- A leper colony, an asylum and a prison are just some of Robben Island's incarnations during its turbulent history. Now housing a museum, it is located about 11km from Cape Town's harbor and is most famous as a penal institution that incarcerated many of South Africa's well-known political figures, most notably Nelson Mandela. It was opened to the public in January 1997 and was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO on 1 December 1999. Each tour consists of a bus trip around the island and a guided tour of the prison. The guides are all ex-inmates and provide personal accounts of prison life. Pre-booking your tickets is recommended; check website for more details.
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