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“Interesting place - beware the choppy journey and lack of tickets!”
Review of Robben Island

Robben Island
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Full-Day Robben Island and Cape Town City Tour
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Fee: Yes
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: During the apartheid years Robben Island served as a prison for political activists.
Reviewed 5 August 2014

Tickets for Robben Island can be booked online, or in person at the centre in Cape Town at the V&A Waterfront. The tickets may be sold out on the day (as we found) so book a few days in advance. The journey to the island, which takes about an hour by boat is VERY choppy, and all passengers experienced seasickness, so take medication if you can/be warned!
When you arrive on the island, you immediately board a crowded tour bus (a challenge after the aforementioned seasickness). A guide then gives about an hour's tour of the island from the bus, explaining the history of the island and about some of the prisoners. There is a toilet/refreshment stop half way through which provides a chance to get some fresh air, then back on the bus for the rest of the tour.
You get off the bus at the prison building where Mandela's cell was, and receive a tour from a former prisoner, who shows you around the group cells and explains what life was like there. The tour ends with a chance to see Mandela's cell.
Then there's a chance to visit the gift shop before it's back on the choppy boat to Cape Town.

Thank J B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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"ex prisoner"
in 519 reviews
"nelson mandela"
in 682 reviews
"political prisoners"
in 318 reviews
"ferry ride"
in 231 reviews
"mandela's cell"
in 199 reviews
"maximum security prison"
in 88 reviews
"leper colony"
in 69 reviews
"actual prison"
in 69 reviews
"lime quarry"
in 69 reviews
"island tour"
in 84 reviews
"prison life"
in 55 reviews
"spent years"
in 88 reviews
"long walk to freedom"
in 68 reviews
"moving experience"
in 130 reviews
"humbling experience"
in 93 reviews
"first hand"
in 139 reviews
"south africa"
in 297 reviews

4,284 - 4,288 of 6,783 reviews

Reviewed 4 August 2014

This could be great but they are so disorganized. Some of the buses were packed with people standing for a 40 minute tour and some buses had many empty seats. The former prisoners who are now guides need microphones so that everyone can hear.

Thank Mona I
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 August 2014

My daughter and I loved our visit to Robben Island and were moved by the various exhibits and locations of the former prison where Nelson Mandela was held for so many years. A minor word of caution - we booked a 1:00 pm tour having been told that the tour takes 3-1/2 hours total (including the 1-hour boat rides to and from the island), yet we did not return to port until 5:15, putting us in jeopardy of missing our 7:00 pm flight. The tour was most definitely worth the extra time, though!

Thank Kevin R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 August 2014

I first visited robben Island in 2009.
In 2013 I visited twice, with some special people.
While the museum and the ferries certianly need some TLC, this does not detract from the visit much.
I still find this an emotional and also a cathartic experience.
I prefer to do it alone or with special people only.

Every African, no matter your race or gender, should visit the museum.
I have found each of the ex-prisoner tour guides very sincere, empathetic.
I got miffed at tourist for whom this is just a box to tick and for whom the real stories have no interets to them.
It was not rushed although there is not much time to really interact and learn more.
I will go again this year...

1  Thank Andy C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 2 August 2014

With all the hype and emphasis placed on booking ages in advance.... I really expected a whole lot more from the tour. The island is wonderfully maintained, yet the trip out to the island is no where near comfortable. the boat was extremely overloaded, leaving a lot of us standing for somewhere between 45 - 60 mins. The view was off course immaculate.
upon arrival you get crammed into (very uncomfortable again) buses and then begins the tour with a guide who, whilst has great first hand experience on and off the island, doesn't really put things forward in a great manner. the thing with great historical sights, it is the guide who brings it alive. this did not happen. also, being South African and having insight as to our countries history, I found myself explaining more in detail to a lovely American couple who kept asking questions but never got answers.
I must admit it was a good experience to finally get out onto the island, however if you can't get tickets don't be too disappointed (like I was because this was previously). If you are on limited time, give it a skip. Cape Town has a lot more to offer!

Thank S_Gangz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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