This intriguing excursion begins at the Clock Tower, also known as the Nelson Mandela Gateway, in the V&A Waterfront, where you need to gather at least a half an hour before the ferry is scheduled to depart for Robben Island. The Island was a training and defence station in World War 2, and has also served as a place of banishment, isolation and imprisonment, which became world famous as the prison where Nelson Mandela was held for 18 years.
Today it is a World Heritage Site and museum which acts as a focal point of South African heritage. It runs educational programmes for schools and facilitates tourism development – a poignant reminder of the price paid for freedom. As your ferry arrives at the Island, you are joined by a local guide, someone who spent time there during the Apartheid years and is thus able to give a personal and often moving account of the experience. You will also see the cell where Nelson Mandela spent a large part of his life. After a most interesting time of gleaning ‘behind the scenes’ history, the ferry takes you back to the V&A Waterfront.