7.7

Boat Trips to Robben Island (Ferry, Combo Tour or Helicopter)

(45 customer reviews)

$51.65

Last updated on September 8, 2019 4:22 am
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Robben Island is at the core of South Africa’s rich history and culture. The tiny island located just off of the coast of Cape Town is home to a large amount of history and tells the story of Nelson Mandela’s captivity – and subsequent freedom – which became iconic for the democracy of South Africa.

Today, the island is a popular tourist attraction for those with a passion or interest in history and human justice. The only way to reach the island is by boat or air. Here we will discuss a variety of ways to visit the island by ferry – and even by helicopter.

Know before you book:

  • The ferry is subject to weather and trips may be canceled
  • There is a two-tier price system and Non-South Africans need to make sure that they select the correct option for the ticket to be valid
  • The tour ends at the Robben Island Ferry gateway

Highlights:

  • Learn about life on Robben Island
  • Discover aspects of South Africa’s intricate history
  • Visit the cell where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned

Robben Island Museum

Robben Island is an iconic landmark in South Africa’s history of democracy. Best known for being the place of Nelson Mandela’s imprisonment, today the prison is a museum that travelers can explore and discover the detailed history of South Africa’s past.

While the only way to reach the Robben Island is by boat or air, there are still a variety of Robben Island tours to choose from. Choose from the below convenient and enriching Robben Island tickets that best suit your budget and schedule.

Secure your standard ticket for the Robben Island ferry and museum entry that will give you the opportunity to learn about the dramatic history of the island (and South Africa) from a former prisoner. This tour includes hotel pick-up for your convenience and is perfect for travelers who want to authentically experience Robben Island.

If you want a little bit more context, the township and Robben Island combination tour offers the standard ferry to Robben Island as well as a tour to various townships in Cape Town. In this tour, the lingering effects of poverty and injustice can still be witnessed despite the strides of overcoming.

While it is most common to take a boat to Robben Island, there is also an alternative option for those who experience sea-sickness or wish for an alternate view of the landmark. The 20-minute scenic helicopter ride circumnavigates the island to offer unparalleled views.

Robben Island Prices 2019

Tours cost between $52 USD (R550) for the standard Robben Island tour with hotel pickup, up to $146 USD pp for the more exclusive helicopter ride.

Times

There are several ferries leaving for Robben Island throughout the day. Ferries typically depart at 9 am, 11 am and 1 pm so pre-booking is essential to secure your spot. It is important to arrive 30 minutes before departure.

Best time to go

The tour – including the two ferry trips – is normally around three and a half hours. In order to make the most out of your day, it’s suggested that you go earlier rather than later. When booking your trip, try to check the weather forecast. The experience is best when the sun is out and the winds are soft. If the weather is really bad, the tour may be canceled for the day and you will need to reschedule it.

Robben Island Tours 2019

Depending on the time and budget you have available, you may want to simply tick off the island, or expand on its learnings and visit the surrounding townships in Cape Town. Alternatively, if you are really pressed for time, you can take a scenic helicopter ride over the island.

Robben Island Boat Trip and Hotel Pick-Up

This is the standard Robben Island ferry and tour of the museum, with the luxury of a hotel pick-up included. Enjoy a sea-breezing trip to the island on one of the dedicated ferries before exploring the history that is dictated on the island.

Listen to stories of South Africa’s apartheid past as told by an ex-prisoner on the island, and visit the infamous cell where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 18 of his 27 years in jail.

Get picked up in comfort from your hotel in the city center and nearby surrounds and be transported to the ferry boarding where your pre-booked ticket has secured your spot for the journey.

What we liked: Great option for a convenient hotel pick-up and secure spot on the ferry.
INCLUDES:
  • Pick-up from central Cape Town accommodation
  • Return Robben Island ferry ticket
  • Tour of the island and prison

EXCLUDES:
  • Drop-off
  • Food and drinks
  • Gratuities

An incredible experience for those interested in the underlying history and culture of South Africa. Robben Island is an iconic landmark in Cape Town and a must-see for anyone wanting to truly experience the city.

Check Price & book

 

Robben Island

Township and Robben Island Tour Combination

Visit different townships around Cape Town and witness the after-effects of the struggles of apartheid before hopping on a ferry to Robben Island and discovering the story of one of the men who played a vital role in overcoming the social injustice.

The eight-hour tour includes a guided visit to the most important townships in Cape Town, a ferry ride to Robben Island and an unparalleled historical and cultural experience.

INCLUDES:
  • Vehicle and driver guide
  • Petrol
  • Robben Island ferry ticket
  • Tour of the island and prison
  • Passenger liability insurance

EXCLUDES:
  • Return transfer to hotel
  • Food and drinks
  • Gratuities

Check Price & book

 

township experience

Helicopter Ride – Robben Island by Air

Jump on board a helicopter and enjoy a 20-minute helicopter ride over Robben Island for an unparalleled view and alternative experience. Experience post-card views of the island first-hand from the air as the helicopter circumnavigates one of the most significant landmarks in South African history.

INCLUDES:
  • Shared helicopter flight
  • In-flight commentary
  • Free pick-up and drop-off from accommodation

EXCLUDES:
  • In-flight video package (available for purchase)

Check Price & book

 

Helicopter ride

7.7Expert Score
A visit to Robben Island gives travelers the opportunity to delve deep into South African history. This enriching experience may be affected by the weather, so be sure to check the forecast before booking.
Value for Money
8
Convenience
7
Fun
8
PROS
  • Secure a ticket on the ferry to Robben Island
  • Discover the rich history of the island from a former prisoner
  • Learn about South Africa’s dramatic past
CONS
  • The tour may be canceled due to bad weather conditions

Specification: Boat Trips to Robben Island (Ferry, Combo Tour or Helicopter)

Accessible

Yes

Duration

5 hours

Includes

Admission tickets, Hotel pick-up, Return ferry tickets

Excludes

Food and drinks, Gratuities, Hotel drop-off

Meals & Drinks

Not included

Pickup

Pick-up only

Suitable For

Everyone, History enthusiasts

45 reviews for Boat Trips to Robben Island (Ferry, Combo Tour or Helicopter)

4.7 out of 5
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  1. Anonymous

    Arrived to collect us so early, that we had to wait for other pick-ups for more than an hour before actually starting the tour. The guide was very knowledgeable and very personable but unfortunately, every time we stopped he took the opportunity to chat to his fellow tour guides who were at the same places as us so we always ended up waiting for him at each location rather than moving on at the time he told us to be ready by. During the township tour, he lost the driver and bus which was very unsettling as we stood around for ages while he sent some local kids to search for him. In fact, we didn’t get to part of the townships tour as we ran out of time and literally had to run for the Robben Island boat without time to stop for lunch. The tour itself would have been good without these issues however. The Robben Island tour was absolutely brilliant as he it was all handled by the Robben Island people – I would just book it myself in future. We didn’t see the guide again as we decided to make our own way back rather than face another chaotic minibus ride. Such a shame as the tour itself would have been great if those things hadn’t caused logistical issues.

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  2. Anonymous

    I would recommend this tour if you want to get some of the history of Cape Town. Our guide grew up in Cape Town, actually in the township that we toured. He was very knowledgeable of what the townships life is like, because he still lives there with his wife and children. The tour of Robben Island was worth the time and money. We also had wonderful guides on the island also. Gave me a clearer understanding what the prisoners lives where like. It’s sad that humans can treat other humans they way they do. Bonus we saw whales on the trip over to the island.

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  3. Anonymous

    Great tour, enlightening. Our guide was knowledgable, shared a lot of detail and history and was enjoyable to be wtih. The Robben Island part of the tour was cancelled due to a broken down ferry.

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  4. Anonymous

    We were picked up from our hotel by Zandi of the Xhosa tribe. He took us to the township town of Langa, there we saw the district six museum and then visited township houses. The boat to Robbin Island was cancelled because the sea was too rough.

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  5. Anonymous

    A wonderful presentation discussing aspects of the apartheid error in Cape Town. The visit to the District 6 Museum was educational and this was followed by a visit to the Langa Township, a must see. A visit to Robben Island capped the tour and was a chilling experience. I definitely recommend this excursion.

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  6. Anonymous

    This tour was everything we needed to jumpstart our holiday in Cape Town. So much history was shared by the guide and everything was very well organized. The visit to Langa and Robben Island were eye-opening and very informative. I highly recommend this tour to anyone visiting Cape Town.

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  7. Anonymous

    This was a very informational tour that was focused on the townships in Cape Town. The tour guide was clearly engaged and caring about the communities and the tour group.

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  8. Denis – Australia

    A fantastic day. The township tour was a real eye opener and an educational experience. The friendliness of the people in the areas we visited was totally unexpected. The Robben Island tour was another unexpected experience with the tour conducted by an ex-prisoner who’s communication of the conditions endured was first rate. Highly recommend.

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  9. Thomas – Kenya

    A very good tour and a very nice history lesson from the people who were there making it. Possibly spent a bit too long on the tour as nearly didn’t make the boat back to Cape Town

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  10. Alan – United Kingdom

    Awesome

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  11. Barbara – United States

    Entire experience was excellent and educational. Pick up directions unclear, said pick up at 11:15. We waited until 11:35 and the Ubered to the port. Driver called us at 11:40 and said he was at our hotel and that the pick Up time was 11:15 to 11:45. Very confusing. But eventually straightened out and didn’t harm the overall experience.

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  12. Anonymous – South Africa

    Really interesting Well organised

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  13. Eamonn – Ireland

    Very interesting and well organised trip Only problem is that the bus driver left me at the ferry and I assumed that the tour company was picking me up from the returning ferry but when I docked there was nobody there to drop me back to the hotel and I had to walk

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  14. Anonymous – Norway

    History of South Africa in a day Essential tour for anyone interested in history or politics or who want to learn about the country they are visiting. Very exciting and educational, brilliant guides who invited us into their daily lives in the townships, and shared stories, history, values as well as inspiring innovation and entrepreneurship. The second part needs no description; visiting Robben Island for the first time is a memory for life.

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  15. Anonymous – Norway

    History of South Africa in a day Essential tour for anyone interested in history or politics or who want to learn about the country they are visiting. Very exciting and educational, brilliant guides who invited us into their daily lives in the townships, and shared stories, history, values as well as inspiring innovation and entrepreneurship. The second part needs no description; visiting Robben Island for the first time is a memory for life.

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  16. Anonymous

    Danson went above and beyond for us the entire day. Great tour! We had a great time on this tour and although Robben Island took up the majority of the day, our guide Danson made sure we had enough time at each location after that despite traffic on the way down to Boulder’s and Cape Point. Danson was extremely knowledgeable, courteous, and professional. He was also an amazing photographer! We also did not bring enough money with us for the shuttle up to the top of Cape Point and back, but he was more than happy to lend us the fee until we got dropped off. Overall a great experience and a fantastic way to see the beautiful points of Cape Town

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  17. Anonymous

    Danson went above and beyond for us the entire day. Great tour! We had a great time on this tour and although Robben Island took up the majority of the day, our guide Danson made sure we had enough time at each location after that despite traffic on the way down to Boulder’s and Cape Point. Danson was extremely knowledgeable, courteous, and professional. He was also an amazing photographer! We also did not bring enough money with us for the shuttle up to the top of Cape Point and back, but he was more than happy to lend us the fee until we got dropped off. Overall a great experience and a fantastic way to see the beautiful points of Cape Town

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  18. Anonymous – Sweden

    Fantastic! Thank you Serge: you made our full day trip on Dec 28 into an absolutely wonderful memory forever! It was very exciting, informative and you were very helpful! And fun!!!

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  19. Anonymous – Sweden

    Fantastic! Thank you Serge: you made our full day trip on Dec 28 into an absolutely wonderful memory forever! It was very exciting, informative and you were very helpful! And fun!!!

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  20. Deal Huner

    The Robben Island tour was very eye-opening, something that should be done by those who have an interest in history!

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  21. Dom Fletcher

    A must do in Cape Town, this is something we take everyone to go and see when they come and see.

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  22. Ton – South Africa

    Was helemaal Top!!!

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  23. Matt

    Loved this, its a must see and do if you want to see the island.

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  24. larissathorpe

    Historical aspects great and ex-prisioner talk fantastic. Using a personal guide, apart from transporting us there and accompanying us on the trip, unfortunately there wasn’t much else that the guide could have done as once on the Island, the ‘official’ guides free did everything else. So really, one can make one’s way there and back via the ferry with no need for paying for a guide.

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  25. Joanne H

    Wonderful tour. Guide Nadia Agherdine was a super guide. We were picked up at the hotel on time, and delivered to the port in time to meet our cruise ship. A wonderful learning experience.

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  26. Margaret T

    Great experience.

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  27. Wick

    Tour guide was excellent! Walk through Langa was a great experience!

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  28. Kathleen M

    This tour is a must for anyone wanting to learn about the apartheid era in South Africa. Our guide, who had been born in District Six, was great and told us we could ask any question we wanted to. The former prisoner who took us on the tour of the prison on Robben Island was mesmerizing in his description of what the political prisoners like him endured. This tour was a great experience for us and our children.

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  29. Gordon R

    An very interesting and touching tour of Robbin Island. So pleased that we did it. Table Mountain we were fortunate that there were no clouds when we went up. Amazing views from the top. Buy your tickets before you go as it misses the queue to buy them.

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  30. Donna T

    I highly recommend this tour. Beware as it may go long as the guide may take you to a local jewelry shop before going back to the hotel. He was kind enough to leave the group at the shop and bring us to our hotel.

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  31. William J

    The company was 2Africa for this full day tour, however, because of weather it was split into two days. Weather plays an important part in this tour because our visit to Table Mountain had to be cancelled because the mountain was clouded in and the cable car was under maintenance and our trip had to be rescheduled to another day and this was done by our guide as soon as the tour started. The company has good guides and because his quick action, our trip was rescheduled for the day before our departure. The city tour was good and everything listed for the tour was completed. The outstanding part of the tour was the visit to Robben Island which combines a boat ride, bus tour of the island and prison grounds, and a walking tour of the prison with a former prisoner.

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  32. Fergus R

    Guides were very important to understanding this tour. Our morning guide tookus through the apartheid connection and the township visit. As a township resident his experience was very important to our understanding. The afternoon visit to Robben Island was outstanding and the guide to the prison was a former inmate so we had a better undertstanding of conditions. ALL IN ALL AN EXCEPTIONAL DAY OUT.

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  33. Laurie F

    An excellent trip, with a visit to the District 6 museum about the area that was cleared of blacks to make room for whites, the Langa Township where they were settled very welcoming to us, helped by the fact that some of the tour costs goes to the community, and Robbin Island, where Mandela was imprisoned. A very full and informative day!

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  34. hannahdriscoll

    This tour was amazing!

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  35. Mary Lou S

    We had a wonderful guide named Joseph who escorted us around for the day. He went above and beyond to ensure all our needs were met when we changed the schedule around. Joseph is very professional, polite and friendly. He spoke knowledgeable about all the sites we visited and answered all our questions. We loved every moment of the tour! We would, without a doubt, recommend viator

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  36. mazkosma2011

    Our guide for the Townships part of the tour was a resident of the township. It was eye opening to see the hardship and the living conditions these townships residents. The trip to Robben Island where Mandela was imprisoned was a must see.

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  37. rje1152000

    I would recommend this tour if you want to get some of the history of Cape Town. Our guide grew up in Cape Town, actually in the township that we toured. He was very knowledgeable of what the townships life is like, because he still lives there with his wife and children. The tour of Robben Island was worth the time and money. We also had wonderful guides on the island also. Gave me a clearer understanding what the prisoners lives where like. It’s sad that humans can treat other humans they way they do. Bonus we saw whales on the trip over to the island.

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  38. emjones55343

    Great tour, enlightening. Our guide was knowledgable, shared a lot of detail and history and was enjoyable to be wtih. The Robben Island part of the tour was cancelled due to a broken down ferry.

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  39. Alia L

    highly recommend

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  40. Janet K

    The tour guide was very good, she was nice and she was always trying to go the extra mile. She was very friendly.

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  41. Erick G

    Very touching tour. A must see to get a glimpse of the recent history of South Africa. Part of the tour is given by former prisoners, and this add an important personal touch to the story. You don’t want to miss this one.

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  42. J.G. – Netherlands

    very interesting tours, especially the townshiptour But, we would have liked some deeper insights of prisonlife at Robbenisland. It was informative and interesting but as said not very deep. Video or pictures eg. might already contribute to catch the feeling.

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  43. Yoav – South Africa

    interesting trip could use same boat to go back as was a long unnecessary boat ride on choppy water

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  44. a GetYourGuide customer – France

    it was a great first day of holiday for us we had a very nice day and were able to do everything that was on the tour. Our guide was very friendly and interesting.

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  45. LIGIA – Romania

    SUPER OK!

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    Boat Trips to Robben Island (Ferry, Combo Tour or Helicopter)
    Boat Trips to Robben Island (Ferry, Combo Tour or Helicopter)
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