Robben Island

Robben Island: Our most recommended tours and activities

Cape Town: Robben Island Ferry Tour with 1-Way Hotel Pickup

1. Cape Town: Robben Island Ferry Tour with 1-Way Hotel Pickup

Take the ferry to Robben Island and tour the prison where Nelson Mandela was confined. Learn about South Africa's history of Apartheid and life in the prison from a former prisoner. Depart from Cape Town on a shared bus to the V&A Waterfront. Collect your ticket and make your way to the Nelson Mandela Gateway to Robben Island. Sail out to the island on a 45-minute journey. On arrival, embark on a bus tour of the island before visiting the prison and the cell where Nelson Mandela was kept for 18 of his 27 prison years. Gain an insight into the history and conditions of the prison from a former prisoner. After the tour, return to Cape Town and be dropped off at the V&A Waterfront. Here you will be free to return to your accommodation independently or continue touring the beautiful city.

Cape Town: Table Mountain, Robben Island, and Aquarium Tour

2. Cape Town: Table Mountain, Robben Island, and Aquarium Tour

Join a guided tour and visit Cape Town's top attractions, including Table Mountain, Robben Island, the V&A Waterfront, and the Two Oceans Aquarium. Enjoy the convenience of a hotel pickup and travel in the comfort of an air-conditioned vehicle. Start your day of exploring Cape Town with an early pickup directly from your accommodation and set out to see the city's most iconic attraction, Table Mountain. Purchase your tickets and hop into one of the cable cars to make your way to the top of the mountain. Spend some time soaking in the breathtaking views of the City of Cape Town, Signal Hill, and Lion's Head. Then, join your guide as you walk to another lookout point and be rewarded with sweeping views of the Atlantic Ocean, Camps Bay, and the Twelve Apostles Mountains. Ride the cable car back down the mountain and head to the V&A Waterfront where you'll board a ferry to Robben Island. Disembark at Murray's Bay Harbor on the east coast of the island and board a bus that will take you to all the historic sites. Get a guided tour of the prison while learning about South Africa's history, the struggle against oppression, and the thousands of freedom fighters who were imprisoned on Robben Island, including former president Nelson Mandela. Return by ferry to the V&A Waterfront and enjoy some free time to do some shopping or grab a bite to eat at one of the many restaurants (cost not included). End your day with a visit to the Two Oceans Aquarium. Explore the wonders of the ocean up close as you visit the penguin exhibit, shark exhibit, ocean exhibit, and much more. Finally, hop back into your air-conditioned vehicle and enjoy a comfortable ride back to your accommodation.

Cape Town: Waterfront and Sunset Champagne Cruise

3. Cape Town: Waterfront and Sunset Champagne Cruise

Enjoy a unique view of the coast of Cape Town from the sea while relaxing and sipping on local sparkling wine on this sunset cruise. Admire the sunset over the Atlantic Ocean that stretches away from the majestic Table Mountain range. The sailboats Esperance and Serenity One follow the wind for this cruise, and therefore the destination is dependent on the weather at the time of the cruise. Your captain will let you know before departure your expected direction, but typical Cape Town summer wind blows from the southeast. First, you'll leave the harbor and sail across Table Bay towards Milnerton Lighthouse, returning to the protection of the Granger Bay in the lee of Table Mountain to watch the sun set, and then motor back to the waterfront. In the winter months, with the Northwester prevalent, the direction will likely be towards the Clifton coastline or the Robben Island Coastline. This cruise will also return to Granger Bay and the Waterfront. On some occasions the weather may require the use of a motorboat, in which case the boat will cruise slowly along the Atlantic seaboard towards Clifton beach and then return. On all trips your skipper and crew will do their best, weather dependent, to give you the best view of the spectacular sunset over the sea - you won't believe the beauty of this sight until you experience it yourself! For all the vessels, when the seas are running too high or the wind is unpleasantly strong, instead of heading into Table Bay the destination is the Cape Town Harbor; a perfect alternative offering magical views of Table Mountain and the lights of Cape Town and the harbor in the evening. In extreme conditions the skipper will take every aspect into account, and even stay dockside to ensure the safety of the passengers.

Cape Town: Robben Island Ferry Ticket and Townships Tour

4. Cape Town: Robben Island Ferry Ticket and Townships Tour

Discover some of Cape Town's most famous townships on a guided tour in an air-conditioned minivan. Visit District Six, take a walking tour in Langa, and learn about Bonteheuwel as you drive through it. After, explore Robben Island on your own with an included ferry ticket. Explore District Six, where 60,000 inhabitants were forcibly removed during the 1970s by the apartheid regime. Drive to Langa and learn the history of the oldest township at sites like the Old Pass Office and the monument to Robert Sobukwe. Learn about life during apartheid on a walking tour of the hostels and shacks. Visit a shebeen (pub), try some homemade beer, and see a traditional healer in action Then, drive through the Bonteheuwel township, reserved for the "colored" community during the days of apartheid. Hear about the division of people and its impact on the communities today. See the Gugulethu 7 Memorial to the members of an anti-apartheid group killed by the South African Police in 1986, and the memorial to the American student Amy Biehl, murdered by PAC supporters in 1993. Afterward, get dropped off at the V&A Waterfront to take your ferry to Robben Island.

Cape Town: Marine Wildlife Tour from the V&A Waterfront

5. Cape Town: Marine Wildlife Tour from the V&A Waterfront

Climb aboard and look for marine life in the ecosystem of Table Bay on a 1.5-hour eco-cruise from Cape Town. See species in their natural surroundings, such as humpback and southern right whales, depending on the season. Get the chance to watch pods of dolphins breaching close to the boat and marvel at their acrobatic displays. Be enchanted by Cape fur seals lounging on the jetties and get close to unusual species, such as sunfish. Watch African penguins diving for fish to take back to their breeding colony on Robben Island.  Encounter birdlife, such as terns, gannets, cormorants and mighty black-browed albatross.

Robben Island Tickets, Penguins, and Private Cape Point Tour

6. Robben Island Tickets, Penguins, and Private Cape Point Tour

After a 6:00 AM pickup from your hotel in Cape Town or the surroundings, you'll proceed along the Atlantic Seaboard where you can admire mountains on one side and the ocean on the other. Stop at the Maiden's Cover for a photo opportunity with a backdrop of the Twelve Apostles Mountain Range. Passing through Clifton, Camps Bay, Llundadno, and Hout Bay. Stop for photos on one of the world's most scenic routes, Chapman's Peak drive. Next, stop at Boulder's penguin colony to visit these enchanting creatures. Watch as these adorable birds play and frolic in the ocean. Your final destination will be the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve for a guided tour and a photo stop at this very popular landmark. From there, you'll travel to Cape Point, where you can hike to the top of the lighthouse (or take the funicular). At 10:30 AM arrive at the Nelson Mandela Gateway to Robben Island where you will take the 11:00 AM boat trip to Robben Island for a prison tour. On the island, an ex-prisoner will be your guide and take you through the prison. See the cell where Nelson Mandela spent so many years. Upon return from the island at approximately 3:00 PM, your guide will be waiting for you again at the clock tower to transfer you back to your hotel.

Township and Robben Island Combination Tour

7. Township and Robben Island Combination Tour

Discover some of the most notable townships of Cape Town, learning about the struggle against Apartheid. Then visit the infamous Robben Island to see where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for much of his 27-year incarceration. Start the tour at the historical site of District Six, where inhabitants were forcibly removed according to the Group Areas Act of 1950 during the Apartheid era. From there move on to Langa, the oldest township in Cape Town. Travel to Bonteheuwel, a township developed from the forcibly removed District Six residents classified as colored. Learn about the rules in these townships and how they affected everyday life. Make your way to Gugulethu, home to more than 300,000 residents. Here your guide will explain how this township has developed after the fall of Apartheid. Break for lunch at the V&A Waterfront, one of the top tourist destinations in Cape Town with breathtaking views of Table Mountain. After lunch, hop on the ferry to Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was incarcerated for 18 of his 27 prison years. Here you take a guided tour of the infamous maximum-s.ecurity prison and see Nelson Mandela's cell. After exploring the island you will be taken back to the V&A Waterfront by ferry, where the tour ends

Cape Town: Private Robben Island, Table Mountain & City Tour

8. Cape Town: Private Robben Island, Table Mountain & City Tour

Begin your journey of Cape Town with a hotel pick up, where you will be greeted by your guide who will take care of you throughout the day.  Head straight to the ferry dock to catch your boat to Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela spent 27 years in prison during the Apartheid era. Visit the former prison on a guided tour, hearing stories of the famous island's past. Next, head back across the water to the Victoria and Alfred waterfront, where your guide will take you on a historical tour of Cape Town. See a number of iconic monuments and sights, including the Parliament buildings, the Company's Garden, the Slave Auction Tree, the Apartheid Museum in District Six, the Slave Museum, the Castle — which is the oldest building in South Africa, built between 1666-1679. The last stop on your South African excursion is a visit to Table Mountain. Hop on the cable car and make your way to the top of Cape Town for unparalleled views of the sprawling city and the ocean.

Robben Island By Air Scenic Helicopter Flight

9. Robben Island By Air Scenic Helicopter Flight

Make your way to the V&A Waterfront Helipad to check in about 15 to 20 minutes before your scheduled shared helicopter flight over the city and coast. Get a safety briefing on arrival, and then proceed to the beautiful flight deck to see the operation up close and personal while you wait to board your flight. Climb aboard a helicopter and start your adventure with a complete circumnavigation of Robben Island. Once airborne you leave the city behind you as you soar over the Atlantic ocean and head straight for the historical Robben Island. Your pilot will confidently navigate the helicopter around the island enabling you to experience the best possible views of the prison, the village and all else that is so unique on it. En route back to the mainland you will get to view the picture perfect combination of Cape Town and Table Mountain with Lion's Head and Camps Bay in the distance. As you descend for landing you fly over the working harbour of Table Bay and get one last look at Table Mountain.

Cape Town: 2-Day Best Highlights Private Tour

10. Cape Town: 2-Day Best Highlights Private Tour

Day 1 After an 8:00 AM pickup from your hotel, start the day with a guided tour of Cape Town's famous Table Mountain. Follow this with a scenic drive through the coastal neighborhoods of Mouille Point, Three Anchor Bay, Sea Point, Bantry Bay, and Clifton before stopping for a photo opportunity at Maiden's Cove. Continue to Hout Bay for a boat trip to Seal Island. Enjoy the ocean views as you travel through Llandudno before arriving at Chapmans Peak Drive for a relaxing 15-minute stop at the viewpoint. At Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve, keep an eye out for the Dias Cross, converging ocean currents and diverse fauna and flora, such as baboons and ostriches. Visit the rare breed of African penguins at Boulders Penguins Colony before returning to your accommodation via Fish Hoek, Kalk Bay, and Muizenburg. You will be dropped at your hotel or accommodation. Day 2 Head to the Clock Tower Precinct, V&A Waterfront after another 8:00 AM pickup from your hotel. Start with a Robben Island boat trip and museum tour, which last 3.5 to 4 hours, before being reunited with your tour guide at the V&A Waterfront. Enjoy Cape Town's highlights on a guided city tour, including visits to the colorful Bo-Kaap neighborhood and famous city monuments. Follow this with a wine tasting at one of the oldest wineries in South Africa, Groot Constantia Wine Estate. Conclude the tour with a visit to the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens for a relaxing walk found at the foot of Table Mountain. You will be dropped off at your hotel at the end of the tour.

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What people are saying about Robben Island

Overall rating

4.3 / 5

based on 1,158 reviews

Eye opening experience on how the 3/4 of the population still lives in Cape Town. Walk tour around the slams (so-called townships) with a local guide is priceless! And the best part- absolutely safe - no beggars, no kids following you and asking for anything, nothing dangerous at all! Highly recommended tour if you want not only see the glamorous of the waterfront but glance at the other part of the everyday lives of a regular, ‘less fortunate’ people of the mother town.

Had a great time…got to see Robben Island, penguins at Boulders Beach, Cape Point and took a scenic drive on Chapman’s Peak. A must see for every visitor to Cape Town. Guide made the experience unforgettable for us!

This tour was very informative. Our Guide was an former political prisoner who spoke eloquently and answered questions. We were even able peek into Nelson Mandela’s cell. The trip was divine. I highly recommend it.

Great experience. Especially walking with a guide in his own township being welcomed into his home.

Oh wow, this was a breathtaking experience and I would definitely do it again