THE NELSON MANDELA PRISON ROBBEN ISLAND TOUR:-
Traveling to Cape Town to start a 12-month trip around the world, I knew that I wanted to visit the Robben Island prison where Nelson Mandela (freedom fighter from South Africa) was imprisoned for 18-years sleeping on the floor before he died. Here, I give a brief insight of what to expect.
I was discovering Cape Town on my first day, covering the best hotspots (-> Click here to read about the 2-day Cape Town itinerary) and trying to purchase a ticket for the Robben Island tour, so I went to the ticket office at the V&C Waterfront. For the Robben Island Tour, you can usually book tickets online (Nelson Mandela Tour Tickets Online) but they were fully booked. However, I easily got a ticket for the tour the next day at 9:00 am for 285 Rand (ca. 20 USD).
Catching the boat to Robben Island
The V&C Waterfront was also the location where I had to catch the boat to Robben Island the next day at 9:00 am. It was a really nice day again but very windy. The journey from the port to Robben Island took about one hour and after arriving, we were welcomed by an ex-prisoner who guided us through the Robben Island prison. Most of the people that had joined the tour were 40+ years and from the US.
The Robben Island insights / The Robben Island prison life
The guide (ex-prisoner, I didn’t catch his name) mentioned that currently, ex-prisoners and their families are the only people allowed to live on the island, which I found a pretty interesting fact.
He told us what happens when prisoners arrive and talked about the famous political prisoner, Nelson Mandela. He mentioned that he fought for freedom and had to sleep on the floor in prison for 18 years until he died.
And he walked us through the courtyard, the common areas and then the prison cells where we got to see Nelson Mandela’s cell (Number 7). The prisoners weren’t allowed to speak with each other and all they had were tiny windows that overlooked the courtyard with two football goals.
The former prisoner told us about the meals and the portions that every prisoner got. He mentioned that all of them had lost so much weight.
Sailing back to Cape Town
To our surprise, the journey back, instead of taking the boat, we got to sail to Cape Town on a catamaran, pretty awesome, and luckily the wind was strong enough for sailing.
It was great because two kids from Jo’burg (Johannesburg) were sitting next to me, allowing me to connect with the locals again and keeping me entertained – so much fun!
I TRAVEL FOREVER’s VIEW & RECOMMENDATION
The Robben Island prison tour ended after 3 hours and I thought it was very worth it to learn more about the African culture/backgrounds,
the unique character Nelson Mandela and how the history of the prison developed, as told with details by the ex-prisoner. The price/value ratio was appropriate and I’m glad I went.
Let freedom reign. The sun never set on so glorious a human achievement.