When you are out for a vacation to Cape Town then Robben Island is a must to visit spot for you without which a significant part of Cape Town history will remain unknown to you. A day trip to Robben Island, which is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it must include in the itinerary for any traveler to Cape Town. But we cannot deny the fact that for centuries, this trip is still now the one which is to be feared. When you land here on this island a scary feeling will touch your heart and the surprising fact is that it is common for all tourists.
About Robben Island
The Robben island history will tell you about the imprisonment of the very first democratically elected president and its none other than Late Nelson Mandela. He was sent to 27 years imprisonment and out which good 18 years he lived in the prison located on Robben Island. But it’s true that Mandela is the not the one and only prisoner of this island having a political background. Other two South African presidents Jacob Zuma and Kgalema Motlanthe were also prisoners here. During the 17th and 18th century period many political prisoners stayed here who were sent from the Dutch East Indies to the island.
After the British took charge of Cape Town, they make use of the island for imprisoning those who showed resistance towards their rule. After making a failed uprising in the Grahamstown, British sent its instigator, Makanda Nxele, to Robben Island. He, however, managed to hide from the guards but failed to survive while swimming back to the mainland. There were many more who actually escaped. The very first person to manage to swim from Robben Island till the mainland was Jan Rykman in the year 1960 who was also a convict.
Things To Know Before Visiting Robben Island
Many don’t know that this island, which was earlier a major part of the mainland, was actually a mountain peak. But the sad part of this story is that rest portion of the mountain is now completely underwater in recent days. We all need to agree that the history of the island is not a happy one, but the view and scenery of the island is certainly a blessed one. If you want to visit Robben Island then scroll down and know more about it.
Best Time To Visit Robben Island
If you are on a tour to Cape Town then Robben Island will be an important part of the trip. Here one needs to take a note of the Cape Town weather condition. Late January till late April, will be the right period to explore the beauty of Cape Town and to pay a visit to this historic island. With time this Island developed and now is one of the major places of attraction in Cape Town. Robben Island tour is very common to see done by all tourists here in this destination. Robben Island is truly a historic location of the continent of Africa and so there are many things to do here.
How To Reach Robben Island
You will get daily Robben island ferry service from the Victoria and Albert Waterfront to reach here. For all, it is advisable for you to purchase ferry Robben island tickets a day before your trip, as mostly the ferries get booked fast. If you want to explore the village on Robben Island then you need to hire a Taxi for this and here too you need to do that quite fast as available taxis are less in number. You can also avail the guided bus tour service which is available for the visitors from the islands main jetty where the ferry de-boards the passengers. Boat trip to Robben Island is the most preferred one and people love this when on a vacation.
Where To Stay When In Robben Island
If you are looking for accommodation then you can check the Robben island map to know the popular areas for a stay on the island. We picked a few accommodation options for you which are near to the historic island:
- 118 BIG BAY BEACH CLUB: It is a two-bedroom apartment with the self-catering facility with 24×7 security facility in the resort. One can get easy access to enjoy a great time in the beautiful white beaches which are at Bloubergstrand. From here you can get the panoramic views of the Table Mountain
- SEASIDE VILLAGE PENTHOUSE: It is a well decorated beachfront penthouse style apartment with luxury facilities. It has 3 elegantly decorated bedrooms, having 2 bathrooms offering breathtaking view views of the Table Mountain. If you want to visit the Seaside Village then that is just 300m from this penthouse.
Things To Do In Robben Island
There is a lot to see in Robben Island, South Africa. In many cases, tourists get guided in the Robben Island museum. Guides are usually one of those people who used to be the prisoners of this island.
• Prison No 7: In this Island, there are many buildings which were designated for Prisoners, but the prison No 7 is the most visited one. It was this place where Nelson Mandela stayed during his incarceration. It was his home for a long 18 years.
• Penguin Sanctuary: If you are a wildlife lover then you will get the chance to enjoy visiting the penguin sanctuary. These cute birds remain grounded permanently being the members most quirky and lovely species present on the Earth.
• Lepers Graveyard: This site is a bit scary one but still one of the most visited spots of the island. It used to be a leper colony some four centuries back and you can find many tombstones still in this graveyard.
• The Prison Museum: For visiting the prison museum mostly people visit this Island. There is guided Robben island museum tour of 3 hrs duration and you can avail to know many Robben island facts.
If you are here in South Africa for a vacation with family then don’t give a miss to visiting this island which stores a history of the country. As Robben island is resplendent with beautiful vistas and amazing past, you should put it in your bucket list