Robben Island Tours
Robben Island lies seven kilometers off the coast near Cape Town and its name comes from the Dutch for ‘Seal Island’. It is roughly oval in shape, 3.3 km long and 1.9 km wide with the highest point being one of the seventeen lighthouses we find on the islands and mainland around Cape Town.
South Africa’s most Famous Prison
Since the end of the 17th century, Robben Island has been used to isolate certain people—mainly prisoners—and amongst its first permanent inhabitants were political leaders. South Africa’s first post-apartheid president and Nobel laureate Nelson Mandela was Robben Island’s most famous inmate.
When the Dutch arrived in the area in 1652, the only large animals on the island were seals and birds, principally penguins. In 1654, the settlers released rabbits on the island in order to provide a ready source of meat for passing ships. The original colony of African Penguins on the island was completely exterminated by 1800. However the modern day island is once again an important breeding area for the species after a new colony established itself there in 1983. The colony has grown to 13,000 and is now the third biggest for the species. The penguins are easy to see close up in their natural habitat.
As part of the Cape Town and Table Mountain tour, we can arrange transfers to and from the V&A Waterfront for your boat trip to the island. Get more information and book your boat ticket on-line at www.robben-island.org.za.