As an official nature reserve and World Heritage Site, Robben Island is one of the most unique places to enjoy a family safari vacation or a South African honeymoon. Rich with cultural and historical elements as well as an abundance of wildlife and diverse eco-systems, Robben Island is a must visit destination.
Before you even arrive on Robben Island, you’ll be able to see some truly exceptional marine mammals indigenous to the area during the boat ride from Cape Town to Robben Island. Frequently spotted animals include Cape fur seals, southern right whales, and several dolphin species.
Upon your arrival to this stunning getaway, you’ll discover exactly why Robben Island is famous for its fantastic wildlife and unique vegetation. Some resident species you’ll see include a variety of antelope species, ostriches, reptiles, tortoises’, and more. The birdlife is also exquisite on this island and one of those most celebrated birds to observe is the African penguin. As a breeding ground for these adorable, little sea birds, Robben Island offers you the opportunity to get up-close-and-personal with the penguins and observe their natural behavior in the wild. You will also have the chance to see a variety of other seabirds and over 132 species of bird. Some of the most popularly witnessed birds include the guinea fowl, black crowned night heron, and the crowned cormorant.
In addition to its highly-acclaimed wildlife, Robben Island is also famous for its World Heritage Site title. History buffs and intuitive travelers alike find Robben Island to be one of the most intriguing places to take a step back in time—a time when great national leaders, icons, African citizens, and criminals were punished and imprisoned. This Island was also used as a place of hospitalization and quarantine for people with leprosy.
Did you know?
• Since the 1600s the island’s primary purpose has been to imprison political figures and criminals.
• Well-known political prisoners included Nelson Mandela (South Africa’s first president), other African leaders, Muslim leaders, and anti-apartheids.
• In addition to its use as a prison, Robben Island was once used as a hospital for lepers and mentally ill people.
• In 1997, Robben Island was dubbed as a World Heritage Site and is now one of the world’s greatest and historically-rich museums.
Below is a timeline taken directly from the Robben Island Museum website:
Have you been to Robben Island? What were your lasting memories?