Robben Island

Robben Island lies 12 kilometers off the coast of Cape Town, South Africa in Table Bay. It is flat and only a few meters above sea level, as a result of an ancient erosion event. The island is composed of Precambrian metamorphic rocks belonging to the Malmesbury Group.


The island is most famous for being the site of the prison that housed Nelson Mandela for 27 years of his inprisonment during the apartheid regime of South Africa. Today, tours of the island depart from Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront Clocktower. Visitors will see the main prison, the isolation house of Robert Sobukwe, Mandela’s cell, the quarry where political prisoners were made to work, and several other sites on the island. Furthermore, there are former prisoners working on the island, telling the visitors about the conditions they had to endure during their imprisonment.