Includes boat trip
A declared World Heritage Site since 1999 by UNESCO, located in Table Bay, standing 30 meters above sea level, Robben Island has been used as a prison, where people have been banished, isolated and exiled for nearly 400 years.
Batolomeu Dias discovered the island in 1488 when it was inhabited by birds, penguins, seals and tortoises. Prior to 1652 it became a major point for the exchange of mail and fresh meat and water. The Dutch also used the island for grazing for sheep and cattle.
About 1671 the island began to house convicted criminals, political prisoners and other undesirables, banished to the Cape from other Dutch colonies, including kings, princes, and religious leaders from the East Indies.
During the first British occupation in 1795 to 1802 it was also used as a whaling station. In 1812 it was used as a asylum for the mentally ill and in 1843 was used as a leper colony, paupers, the mentally unfit and the chronically ill, mentally ill, alcoholic`s, and prostitutes with sexually transmitted diseases.The light house on Robben Island was commissioned in January 1865.
In 1931 the island began to be used as a military outpost where guns were stored and the government built roads, a power station and a new water supply and houses. In 1961 it was again used as a prison for political prisoners with Nelson Mandela being the most famous. It remains a sad history of man’s inhumanity while also showing the power of the human spirit, freedom and the victory of democracy over oppression.