Cape Attractions - Robben Island
• Island of immense historical importance
• Robben Island Museum
• Prison for political activists
• Home of Nelson Mandela's incarceration
• World Heritage Site
Robben Island, which lies approximately 11 kilometres north of Cape Town, is where former President, Nelson Mandela was incarcerated for most of his 27 years of imprisonment. The island, once described by Nelson Mandela as "the harshest, most iron-fisted outpost in the South African penal system," was used as a place where the pre-democratic authorities in South Africa banished their political opponents.
In its tumultuous history, Robben Island has served as a sheep farm, a penal settlement, a leper colony, a pauper camp, an infirmary and a lunatic asylum. In 1997, the island was proclaimed a World Heritage Site and transformed into a museum.
Tours to Robben Island are given on a daily basis. Day trips by ferry take in the tiny prison cells (including Nelson Mandela's) and the other buildings of significant and historical importance. Your tour guide is an ex-prisoner who will regale you of stories of his time as a prisoner on the island.