From Saturday June 1, Cape Town’s Robben Island Museum will implement two-tier pricing for international and South African visitors.

For the past 22 years, the museum on Robben Island, where former South African President Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 18 years, has had the same pricing model for local and international visitors. Based on an annual financial analysis and in consultation with relevant stakeholders, management has now decided to introduce a two-tier pricing structure.

The tour comprises a return ferry trip, transport on the island, a guided island tour, and a guided prison tour by an ex-political prisoner. It has incurred annual increased costs operationally, which in turn has had an adverse impact on revenue. “With such factors in mind, a different pricing structure that can provide for additional revenue that will meet our rising conservation needs, had to be investigated,” says Blayne Crocker, Chief Financial Officer at the museum. “It is important that the museum has the financial backing to maintain a high standard of excellence with our tour experience.”

The new rates are as follows:

  • R550 (€34) for non-South African adults and R300 (€19) for non-South African children aged two to 18 years.
  • R380 (€24) for South African adults and R200 (€12.50) for South African children aged two to 18 years.

“We believe that this decision will have a positive turnaround on our long-term financial sustainability as an organisation whilst also contributing to an increase in domestic visitors,” says Crocker.

The funds will allow the museum to protect and preserve the island’s history as a World Heritage Site. “Preserving Robben Island as a world-class heritage site requires a lot of effort to balance the conservation of the tangible heritage elements with the mission of increasing local access to the island,” says Morongoa Ramaboa, Robben Island Museum spokesperson.

The fees also play a big role in conserving Robben Island’s complex eco-system of indigenous reptiles, mammals and birds, which visitors are able to experience while taking a tour.