Robben Island Tours

I'm thinking of taking this South Africa tour next winter. Tauck does not include Robben Island in its tour, and I can't imagine going all the way to Cape Town without going to Robben Island. Trip Advisor has a number of tours that have quite a large price differential. Has anyone taken a Robben Island tour that he or she would recommend? Thanks.


  • When we took this tour four years ago, Robben Island was included. I found the excursion interesting and meaningful. Of course, Tauck did it very well. While the ferry was crowded, once on the Island our group was divided into smaller groups and the tour proceeded as described in some of the Trip Advisor reviews.
    I have read on this forum that Tauck stopped including the tour because of problems with the ferries. You can Google stories about those problems. I looked at current TA reviews. Many are positive. The negatives fall into a few categories: too many people in the groups on the Island, disorganized in light of cost, failure to receive refund for excursion cancelled because of weather.
    Hopefully, someone who has booked this excursion independently will chime in and provide more information.

  • The ferries for Robben Island leave from the harbor adjacent to the Cape Grace hotel (Tauck uses this hotel). I would contact the concierge at the Cape Grace to set up a trip to Robben Island. Based on the world class service we received at the CG, I don't think you could go wrong this way.

    You do get a bit of a feel for Robben Island elsewhere on the tour. You can see the island from the slopes of Table Mountain. There is a mockup of Nelson Mandella's cell in the airport. And the apartheid museum in Johannesburg devotes a whole section to Mandella's life.

    By the way, wonderful tour - you should go.

  • edited August 2019

    Yes, Robben island tour was wonderful when we took it with Tauck. When I inquired about the tour no longer being included the Tauck person said it was because the authorities were asking for everyone’s passport details ahead of time and Tauck was uncomfortable divulging that information so they suspended the tours. Of course independently they may not ask for this info. Does anyone else know if my info is true?

  • We were on the last Tauck trip to Robben Island, and we were told it was due to safety issues with some of the boats used. In fact a few days after our visit there was a full rescue of passengers on a ship that was in peril of capsizing. If going back I would go there independently. It adds a lot to the discussion of Apartheid and the views back toward Cape Town and Table Mountain were amazing. It's a wonderful trip.

  • We just returned from our T&K adventure (Amazing!!!) plus our independent add on of a week in CAPETOWN. We love the entire trip.

    We did the tour of Robben Island. We bought tickets online. They are for a set ferry departure from the Waterfront. We heard the ferry is often cancelled due bad weather, rough waters etc but we had no problems or delays. The ferry over took approximately 45 minutes - it was rather calm and lovely. When we arrived at Robben Island, we were grouped into buses (approx 40 people) with 1 tour guide. We toured via the bus for approx 30 minutes. We then got off the bus and were assigned a ‘special ‘ guide who conducted a walking tour through the facilities. He was very informative - We were with him for approximately 1 hour. And then we returned to the Waterfront via ferry. We had taken the 9am ferry and returned at approx 1:15pm. A very interesting and worthwhile tour—couldn’t imagine going all the way to CAPETOWN without going to Robben Island.

    We loved our entire trip — Tanzania and Kenya, the Tauck way, was incredible—a trip of a lifetime!! I’m back less than 1 day and already looking into another African adventure...

  • Thanks, Nancy. That's very helpful information. I'm not an animal lover, so am hesitant to spend so much money to look at animals. I know that I'm in the minority of Tauck travelers, who seem to love the trips to Africa. I'm glad you had such a wonderful time.

  • edited August 2019

    MCD: I too was not sure what to expect. I usually prefer cities. I like animals from afar : not up close and definitely not personal except for dogs!! But the trip was much much more than looking at animals- it was about the people and culture of Tanzania and Kenya; the varying geographies; the beauty of the wildlife and their behaviors. Everyday was an adventure: the sounds and shrewdness of the lions, the beauty of the zebras (just loved their ‘butts’), the gracefulness of the giraffes, the sneakiness of the hippos, the menacing hyenas...I could go on and on. Go with an open mind and you will be transformed. Please ask me anything!!

  • MCD. If you were to ask me and my husband about what we like about Africa, it would be the people, the scenery, the adventure, then the animals. When we took the Elegant South Africa tour, we and the group of people on that tour all said that the favorite Day of the tour was the visit to the Hector Peterson museum and the person we met from history there. I’m not going to say more because if you go you will also be as moved as we were. This tour is the perfect combination for you if animals are not what float your boat. And in Cape Town there is plenty to see that does not involve a single animal. If you like plants and flowers, there’s Kirstenbosch Gardens. Then there’s wine tours, well I could go on but Mr B needs me just now. Enjoy!

  • OK. Nancy and British, you have convinced me that I should take this tour. However, it will have to be in 2021, because just 2 days ago I signed up to do Israel and Jordan next March, and I have 2 other tours scheduled for next year -- Romantic Germany and the new New Zealand tour. There is a limit, unfortunately! I will be back to this tour topic in a year or so.

  • We went to the island ourselves on our free afternoon and it was worth it. Nothing to worry about and I captured the day in my daily tour blog that I wrote while on this trip:

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