Robben Island was rated the “most beloved landmark” in South Africa this week and among the top 10 on the continent, in the latest TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice awards.
The world’s winning landmarks – which included bridges, museums, temples, churches, mosques, prisons and more were determined based on millions of reviews and opinions collected on the popular global travel website over the past 12 months.
The island, which houses the notorious jail where Nelson Mandela and other anti-apartheid fighters were imprisoned, beat the Isandlwana Battlefield in KwaZulu-Natal and Satyagraha House in Joburg, where Mahatma Gandhi once lived, to claim first position.
While Robben Island took top spot in South Africa, it didn’t get the top spot in Africa award, which went to Jemaa el Fnaa – the famous market spot in Marrakesh, Morocco.
Robben Island landed the number nine place on the African list.
In second place were the extraordinary rock-hewn churches of Lalibela in Ethiopia and third, the Dougga, the well-preserved ruins of a Roman city in Tunisia.
Robben Island Museum’s interim chief executive, Mava Dada, thanked the public for support.
“(The museum) will continue to reposition itself as a responsible tourist destination that is also tasked with the conservation of the island as a cultural landscape,” he said.
Enver Duminy, the chief executive of Cape Town Tourism, said the island was a “must-do” experience for locals and visitors.
“We are thrilled that a Cape Town landmark has been chosen as the best in South Africa and that the importance of the role Robben Island plays in the heritage of our nation places it high on the world’s tourism agenda.”
Cape Town and its attractions generally fare well in the TripAdvisor awards, which have become a yardstick for what tourists like.
This year, the Mother City was rated the best destination in South Africa and the second best in Africa, behind Marrakesh.
Camps Bay beach was rated the second best beach in Africa.
The best beach spot went to Anse Lazio in the Seychelles.
Globally, the users of TripAdvisor rated Machu Picchu in Peru the world’s top landmark.
The travel website, founded in 2000, houses about 350 million reviews and opinions on hotels, restaurants and tourist attractions worldwide.