GENERAL TOUR SCHEDULE
General tours to Robben Island depart at the following times Monday to Sunday:
(Weather and demand Permitting)
Robben Island, the unique symbol of “the triumph of the human spirit over adversity, suffering and injustice” with a rich 500 year old multi-layered history, is visited every year by thousands of people eager to understand and honour the important aspects of South Africa’s history that the Island represents.
THE TOUR EXPERIENCE
Currently; RIM has tours that runs as follows; 09h00, 11h00, 13h00 and 15h00. The ferries depart from the Nelson Mandela Gateway at the V & A Waterfront. The tour takes 3.5 hours including the ferry trip to and from the Island (Depending on the boat used as they have different travel times).
You will disembark at Murray’s Bay Harbour situated on the east coast of the Island and take a short walk to buses that will transport you to all the historical sites around the Island. On the way to the buses, you will pass buildings and a high wall built by prisoners during the 1960s. The buildings were used for family and lawyer visits to prisoners.
You will meet your Tour Guide when you have boarded the busses. The prison tour will be conducted by a Robben Island Tour Guide. This is part of our integrated tour model. They are fully conversant and knowledgeable about the Island’s multi-layered 500-year-old history. The tour route includes the graveyard of people who died from leprosy, the Lime Quarry, Robert Sobukwe’s house, the Bluestone quarry, the army and navy bunkers and the Maximum Security Prison where thousands of South Africa’s freedom fighters were incarcerated for years. The tour culminates with a viewing of Nelson Mandela’s cell.
The Robben Island Museum Tour has a dedicated Education Department.
Among its many activities is the facilitation of subsidised school tours.
These tours are from Monday to Friday during the concession period (2 May to 31 October), but can change at the discretion of management. Visitors are transported to the Island via Ferries which depart from the Nelson Mandela Gateway at the V & A Waterfront. Learners may be transported on ferries that are part of the general tours, and at the times of those ferries or a dedicated ferry departing at a specific alternate time may be arranged.
This tour targets learners in primary and secondary schools from across the country. It is designed to educate, inform and expose young people to elements of South Africa’s rich heritage that is embodied in Robben Island’s multi-layered history. The tour provides information and experiences of the Island that are more in-depth than the general visitor tour and focuses on inculcating an understanding of, and commitment to human rights and development.
The learners also get to visit all the various heritage sites that reflect the Island’s longstanding multi-layered history, such as the graveyard of people who died from leprosy, the Lime Quarry, Robert Sobukwe’s house, the Bluestone quarry, the army and navy bunkers and the Maximum Security Prison where thousands of South Africa’s freedom fighters were incarcerated for years. The tour culminates with a viewing of Nelson Mandela’s cell.
The tours are implemented in partnership with individual schools as and when requested.
Specialized Tours include Private Tours, VIP Tours and Protocol Tours. Private tours are for individuals or small groups.
VIP Tours are for ‘famous’ personalities. Protocol Tours are for Heads of State.
These tours can be arranged for any day of the week. The duration of these tours range from 3.5 hours to about 8 hours. Visitors are transported to the Island via Ferries which depart from the Nelson Mandela Gateway at the V & A Waterfront. Groups may be transported on ferries that are part of the general tours, and at the times of those ferries. Alternatively, a dedicated ferry departing at a specific alternate time may be arranged. Flights are used for some of the tours such as the Protocol Tours.
These tours include all the various heritage sites that reflect the Island’s longstanding multi-layered history, such as the graveyard of people who died from leprosy, the Lime Quarry, Robert Sobukwe’s house, the Bluestone quarry, the army and navy bunkers and the Maximum Security Prison where thousands of South Africa’s freedom fighters were incarcerated for years. The tour culminates with a viewing of Nelson Mandela’s cell.
ROBBEN ISLAND FERRIES
Robben Island Museum uses two of its own ferries which transport visitors and staff to the island, along with several private vessels if, and when, they are required.
Robben Island ferry Susan Kruger named after the wife of once Minister of Justice Jimmy Kruger who served in the National Party Government during the Apartheid years.
This vessel was used to transport staff and political prisoners between the mainland and Robben Island when the prison was still functioning. It is now in service as a ferry for the island.
This ferry was also used to transport staff and political prisoners between the mainland and Robben Island.
The Tourism Department strives to provide professional tours, innovative world-class service, and an unforgettable experience for our guests. There are three units offering service to our visitors.
It is important for all visitors to experience all phases of the Island, to realize that the Island is a place of pain and a place of triumph and victory. The island tour discusses these themes as well as the detention and isolation of insane females, people with leprosy and prisoners, including African chiefs in the 1800’s. The Prison tour depicts the lives of political prisoners detained from the 1960’s to 1991. Former Robben Island prisoners conduct the tour.
Visitors are transported to the island via ferry. All ferries depart from Nelson Mandela Gateway, at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town. Once on the Island, visitors are transported by bus. Transportation costs are included in the Robben Island Tour Price.
Specialized tours, events and conferencing
Specialized Tours include Private Tours, VIP Tours and Protocol Tours. Private tours are for individuals or small groups. Additional charges will apply. VIP Tours are for known personalities and are protected from the general public. Protocol Tours are for Heads of State. There are several venues for special events and conferencing, both on the Island and at the Nelson Mandela Gateway. See Venue Hire for details.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Here you will find general information about visiting Robben Island and the Nelson Mandela Gateway.
What should I wear on the Island?
We recommend the wearing of comfortable walking shoes, a hat, sunglasses and sun protection cream.
Are cameras allowed?
Yes, you are welcome to bring your camera to the island but no pictures may be taken for commercial use. No tripods are allowed.
How much do Ferry Tickets cost?
Ferry tickets cost R360 for adults and R200 for children under 18. We also have Educational concession tickets, view the Tour Types page for more information.
How long is the Robben Island Tour?
The standard tour to Robben Island is about 4 hours long with two half hour ferry trips, this is only true for the Sikhi as other boats take longer, between 30 min and 1 hour.
What times do the Ferries operate?
Currently the ferries operate at 09h00, 11h00 and 13h00. (The 15h00 will be added when peak season commences on 01 September 2015). Passengers should arrive no later than 30 minutes prior to the scheduled times of departure, boarding gates close 10 minutes before departure time.
Can I reschedule my tour?
Yes, this must be done 48 hours in advance and is subject to an administration fee.
If my tour is cancelled will I be refunded?
Yes, if a tour is cancelled you will be refunded. Refunds will only be issued against the return of your ticket and proof of identification.
Do I need to drink sea sickness tablets?
If you are prone to seasickness it is advisable to drink sea sickness an hour prior to boarding the boat.
TERMS & CONDITIONS
All visitors are encouraged to read the Terms and Conditions of Robben Island Ferry Ticket.
- The price of the ticket includes access to Robben Island, ferry voyage to and from the Island, access to Jetty 1 and Nelson Mandela Gateway exhibitions.
- This ticket is only valid for the date and time specified on the ticket.
- Robben Island Museum reserves the right to cancel voyages or to change departure times without notice.
- This ticket is not subject to refunds except if the respective voyage is cancelled by Robben Island Museum or the passenger could not attend due to hospitalisation or mortality. Refunds will only be issued against the return of this ticket and proof of identification.
- Ticket amendments will be subject to an administration fee as determined by Robben Island Museum.
- Passengers must arrive no later than 30 minutes prior to the scheduled times of departure, failure to do so could result in the forfeit of your paid ticket. Boarding gates close 10 minutes before departure time and there will be no refunds or rescheduling of boats if the departure times are missed.
- Credit card refunds:
All customers who pay by credit card or debit card, either at the ticket office or on the website, shall be refunded to the credit card which was used to purchase the tickets.
- EFT refunds:
All customers who pay via EFT for their tickets shall be refunded via EFT.
- Robben Island Museum, its servants and its agents shall not be responsible for and shall be exempt from all liabilities in respect of loss damage, injury, accident, delay or any inconvenience to any person or his/her luggage or any personal property, whether in respect of the voyage to and from the Island or in respect of any occurrence results from the negligence of Robben Island Museum or any other person directly or indirectly in the employment or service of the Robben Island Museum or otherwise, under any circumstances whatsoever.
- Passengers may also be conveyed by an independent contractor and the provisions above shall also apply in respect of all services or any activity conducted or provided by this contractor. Robben Island Museum shall under no circumstances be liable for any act or omission of such contractors.
- Robben Island Museum is a “Gun Free Zone”, none / no guns shall be allowed or stored for safekeeping on the premises.
- The Robben Island Museum ferry ticket is not transferable. Resale of the Robben Island Museum ferry ticket is a criminal offence.
- Cash, Pick n Pay and debit card refunds:
All customers who pay cash for their tickets shall be refunded in cash if RIM initiates the refund by cancelling a ferry on the day of performance of tour. Customers who paid via cash who seek a refund on any day after performance date of tour shall be refunded via EFT and the EFT procedures as noted below shall be followed. All customer who booked via Pick n Pay will be refunded cash if RIM initiates the refund by cancelling a ferry on the day of performance the tour.
Robben Island Museum will only refund tickets due to adverse weather conditions or where the ferry is experiencing operational difficulties. Application can be made for a refund if the visitor could not attend the trip due to hospitalisation or mortality. Refunds will be affected in the original tender type on the day of cancellation. Any refunds claimed after that day will be transferred into the Client’s bank accounts, within forty eight (48) hours, as stated in Robben Island Museum’s POLICY ON REFUNDS.