We’ve been so delighted to return to the many wonders of Cape Town. Along with Sydney and Paris, it ranks as a favorite city of ours. Mountains, ocean, beaches, and vineyards; fascinating history and cosmopolitan, happening vibe … we highly recommend this fabulous destination to anyone. Oh, and $1US buys almost 15 South African Rand, making it so affordable just now!

Our besties, Will and Brandy Taylor, owners of Khashana Adventure Travel, will be basing out of Cape Town for much of the next year. Will’s mom, Val, lives on Woodbridge Island, just minutes from downtown Cape Town. To be near them, we stayed right on the beach, which had the added bonuses of great views of Table Mountain, Lion’s Head, Robben Island and Cape Town. We enjoyed morning and sunset walks on the beach, with Shauna and our godson, Rhys, even braving the cold water to play in the surf.

Topping our todo list in Cape Town was a visit to Robben Island. We wanted to see and feel the prison where “Madiba” Nelson Mandela was imprisoned by the South African apartheid government for 18 of his 27 years in confinement. He was released from prison in 1990 and went on to lead the way for the abolition of apartheid in 1994.

Great view of Cape Town from the ferry to Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned.

Great view of Cape Town from the ferry to Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned.

The wind was chilly on the ferry ride.

The wind was chilly on the ferry ride.

One the former political prisoners on Robben Island described his seven years of captivity.

One of the former political prisoners on Robben Island described his seven years of captivity.

Nelson Mandela resided in this 7' x 8' cell for 18 years.  He slept on a straw mat on the floor.

Nelson Mandela resided in this 7′ x 8′ cell for 18 years. He slept on a straw mat on the floor.

Nelson Mandela hid the draft of his book, Long Walk to Freedom, in the corner of this courtyard.

Nelson Mandela hid the draft of his book, Long Walk to Freedom, in the corner of this courtyard.

We just can’t come to Cape Town without climbing at least one of the iconic mountains that frame the city – Table Mountain and Lion’s Head – and on this trip, we got to do both. As an added bonus, we were led up Skeleton Gorge on Table Mountain by Matt Botha of Wild Child AfricaWe loved learning about the Fynbos Biome – the highest concentration of species of any plant kingdom in the world (more variety than the whole of the UK just on Table Mountain), and the various mountain ranges, valleys and oceans that came into view as we climbed our way up. In addition, Matt told us all about the Wild Coast adventures he leads… we can’t wait to do this trek on our next visit to Africa.

Beginning our ascent of Table Mountain up through a beautiful ecosystem called Skeleton Gorge.

Beginning our ascent of Table Mountain up through a beautiful ecosystem called Skeleton Gorge.

Twas a bit steep in areas.

Twas a bit steep in areas.

...with lots of ladders.

…with lots of ladders.

Hiking toward a rock that we called "Camel Head Rock".

Shauna loved this outcropping that we called “Camel Castle Rock”.

Mark, Will and Shauna standing in the shade of Camel Head Rock.

Mark, Will and Shauna standing in the shade of Camel Castle Rock.

Our trail wound through some areas with some very steep drops.

Our trail wound through some areas with some very steep drops.

A good example of the flat "table" on top of Table Mountain.

A good example of the flat “table” on top of Table Mountain.

Finally at the summit, with Lionshead mountain in the background.

When we reached the summit, we were rewarded with breathtaking views. Lions Head mountain in the background would be our next hike.

The inland views  were stunning.

The inland views were also stunning.

Shauna and Rhys (our godson) roaring at Lions Head

Shauna and our godson Rhys roaring at Lions Head.

The sunset from Table Mountain was extraordinary.

The sunset from Table Mountain was extraordinary.

Just when we thought the sun had set, we realized that it had only sunk behind a cloud layer.

Just when we thought the sun had set, we realized that it had only sunk behind a cloud layer. The effect was stunning.

The mountains to the east looked snowcapped (which they were not - this was only the sun on the stone tops).

The mountains to the east looked snowcapped (which they were not – this was only the sun on the stone tops).

The view of the town underneath the pink clouds was stunning.

The view of the town underneath the pink clouds was exquisite.

Looking forward to more adventures with Matt and Cam from Wild Child Africa.

Looking forward to more adventures with Matt and Cam from Wild Child Africa.

Special thanks to Matt and Camilla!   Matt Botha accompanied (led) us on the hike and Camilla had an incredible spread waiting for us at the end of our hike.

Special thanks to Matt and Camilla! Matt Botha accompanied (led) us on the hike and Camilla (who, by the way, was due any day) had an incredible champagne picnic waiting for us at the end of our hike.

We just couldn't stop looking at the magnificent sunset.

We just couldn’t stop looking at the magnificent sunset.

After giving our legs a couple days’ rest, we did the walk/climb up Lions Head. We had done this hike in 2008, and it’s no ordinary hike.  You do the majority of your climbing in the last quarter of the hike. Straight up in places.

Beginning the steep section of Lionshead.

Beginning the steep section of Lions Head.

....almost to the top.

….almost to the top.

Will and Shauna at the peak.

Will and Shauna at the peak.

The peak of Lionshead looks east over the downtown area of Cape Town.

The peak of Lions Head looks east over the downtown area of Cape Town.

....and Camps Bay to the southwest.

….and Camps Bay to the southwest.

The scramble down looks more itimidating that it actually was.   All in all, a great 2 hour hike with amazing views.

The scramble down looks more itimidating that it actually was. All in all, a great 2 hour hike with amazing views.

Early morning and sunset beach walks just steps from our airbnb provided beautiful views to Cape Town, Table Mountain and Lions Head. We will miss this view.

Early morning and sunset beach walks just steps from our airbnb provided beautiful views to Cape Town, Table Mountain and Lions Head. We will miss this view.

We’ll leave you with a little tribal dancing from the waterfront (video).

Special thanks to Khashana Travel for all the hospitality and special experiences in Cape Town.