Strolling through Cape Town in December, I feel the laid-back vibe of those enjoying the sunshine, the beaches, and the endless rows of cafes and bars that line the streets. It’s easy to spend a breezy day at the pool, eating Cape Salmon at a restaurant by the sea, or enjoying a glass of wine from the famed vineyards just a short drive from the bustling city. You may spend a day getting to know Cape Town culture as you catch a cricket game, or while enjoying tea and scones at the breathtaking Vineyard Hotel
I love lounging at the pool as much as the next girl, but when I travel I also enjoy experiencing a destination by getting active. When it comes to running, walking, hiking, and swimming, Cape Town is the perfect destination. Looking to get to know Cape Town and stay active? Here’s my suggestion for an energetic day in the city:
6:30 AM: Running on Seapoint:
For me, there’s nothing better than beginning a busy day of traveling with a light jog along the sea. From Green Point Lighthouse to Bantry Bay runs a beautiful, open promenade that stretches for 3 kilometers. Park at the lighthouse, run to the entrance of Bantry Bay where you will be greeted by a large sign, and then jog back as the sun sets on the water. Along the way, you will spot art installations, playgrounds, and the occasional children’s cricket match. In the evening there are many restaurants along the street to enjoy a delicious seafood meal afterward, and in the morning I like to enjoy a freshly baked Pastais and latte at Cape Town’s famed Giovanni’s Deli (open from 7:30 AM).
10:00 AM: Swimming or Surfing at Muizenberg Beach:
Surrounded by not one, but two oceans, Cape Town in the summer becomes a beach city, with locals and tourists alike frequenting the many beaches the city has to offer. My favorite beach, though further removed from the center of the city, is Muizenberg. As it is the Indian ocean, the water there is a little bit warmer than Cape Town’s Atlantic beaches, and the area has a certain charm to it as well. The colorful “houses” (used as changing rooms owned or rented by individuals or families) lining the edge of the sand, with the mountains in the backdrop, is almost as eye-catching as the water itself. One can swim (of course), play soccer in the sand, or for the real adventurers take a surfing class!
2:00 PM: Strolling in Kirstenbosch
Cape Town’s largest botanical garden, Kirstenbosch is the perfect spot for an afternoon stroll. Nestled under the mountains, I feel so at peace as I walk amongst vast fields of flowers, or eat a picnic lunch under the shade of a tree. There are even giant tortoises meandering the gardens! The garden contains many different walking trails to enjoy, some more difficult and lasting up to six hours, and others merely a walk in the park. The new Boomslang Aerial Walkway offers striking views of the gardens, the surrounding mountains, and the city beyond.
5:00 PM: Hiking Lion’s Head Mountain:
While most of those who travel to Cape Town can’t wait to get to the top of the famed Table Mountain, Lion’s Head offers a less crowded and more adventurous alternative. The mountain gets its name from its feline-esque shape, and as you hike you will pass the three trees that make up the lion’s eyelashes. From top to bottom the hike takes me (a very average hiker!) no more than an hour and a half, and throughout the hike you see exquisite panoramic views of the city, Table Mountain, Robben Island, and the coastline. This hike also satisfies a little craving for adventure, with certain areas that require climbing with chains and ladders (don’t worry, there are other paths as well). Footnote: I recommend going early in the morning or late at night to escape the midday summer heat. Some like to walk up as the sun is setting, and walk down by flashlight)
After a day getting active around the city, it’s time to unwind at some of Cape Town’s hottest bars and restaurants. I love Kloof Street, which seems to be alive and animated at any time of the day. There’s nothing like a busy day exploring a city to make you crave some of Cape Town’s most exciting nightlife.
These are my suggestions for an active day getting acquainted with Cape Town. How do you get active, and stay active when you travel? Comment below!