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Robben Island Museum Commemorates Reconciliation Day With Local Special Rate For Festive Season

  • 7 min read

In commemorating Reconciliation Day, celebrating 21 years as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and celebrating its first anniversary as a Marine Protected Area, Robben Island Museum (RIM) will introduce a month-long reduced rate for locals.

As the festive season fast approaches, one of Cape Town’s iconic visitor destinations is encouraging locals to diversify their #staycation experience by offering a 25% reduced rate for all South African adult tickets as of 16 December 2020 until 15 January 2021. RIM was declared a WHS on the 4th of December 1999, and celebrating 21 years as a World Heritage Site is a major milestone which calls for festivities. As a site that represents the triumph of the human spirit over adversity and in sharing some local love, RIM saw it fit to offer locals this discount. This rate will be applicable for midweek bookings only (Mondays to Thursdays). 

As South Africans heed President Cyril Ramaposa’s call to be responsible this festive season,  Robben Island Museum is reducing its rates in an effort to keep more locals who will not be embarking on long distance travel entertained during the months of December 2020 and January 2021.  Robben Island Museum previously operated two tours on a weekly basis – Mondays and Saturdays at 11:00. However, Robben Island Museum has now reintroduced the full seven-day-a week schedule with limited tour frequency.

Online tickets can be purchased here: 

Robben Island Museum spokesperson, Morongoa Ramaboa, says that it has also put in place all the necessary Covid-19 protocols as recommended by the National Command Council, the World Health Organisation and the Tourism Business Council of South Africa. RIM’s COVID-19 response plan is in line with the risk adjusted strategy as advised by National Government and will be amended as and when necessary to meet minimum requirements as far as the tourism sector is concerned.

Being mindful of the ongoing pandemic, RIM is monitoring the situation closely and will prioritise visitors’ health and safety. “RIM is continuously sensitive of the issues both from a business operational perspective and also from a tourist / customer perspective and ensuring we find the right balance to both mitigate operational risk and in maintaining customer satisfaction; whilst prioritising the safety of staff and their livelihoods,”  adds Ramaboa.

There are few places in South Africa that bear the weight and sheer historical significance of Robben Island, and a trip to the former prison serves as a jarring reminder of the country’s distressed political past. At the same time, it reveals itself as a powerful symbol for the triumph of the human spirit, and offers fascinating insight into the reconciliation and resilience that played such a key role in the development of a new democratic South Africa. 

Secluded just less than 12kms away from Cape Town, this important World Heritage site is a melting pot of cultural and natural heritage with its history dating back as far as 1400s right through to the 1900s.

Upon arrival, visitors have the opportunity to walk in the footsteps of Krotoa (the first recorded female prisoner), Lepers, Xhosa Chiefs, and many Ex-political prisoners amongst other historical giants; not forgetting the island’s beautiful fauna, flora and wildlife.

The tour consists of the Prison and the Island tour. For the Prison leg of the tour, you’ll receive unparalleled insight into the significant role that each of Robben Island’s Ex-Political Prisoners collectively played throughout the apartheid era. The final stop in the prison leg of the tour culminates in a viewing of the cell that was previously occupied by Nelson Mandela.

As the home of endangered African Penguins and other species, the Island leg of the tour will see you experience the multi-layered history in full spectrum. This includes leper colony, the Robert Sobukwe Complex, Lime Quarry and the village precinct that consists of the famous Garrison Church – where the annual Valentine’s Day weddings are hosted.

New, interpretive panels at points of interest or historical significance help enhance the visitor experience. These have been erected ahead of the launch of the self-guided walking tours and new exhibitions to be launched in the New Year.

Robben Island Museum is famously known as an educational space about South Africa’s painful political history and officially opened its doors as a museum in 1997. On the 4th of December 1999, RIM was declared a World Heritage Site which meant that RIM needs to do tourism responsibly. This requires RIM to be more environmentally conscious to retain its outstanding universal value as an attraction and as a cultural and heritage site.

“We used the hard lockdown to continue fulfilling our conservation mandate, as well as to improve the visitor experience and have reopened gradually, with the all the necessary protocols in place. We understand how important Robben Island is as part of Cape Town’s tourism offering and to the livelihoods of our employees and others in the sector.  This is why we’re calling on everyone who visits the Island to adhere to the protocols”

“Robben Island is a beacon of light and reconciliation. If you’ve not visited before, it is something well worth considering this festive season. If you have, after the events of 2020, there’s no better place to renew your spirit,” says Morongoa.


Ticket sales are available at Nelson Mandela Gateway (NMG) and RIM strongly encourage tickets to be purchased at our user-friendly online ticketing system or at Pick ’N Pay.

Mondays – Thursdays

  • South African Adult rate: R300| Non South African Adult rate: R600
  • South African Child (under 18) rate: R210 | Non South African Child (under 18) rate: R310

Friday – Sundays

  • South African Adult Rate: R400 | Non South African Adult rate: R600
  • South African Child (under 18) rate: R210 | Non South African Child (under 18) rate: R310

Rescheduling of tickets can be done by emailing:

The Robben Island Museum festive season operating hours:

Monday – Thursday: 09h00

Friday – Sunday: 09h00, 11h00, 13h00 and 15h00

Tours of the island last three-and-a-half hours. Each leg of the ferry trip takes between 30 minutes to an hour depending on the vessel used and the sea conditions.

If a tour is cancelled due to weather conditions or for other reasons, visitors can re-book for the next available tour or will receive a full refund.

All tours are subject to availability, demand and are weather dependent.


Stringent health protocols will be followed throughout the visitor experience value chain to ensure that facilities are compliant and meet all safety minimum standards for visitors and employees. These include, but not limited to the following measures:

  • No person will be permitted to enter the premises or participate in a tour without wearing a mask
  • COVID-19 screening and testing is conducted at the main entrance of all premises, and it is compulsory.
  • Several COVID-19 procedures have been developed to mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 virus, including a screening and testing procedure for dealing with suspected, and confirmed COVID-19 cases.
  • RIM has appointed a hygiene service company to decontaminate and disinfect all affected areas in an event of a confirmed COVID-19 case.
  • Employees, including all operational staff, are receiving training on all COVID 19 procedures
  • Hand sanitizer dispensers have been installed at various locations.
  • Social distancing markings, and other COVID-19 signage have been installed at various locations to remind people of the health and safety protocols.
  • The ferries and vehicles will be cleaned and disinfected before, and after every tour.