The first time backpacking in Cape Town, my sister took me up the Table I was in awe. It was like blues of all depths.. the sky, the ocean and so full on in your face wow!   I looked out at that ocean and was just amazed. I wondered if my paternal ancestors had thought when they first saw that amazing Table Mountain with its table cloth. I was also amazed with these little furry critters called Dassies. Too cute. It was a bit like not knowing about Koalas before you get to Australia. My Husband, when I took him backpacking in Cape Town a few years later, was gobsmacked. He kept photographing every angle every view.. like the mountain was going to get up and walk away.

You can take a boat out to Robben Island from the waterfront. My dad’s mum had nursed on Robben Island when it was a leper colony so the family story went, so I was curious to see if any of that history remained. The tour I went on didn’t mention it and every time I go back to Cape Town I mean to check it out but of course never do. Robben Island is where Mr Mandela was imprisoned by the National Party Government during the Apartied years. You look at that cell and wonder at how amazing Mr Mandela was to leave that cell without bitterness or hatred. You get angry when you see the mine that he had to work out .. and how the white lime ruined his eyes. On the tour I did we had a former prison guard and a former prisoner telling us about the lessons that were conducting for both staff and inmates by professors incarcerated in the gaol.  What you don’t realise until you are on the shores of Robben Island that you get the most amazing pictures back to the mainland. Pale blues, whites, deep blues .

Take a township tour and you get different images; of poverty, of hope, of smiles, of people giving it a go, and of people making a difference in their communities. (Ashanti’s travel centre checks to ensure its township tours give back to the local communities)

If you don’t believe me about the amazing photo opps of Cape Town .. get on a helicopter and you will see I am right.

If you are a bit of a marine biologist or just silly (yes I am being judgy) you can get some photos of a big bloody shark swimming by.. on one of the famous shark diving experiences. Lisa who manages Ashanti tells me we have not lost a backpacker in Cape Town yet!

There has however been an occasional headache after one of the wine tours, the wine tours take you through some amazing countryside. Franshoek and Stellenbosch are seriously picturesque. The wine is seriously good too, but I have previously gloated over that.

And this is why dear reader .. after every backpacking in Cape Town, I spend a fortune of photo printing!

Contributor: Allison Finley-Bisset