Why everyone should pay a visit to Robben Island at least once
There’s so much more about the enigmatic Robben Island than we can ever hope to understand. It’s an experience, a ticket back in time to the beginning of something great stuck in a sombre environment. We urge every child, adult, uncle or grandmother to take a tour of this legendary island, you will leave not with something tangible but memories enough to last you a lifetime.
A brief way, way back History
Dutch settlers used Robben Island as a prison in the 17th Century and its first prisoners consisted of political leaders from Dutch colonies. Of course, we all know that many years later this became the prison to Nelson Mandela and many other anti-apartheid leaders.
The island was designated as both a UNESCO World Heritage site and a South African National Heritage site in 1999. The biggest threat this island faces today is not in fact humans but rather rabbits. Yes, up to 25 000 rabbits live on the island and cause damage to the vegetation and historic buildings.
Apart from being a treasure trove of history, the island also serves as an important destination for seabirds and rare bank cormorants, African black oystercatchers and 15 000 African penguins.
The Island served a dual purpose
Not only did Robben Island serve as a prison to political criminals but also as a leper colony, a military base and an animal quarantine station.
The knowledge and experience is priceless
We need not convince you that standing in the spot where Nelson Mandela spent most of his years is something enchanting. Not only will the tour teach visitors a lot more about the Island’s rich history, but the experience will be so much more authentic as many of the guides are former prisoners, eager to reveal more insider secrets.
Gain a new sense of freedom and appreciation
The prisoners managed to turn a dark, sullen place into a symbol of hope and freedom. A visit to this island will remind you of what Nelson Mandela stood and fought for. It is an example of what great things can follow if you refuse to get knocked down by your circumstances. It’s a story of change, of belief, courage and freedom; a story every South African citizen deserves to experience in real life.
Celebrate Mandela Month with a trip to this iconic island!