Touring Cape Town: Infamous Robben Island

Gateway to Robben Island

Gateway to Robben Island

One thing I knew I wanted to do in Cape Town was tour Robben Island. During my first trip to CT, I didn’t heed the warnings to buy my ticket in advance, so I was out of luck for getting out to the island. Bad weather, which is not uncommon in windy CT, can shut down the trip because choppy waters do not make for safe boat rides. This time around, however, we were prepared and bought out tickets well in advance. The only thing that could ruin it was if we chose a bad weather day. Luckily, for us, the weather cooperated fully with blue skies and warm weather! Hooray. Once on the island we were told that the weather for the previous 5 days had been total shite causing the boats to be canceled and no one to be able to tour the island. Cape Town, you do love me. Thus, this time around, we got to go out to Robben Island for a day of history.

Robben is located about 7 km away from the mainland and is most famous for being the place where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for fighting against the apartheid regime. There is more to Robben Island though that you can only experience by touring the island. Some tidbits of Robben Island include:

  • Nelson Mandela was on this island for 18 of his 27 year sentence.
  • All the prison guides on the island are former inmates, which is unbelievably interesting and a unique way to tour a prison.
  • There is a tiny village on the island and previously kids used to even go to school on the island.
  • Penguins live on the island and some other wildlife although I only saw a tiny steenbok.
  • Robben Island has been a place for prisoners since the late 17th century.
  • Robben Island was also a former leper colony.
  • During World War II, the island was fortified with massive guns although the guns were never used.

Enough talk, the photos of Robben Island can tell the tale much more thoroughly.

Boat to Robben Island

Our boat to the island, which is a boat that formerly took the prisoners over. The prisoners were kept down below.

Welcome to Robben Island

Entrance to Robben Island

Security at Robben Island

Intense security at Robben Island Prison

Freedom from Robben Island

Our guide who was kept in the prison for about 5 years for being part of anti-apartheid efforts.

Inside group cell, Robben Island

Inside one of the group prison cells.

Nelson Mandela's Cell, Robben Island

Nelson Mandela’s cell kept the same as it was when he was there.

Maximum Security Prison, Robben Island

Robben Island was a maximum security prison.

Freedom Cannot be Manacled, Robben Island

Photos on the dock of the release of Nelson Mandela and all other prisoners. Freedom cannot be manacled, indeed!

Village on Robben Island

The village on Robben Island as seen from the boat ride in.

Leper graveyard, Robben Island

The graveyard of the former leper patients housed here.

Lime Quarry, Robben Island

The lime quarry where Nelson Mandela was forced to work. The rock pile on the lower right was started by Nelson and added to by other prisoners at each reunion.

Anglican Church on Robben Island

An Anglican church in the village on the island.

Posing with Cape Town Backdrop

Epic views from Robben Island back towards the city of Cape Town. All the mountains are behind me on this amazingly sunny day.

Views on the boat ride, Robben Island

The boat ride back to Cape Town.

Check out all my photos of Robben Island here.

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One response to “Touring Cape Town: Infamous Robben Island

  1. Pingback: Another trip to Cape Town because it is Awesome | Ramblin' Rangecommander·

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