Top 10 Cape Town Out-of-Town Excursions

By Michael Sieburg & Alison Bradley
Robben Island and its Cape Town backdrop
ISLAND OF APARTHEID: Robben Island and its Cape Town backdrop (Roger de la Harpe/South Africa Tourism)

2. Visit Robben Island
No trip to Cape Town would be complete without visiting Robben Island, the windswept place where Nelson Mandela and other political freedom fighters were imprisoned during South Africa's Apartheid years. The island is now a UNESCO World Heritage site and provides dramatic views of Cape Town and its Table Mountain backdrop as well as first-hand insight into the country's past. Tours to the island incorporate a ferry ride, island tour, and tour of the prison with a former political prisoner as your guide. Ferries depart and return to Cape Town's Victoria & Albert Waterfront complex, so schedule some time to shop the African art galleries and sample the local cuisine at one of many restaurants along the waterfront. Cap off your day with a cable-car ride up to the summit of Table Mountain, from where you can savor the most spectacular sunset of your life, or sign up to rappel down a vertiginous stretch of the massive rock face. Tours to Robben Island often sell out in advance so book your trip as early as possible via the Robben Island Museum website.

When to Go: Year-round
Travel Distance from Cape Town: 5.5 miles by ferry from V&A Waterfront; entire trip takes approximately four hours.

Published: 24 Mar 2010 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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