Robben Island Tickets

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Opening hours

The Island opens when the first ferry arrives in the morning at approximately 9.30am and closes when the last daily ferry leaves at about 4.30pm. During the peak season (September) an additional ferry in the afternoon means the island stays open until 6.30pm. There is no overnight accommodation on the island for visitors.

How to get there

Ferry- there are currently three ferries each day at 9am, 11am and 1pm. During the peak season in September a fourth ferry is added at 3pm. The ferries take between 30 minutes and one hour to make the crossing with approximately 3 hours on the island for the tour.

You can take a helicopter to the island, for details you can call the operator Civair on +27 (0)21 419-5182.

FAQ

How can I catch the ferry?
The ferries operate from the Nelson Mandela Gateway at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town. Passengers should arrive at least 30 minutes before the scheduled sailing time and the boarding gates close 10 minutes before departure.
How long does a tour last?
The standard length of a tour is four hours but this depends upon which boat you are on. The Sikhi is the fastest boat making the crossing in 30 minutes with 3 hours on-land then a return crossing of 30 minutes, other boats take up to an hour for each crossing. You can find details of the crossing on the Robben Island website at http://www.robben-island.org.za . The website has recently added a virtual tour of the island.
How much does a tour cost?
The cost of the ferry and admission to the island is R320 for adults or R180 for children aged younger than 18.
Where can I book my tickets and do I need to buy tickets in advance?
You can buy your tickets online at http://webtickets.co.za/events/tourism/robben-island-museum-tour/76219 or from the ticket office at the Nelson Mandela Gateway, V&A Waterfront in Cape Town. The price is the same for both options. Due to limited facilities and continuing conservation efforts visits are limited to 1800 visitors each day and so it is advisable to book your tickets in advance. Tours are often sold out up to 2 weeks in advance.
What should I wear on the island?
You should wear a good pair of walking shoes, a hat, sunglasses and sun protection cream.
Can I take photographs?
Yes, you are welcome to take photographs for your own use but not for commercial reasons. Tripods are not permitted.
Is it possible to reschedule my tour?
Yes, tours can be rescheduled up to 48 hours in advance although they are subject to an administration fee.
If a tour is cancelled will I get a full refund?
Yes, refunds will be given on the return of your ticket and proof of identification.
Will I need to take seasickness tablets?
If you suffer from seasickness it would be advisable to take some seasickness pills an hour prior to the crossing.

Must Know

Landscape of the island
Robben Island is relatively flat with the highest point being Minto Hill at just 30 metres in height. There is a lighthouse positioned here.
Penguins
Robben Island has a healthy penguin colony of around 13,000 birds.
On arrival at the island
When you arrive at Robben Island you will disembark from the boat at Murray’s Bay Harbour on the islands east coast. From there you will have a short walk to the buses that will transport you around the island as you visit the historical points of interest. As you walk towards the buses you pass a high wall. This wall was built by the prisoners. The buildings inside the wall were used by families and lawyers when on visits to the prisoners.
On the buses
Once you have boarded the buses you will meet your tour guide. All the guides are official Robben Island tour guides and they are fully knowledgeable and conversant in the 500 year history of Robben Island. The tour route includes visiting the graveyard of people that died when the island was used as a leper colony, the islands two quarries, one producing lime and the other bluestone, Robert Sobukwe’s House, the army and navy bunkers built as defensive measures during WW2 and the maximum security prison which housed thousands of political prisoners and freedom fighters during the period of apartheid in South Africa. The tour concludes with a visit to the cell that once housed Nelson Mandela.
Conservation on Robben Island
The islands complex yet sensitive ecosystem includes birdlife, marine wildlife, natural vegetation, geology and cultural conservation. Robben Island provides a safe haven for 132 different species of bird. These include some endangered species. The chauker partridge and guinea fowl were introduced to the island by humans. There are several species that use the island for breeding and roosting, the crowned cormorant and the black crowned night herons come to the island just to breed ans can be found here in large colonies. On the boat trip you may see Cape Fur seals, Southern Right whales and 2 species of dolphin, the Dusky and Heaviside. The island is also home to 23 species of mammals, also lizards, snakes and three species of tortoise.

Places Nearby

Table Mountain
Table Mountain looms large as it towers over Cape Town. The mountain is famous for its tablecloth of clouds that pour down its slopes when the wind is blowing from the south east. Looking from the top of the mountain reveals the beauty of the region with spectacular views of Cape Town, Signal Hill, Robben Island and the cape peninsula. It is a must do attraction for anyone visiting Cape Town. You can glide your way up in a cable car or take a scenic tour by helicopter. Take in the hiking trails, nature walks or go abseiling, something for everyone and all budgets.
Muizenberg Beach
Muizenberg Beach is in one of Cape Town’s coastal suburbs. The sandy beach is not very long but the water is very warm, warmer than several other nearby beaches. The biggest attraction is the waves for it is where surfing began in South Africa. In the late 20thb century the area fell into disrepair but is now being restored to its former splendor. A non-beach attraction here is the home built by Cecil Rhodes where he died in 1902.
The Castle of Good Hope
Shaped like a pentagon, the Castle of Good Hope is the oldest colonial building to be still standing. Construction began in 1666 by the Dutch East India Company as a post to resupply ships heading to Asia. The gate design includes several Dutch cities and their coat of arms. Today it is a Cape military installation. It holds the Castle Military Museum and the Iziko Museums of Cape Town where there are displays include historical paintings, antique furniture and the William Fehr collection. The military museum tells the story of the Capes history.