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.
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.