African Travel Concept

Robben Island

Robben Island is located 11 kilometres from Cape Town in the middle of Table Bay, and has always been associated as a site of heartbreak. Historically used as a leper colony, mental hospital and defence training base, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is more famed as the prison to which anti-apartheid activists were banished. Known as a ‘University of the Struggle’, some of Robben Island’s famous graduates went on to lead South Africa into the new democracy including President Nelson Mandela, President Thabo Mbeki and President Jacob Zuma.

The sombre Robben Island prison buildings are now classified as the Robben Island Museum.  The scheduled tour of the site commences at the Nelson Mandela Gateway in Cape Town's V&A Waterfront. The ferry ride takes a half hour each way, allowing the tourist 2.5 hours to absorb the emotive atmosphere of the island. Tours of the former maximum-security jail are generally led by former political prisoners who draw a vivid picture of life in incarceration. The history of Robben Island is also sketched in a 45-minute bus tour.

As one of the world's great cultural world heritage sites, Robben Island is memorable for both its tragedy and exultation, and its testimony to faith and spirit in the most humiliating of conditions.  It is an excursion that stirs the soul.

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