Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999, Robben Island is where Nelson Mandela was held prisoner for 18 of the 27 years he was prisoner for his anti-apartheid activism. Including Mandela, three of South Africa’s presidents were once prisoners on the island.
Robben Island has been used as prison for political dissidents since the seventeenth century. The island is located just a short ferry ride off the coast of Cape Town. The island’s maximum and medium security prisons closed in 1991 and 1996 respectively and has since been a museum open all year around. Most of the museum’s tour guides are former prisoners.