A visit to
Cape Town is half-finished without experiencing Robben Island, about 7 kilometres
from the mainland. Robben Island is very
much part of the culture and complexities of South Africans and a rich part of
our history and heritage. Permitting
|The Susan Kruger ferry.|
weather conditions, tours depart daily from the Nelson Gateway at the Cape Town Waterfront. It is best to purchase tickets online in advance as these tours are popular and tend to become fully booked rather quickly. The trip with the Susan Kruger ferry takes about 30 minutes with splendid views of Table Mountain and the city of Cape Town. After disembarking on Robben Island, a bus with a tour guide awaits which will take you to various places of interest on the island. The tour guide is very well-informed about the island and will entertain you with various real-life tales. The bus stops at the following places of interest:
- The Moturu Kramat which is a sacred site for Muslims on Robben Island and built in 1969
- House where Robert Sobukwe from the PAC was kept in solitary confinement
- The Leper Cemetery where approximately 1500 lepers were buried
- The Limestone quarry where political prisoners did hard labour five days of the week. The brightness of the limestone damaged their health and eyesight. It is in this quarry where many of the current ANC policies of today were first discussed. Mr Nelson Mandela worked for 13 years in this quarry.
- Tuck shop where you can buy some refreshments and enjoy the view of Cape Town in the distance.
- The prison, including the maximum security section where the cell is where Mr Nelson Mandela, our former President, spent 18 years of his life. The tour guide is a former political prisoner with inside information on real life in the prison. The austerity of life in a maximum security prison can be upsetting but necessary to hear.
Although the tour to Robben Island is not cheap, it is worth the money and well-organised. Try to visit the island on a day with clear skies as you will otherwise miss out on the views of Cape Town and Table Mountain from the island.