hours.

How does it work?

When yo select the morning departure we automatically select th 9.00h departure. If there is no other availability we select the 11h departure.
The afternoon departure departs at 15.00h. If there is no availability at 15.00h, we automatically select th 13.00h departure.
Timeslots can not be changed or cancelled after your reservation. We would like to ask you to be available in the morning or afternoon, when you have selected this time of the day.

Departure point:

Clocktower, Nelson Mandela Gateway V&A Waterfront