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“Robben Island-Could have been better” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Robben Island

Robben Island
Private Bag, Robben Island, Cape Town Central 7400, South Africa
27 021 409 5100
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Top Rated
$73*
and up
Cape Town Townships Tour including Robben Island
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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.
us
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
8 attraction reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
“Robben Island-Could have been better”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed May 2, 2015 NEW

We did the Robben Island tour this week and felt like it was just a bit disappointing. The ferry experience was not up to par. Old boats with inadequate seating. The 8 mile journey took over an hour each way. On the return trip it was quite choppy and several passengers looked very uncomfortable.
As others have noted, once you arrive you are given a bus "tour" of the island. This is really nothing more than driving around the island in a very old and cramped bus while a guide narrates. Aside from the gravel pit and the actual prison, there is little to see on the island so the bus portion is a poor use of time. Once this concluded, you are provided an ex-prisoner for the tour of the prison. This was interesting, but it was difficult to hear and understand the prisoner and it felt like he was speaking from a memorized script. We were then led out through a gift shop which really cheapened the whole experience.
All in all, it was meaningful to see Mandela's cell, but it was a big use of time for little in return.

Visited April 2015
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Dublin, Ireland
Senior Contributor
48 reviews 48 reviews
35 attraction reviews
Reviews in 31 cities Reviews in 31 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
“Once in a lifetime!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 2, 2015 NEW

The island is reasonably close to the docks of Capetown, our ferry left first thing in the morning, upon arrival we were greeted by a tour guide, an ex prisoner, in and around the time of Mandela's release. He stayed with us through a large portion of the day, even guiding us to Mandela's cell is the most pictured location on the island, a tiny room with a desk, a chair and a mattress!

Visited May 2015
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Frome, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
61 reviews 61 reviews
9 attraction reviews
Reviews in 27 cities Reviews in 27 cities
43 helpful votes 43 helpful votes
“A good trip”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 1, 2015 NEW

I would recommend you go on an early boat, we were told if weather is due to change in the afternoon boats are cancelled. They apparently watch the clouds on Table Mpountain which show if the wind will get up, this tends to happen in the afternoon. We had a lovely calm trip out and the return was more bumpy and you would get wet if you didn't go inside.
You get off boat get onto a bus which takes you around the island including a guide who was an inmate, he will show you Nelson M cell. Then quickly back to the boat. We sadly didn't have time to look at the wall display or go into the shop. (Not sure if that was the norm or that was due to weather turning). Well worth doing though. You get great view of Capetown from the sea. Boats leave from near Clock tower on V A waterfront.

Visited April 2015
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Joburg
Senior Contributor
36 reviews 36 reviews
8 attraction reviews
Reviews in 25 cities Reviews in 25 cities
33 helpful votes 33 helpful votes
“Memorable but could be better”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 1, 2015 NEW via mobile

The Dias boat, which ferried us to the island and back is a let down for what is otherwise a memorable and significant tour. We had two excellent guides who shared some great insights about the islands history and the experience of having been a prisoner in the island for seven years. The first half of the tour highlighted the limestone quarry, leper cemetery and and Table Mountain view sight. The second half covered the prison and obviously Nelson Mandela's prison cell. All in an amazing reminder of the country's tumultuous past. Our teenage boys were not bored and found the tour interesting as well

Visited April 2015
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Arroyo Grande
Senior Contributor
31 reviews 31 reviews
6 attraction reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
“Interesting, but still very political...inexpensive, but not very interesting”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed April 30, 2015 NEW

There are 3 boats that bring you to Robben Island from the mainland...all part of the same company. The slowest is the Nautical...like a barge. The water can be rough and it's a 45 minutes to an hour each way. When you get there you go through the maximum security prison and you can see Mandella's jail cell. It's just a plain cement room about 5 feet by 7 feet. You also get a bus tour of the island which is about 7 miles long. It's all fairly old and not very well kept. The whole tour is about 4 or 5 hours long and costs only about $15 US. The boat leaves from a waterfront area that is quite interesting...lots of shopping and restaurants. If I had it to do over I wouldn't waste my time on the tour, but spend the time going through the wharf shopping areas.

Visited April 2015
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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