Cape Town s best running routes MzansiBride

Winona Griggs

Discover Cape Town’s Mesmerizing Running Routes

Running in Cape Town may not be a walk in the park. With its undulating landscapes and breezy gusts, you might find yourself questioning your decision. However, amidst the challenges, something magical happens. At the pinnacle of a hill, you catch a breathtaking view. A rock kestrel gracefully hovers above, while rays of sunshine pierce through the clouds. It could even be a friendly stranger waving at you. Suddenly, a surge of happiness overwhelms you, and you can’t help but leap with joy. These are the moments that make running worthwhile.

Unveiling these hidden gems across the peninsula awaits your curious exploration. To kickstart your journey towards pure bliss, here’s a compiled list of some incredible running routes.

1. Newlands Forest

I feel like I’m in Neverland when I’m here. There’s so much to explore: ancient ruins, cascading waterfalls, curious trees, creaky bridges, and breathtaking views. What I find fascinating about Newlands is that you can never really get lost. If you want to go farther, you go up; if you’ve had enough, you go down, and somehow, you always end up back at the parking lot.

Newlands has trails for every level of runner. Whether you prefer steep, narrow paths or wide, gentle tracks that wind through towering trees, Newlands has it all. Personally, I love running up to the boardwalk section of the contour path and then finding a new way to descend.

Chapman’s Peak

I have to tell you, this piece of road has got to be one of the best in the world. It’s 9 kilometers long and has a whopping 114 curves, which might seem a bit hilly, but trust me, when you see the absolutely stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean, you won’t even notice the effort. If you decide to park your car in Hout Bay after your drive, I highly recommend treating yourself to some delicious fish and chips. On the other hand, if you finish your drive in Noordhoek, make sure to try the mouthwatering pies from the Barnyard in Noordhoek Village.

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The Mighty Devil’s Peak

Now, let me tell you about this magnificent place for hill training that offers impressive views. The lower slopes of Devil’s Peak are perfect for some intense uphill workouts. You can start at the area below the King’s Blockhouse, which connects to both Tafelberg Road and Newlands Forest. Most of the paths are wide and easy to walk on, but above the Blockhouse, there’s this wonderful narrow path that leads you either down to Tafelberg Road or up towards the majestic peak.

Hey there! Just before the Blockhouse, there’s a little green gate that leads you towards Rhodes’ Memorial or into Newlands. It’s a cool little detour that’s definitely worth checking out.

Atlantic Seaboard

The Sea Point Promenade is the ultimate route to take in Cape Town. It’s a 5.5 km stretch from Granger Bay to Bantry Bay, with beautiful ocean views and lush green grass on either side. The best part? It’s car-free and totally flat, making it a hotspot for runners, dog walkers, and lovebirds. If you’re up for a scenic 10k run with tons of people around, Sea Point is the place to be.

The route from Camps Bay to the top of Suikerbossie can be a bit challenging, but it offers breathtaking views of the sea. The incline is steady, and you’ll have plenty of room to avoid cars and cyclists. It’s about 8 km from the southern end of the Camps Bay Promenade to the top of the hill, but once you reach the top, you’ll be rewarded with an incredible view of Hout Bay Harbour.

Have you heard of Lion’s Head?

If you’re an outdoor enthusiast stuck in the City Bowl offices, Lion’s Head is a true gift from God. This mountain is only 669 m tall and conveniently located close to the city. It’s the perfect size for a quick adventure before or after work. In just one hour, you can hike to the top of Lion’s Head and enjoy stunning panoramic views of Robben Island and the Twelve Apostles.

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When I park my car on Signal Hill Road, I have a few options for my run. For the bold and determined, there’s the 4.5 km uphill challenge to the hill’s summit. The path winds upwards, offering stunning views, some tricky sections, and many fellow hikers. It’s quite the feat to conquer Lion’s Head, but the feeling of standing triumphantly at the top makes it all worthwhile.

If I’m looking for something a little easier, I can opt for the 5.3 km circuit around the base of Lion’s Head. Starting from the car park, I take the stairs next to the hut and follow the path that leads toward Sea Point. When the path forks, I go to the right and continue until I reach Kloof Road. From there, it’s a run back up to the parking lot.

If I prefer running on the road, I can stick to Signal Hill Road all the way to the viewpoint. If the 3 km from the parking lot isn’t enough for me, I can extend my run by adding the challenging climb up Kloof Nek or the picturesque Tafelberg Road.

Boyes Drive and St. James

Nestled snugly between the tall mountains and False Bay lies the charming and peaceful area of St. James and Kalk Bay. Just a quick 30-minute drive south of the city center, this place is a hidden gem. The Muizenberg – St. James Walk is a delightful stroll alongside the crashing waves, where you’ll encounter fishermen, surfers, and perhaps even a majestic whale. For an extra boost of excitement, switch things up by taking the route back via Boyes Drive (or vice versa). The steep ups and downs of Boyes Drive will give your calves a nice workout, and as a reward, you can treat yourself to some scrumptious fish and chips from Kalkies or indulge in a delectable treat from the Olympia Bakery. If you choose to end your run in Muizenberg, the Empire Café is a wonderful spot to grab a satisfying breakfast.

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Running the Two Oceans marathon, known as the world’s most beautiful and toughest run, should be on every runner’s bucket list. It’s an accomplishment that will leave you feeling fulfilled and proud. Last year, I completed the 56 km ultra-marathon, and while it was challenging, the sense of achievement and the memories still bring a smile to my face when I pass by certain parts of the route.

Don’t let the idea of running 56 km over Chapman’s Peak and Constantia Nek intimidate you. You don’t have to do it tomorrow. Preparing for this marathon requires dedication and training, but it’s a goal that will motivate you like no other. If you start early and gradually increase your distance, you’ll be amazed at how far your legs can carry you.

Explore New Horizons

I don’t have to run far. I don’t have to run fast. I don’t need to run to lose weight or impress other people. I just need to run. When the sun rises on the horizon, I love pounding the pavement or skipping over roots and stones in a cool forest. It gives me a sense of joy that I can’t get enough of. Once my legs get used to running, they want to take me everywhere. So why not let them?

Run commuting is a fantastic way to combine exercise with getting to places I need to go anyway. If I don’t have a shower at work, I can just run back home. And if it’s too far, I can get a ride halfway and run the rest. There’s always a solution if I really want it. I just need to make sure my breakfast is waiting for me when I arrive at the office.

So let go of your ego and your car. There’s so much more to discover when you’re traveling by foot!

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