Robben Island Prison, Cape Town, City of Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa
Attractions close byRobben Island 1kmV&A Waterfront 13kmTwo Oceans Aquarium 13kmIziko South African Musuem 15kmBelly of the Beast 15kmTable Mountain 18kmUltra-Trail Cape Town 18kmKirstenbosch Botanical Gardens 21kmGroot Constantia 26kmGroote Post 35km
What to expect: Former South African president Nelson Mandela spent 18 years imprisoned on Robben Island, which is located just under 7km from off the coast of Bloubergstrand, Cape Town. His stay there has formed an important part of the narrative and it’s the perfect place to start learning of not just his life story, but his fellow political prisoners.
Be inspired by the stories of former prisoners as they guide you through the prison hallways and around the island, which includes a visit to the Lime Quarry and the house of another famous political prisoner Robert Sobukwe. This three to five hour excursion is a life changing experience.
Website: Robben Island Museum
Robben Island Lighthouse
The lighthouse on Robben Island is a shining symbol on an already very symbolic island. Built using locally quarried stone, it dates back to 1865. But during his time imprisoned on the island, Nelson Mandela was forced to quarry the same type of stone.
The circular tower is still operational, and flashes every seven seconds. View the lighthouse on the Robben Island Museum tour. Ferries for the tour leave daily from the Clock Tower at the V&A Waterfront.
The Kramat of Tuan Matarah
Also known as Sayed Abduraghman Motura, was well-known for bringing comfort to prisoners on Robben Island when they were ill. Tuan Matarah passed away on Robben Island, and his Kramat serves as a shrine for remembering his influence of Islam in Cape Town. The Kramat in his honour can be viewed on the Robben Island Museum tour. Ferries for the tour leave daily from the Clock Tower at the V&A Waterfront.
Off the island
In addition to experiences on the Island, there are a number of free Robben Island Museum exhibits on the mainland. This includes the Jetty 1 site, the historical departure point to Robben Island.
Visit for the multimedia interactive exhibition, telling stories from those who went through that space. Also included are accounts of ex-political prisoners, ex-prison warders and their families.
Tucked inside the bustling V&A Waterfront harbour, this is a hidden gem of history that even locals are surprised by.