Exploring Robben Island

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The historical landmark, Robben Island, is located 7kms off the coast of Cape Town and the Table Bay Hotel. Every 2 hours, ferries depart from the buzzing V&A Waterfront, taking visitors across to the island. Ferry tickets costs R200 for adults and R100 for children (U/18) and trips are usually weather dependent.

From the 17th to the 20th Century, Robben Island served as a place of banishment and isolation. It is most well known for having housed many political prisoners, including former president, Nelson Mandela. We’ve come a long way since then and today, Robben Island serves as an icon of South African heritage and has also been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

You’ll be taken around the island by bus, but this means of travel also allows for some great photography – so be sure to pack your camera. Not only will you be able to snap shots of the island, but you’ll also see a magnificent view of Table Bay as you reflect back. What makes a visit to Robben Island so incredibly unique is that the tour guides who take you around were actually once prisoners here, so they can give you a first-hand account and a real glimpse into how things were as you meander around.

During your tour, be sure to visit the Robben Island Museum which runs educational programmes for schools, youths and adults. The island is also home to a variety of fauna and flora, including 23 species of mammals and over 132 species of birds! The combination of this complex ecosystem juxtaposed to a history-rich story makes a trip to Robben Island well worth a visit for anyone staying in Cape Town.

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