Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Robben Island is a popular pilgrimage spot in Cape Town and one of South Africa’s most famous sights.
Floating off the coast of Bloubergstrand, just north of Cape Town, Robbens Island served as a prison from the late-seventeenth century until 1996, after the end of apartheid. Nelson Mandela spent 18 of his 27-year sentence on the island, and today visitors can visit his cell as part of a tour led by former political prisoners. It’s a small island, measuring just 2 km by 4 km and you’ll need to book onto a tour to get there. With so many to choose from, we’ve compared five of the best Robben Island tours from Cape Town based on value for money, itinerary and customer reviews.
Table Mountain, Robben Island and Aquarium Tour
This full-day trip is an excellent option for travellers short on time. The tour takes in a selection of Cape Town’s top tourist attractions, with a visit to Table Mountain, Robben Island, the V&A Waterfront and the Two Oceans Aquarium. After a cable car ride up Table Mountain, customers depart for Robben Island from the V&A Waterfront for a guided tour around the prison. The day finishes up with free time in the V&A Waterfront and a trip to the Two Oceans Aquarium. Prices include return transport to your hotel and a local guide, but exclude the ferry ticket to Robben Island and entry to Table Mountain and the aquarium. From $45.15 per person
Robben Island Ferry Ticket and Townships
This highly rated eight-hour day trip combines a visit to Robben Island with a tour of some of Cape Town’s most famous townships. The day kicks off with a tour around District Six, where some 60,000 inhabitants were forcibly removed during the apartheid regime, followed by tours of Langa and Gugulethu. As well as gaining insights into the regime, customers are invited to visit a shebeen (pub) to sample homemade beer and see a traditional healer in action. Then, it’s onwards to Robben Island, for an afternoon trip to Robben Island. Prices include a driver/guide, hotel pickup and Robben ferry island ticket but do not include a tour guide on Robben Island. From $78.26 per person
Robben Island Half Day Tour with Pre-booked Tickets
For those looking for a tour that focuses exclusively on Robben Island, this half-day package is an excellent option. A driver will meet you at your hotel in Cape Town and drive you to the Nelson Mandela Gateway for the ferry journey. On the island, travellers can enjoy a private tour with a former political prisoner. The tour lasts at least four hours and includes private transportation, entry and admission to Robben Island and bottled water. Travellers can choose from 09:00 am, 11:00 am, 01:00 pm and 03:00 pm time slots. From $99.38 per person.
Robben Island Tickets, Penguins and Private Cape Point Tour
On this full-day trip, visitors are treated to a trip to Robben Island and a tour around Cape of Good Hope and Cape Point. The day kicks off early at 06:00 am with transport from your hotel, followed by stops at Maiden’s Cover, Chapman’s Peak and Boulder’s Beach, home to a large colony of penguins. A guided tour and hike at the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve follow, before hopping on the ferry to Robben Island. From here, an ex-prisoner provides a tour of the prison that lasts around four hours. Prices include transportation, a registered tour guide, Robben Island boat trip and tour and Chapman’s Peak tolls. You’ll need to pay a small fee to ride on Cape Point funicular and enter Boulders Penguins colony. From $180.59 per person.
Robben Island by Air: Scenic Helicopter Flight
For an alternative perspective, you could try this exhilarating helicopter ride over Robben Island. Departing from V&A Waterfront Helipad, the helicopter soars over the Atlantic ocean straight for the UNESCO World Heritage Site. As you circumnavigate the island, the pilot will provide insights into the island’s history, pointing out the best views of the prison and village too. On the way back, travellers can enjoy post-card-perfect views of Cape Town and Table Mountain, extending all the way out to Lion’s Head and Camps Bay in the distance. Prices include the shared helicopter flight and in-fligt commentary from the pilot. From $180.59 per person