Robben Island MPA

"Island Treasures"

Cape Town, Western Cape


The safeguarded historical and cultural World Heritage Site also provides protection to a natural ocean legacy in a busy maritime area.

South Africa’s iconic Robben Island needs no introduction. Apartheid prisoners and guards had mixed emotions about the icy seas, the lighthouse, the waves and wind. But while many know some of the history of the area, few people have seen the underwater beauty of the kelp forests around the island, or know that Robben Island is one of the few areas that stills supports viable stocks of abalone, a lucrative resource that has been severely overexploited in South Africa. Many seabirds nest on the island including the endangered African Penguin, endangered bank cormorants and swift terns. The 580 km2 MPA was proclaimed in 2019 and ranges from 180 to 500 m deep.



  • protects Breeding and feeding areas of endangered seabirds

  • Contributes to recovery of abalone and west coast rock lobster

  • Important tourism area for wildlife and cultural heritage