Our family of 4 have just returned to Los Angeles after an incredible trip to South Africa. Last Monday, Mark Hawthorne picked us up at our hotel at the conference center on the waterfront. We did not really know what to expect but ended up having a truly memorable experience. Mark is incredibly friendly and warm. His knowledge of the local fauna, flora and history is absolutely incredible. We started out on the drive overlooking Muizenberg at sunrise then made our way through St James. We went to Kalk Bay where he introduced us to an incredible local bakery, The Olympia, to buy provisions for our picnic. Food was exceptional and a local gem not to be missed. From here we went to Simon's Town and the Boulders Penguin Colony. We had ample time to view the adorable African Penguin in its natural habitat. We then made our way to The Cape of Good Hope Reserve and to Cape Point, the light houses and all the birds and wildlife. Mark tailors his narrative to the history and botany on the way. Ostritch, Bontebok, Baboons, Ibises to name but a few. We had a lovely picnic at Cape Point Nature reserve. We then hiked the ship wreck trail. Breathtaking scenery of the Fynbos and especailly the Protea species that are so wonderful. On the beach, he reviwed the history of the wrecks, the shore birds like Oyster catchers and Avocets were pretty special too. We then saw a huge herd of Eland to complete the day. The trip home included a drive up Chapmans Peak. Mark is to easy going and calm and a pleasure be around. We even conviced him to join us at a traditional fish and chip shop in Hout Bay for dinner on the way home. All told it was the most memorable 12 hours of our trip to South Africa. If you have an iterest in learning about the Cape and its wildlife, Mark is the guide for you!!! Highly reccomended and we will defintely be back.