The Mother City is consistently rated one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, and it isn’t just because of the many modern pleasures that attract visitors from abroad every year. Cape Town also has plenty of natural wonders to offer travellers.
Trail runners can indulge in a great many scenic running spots, and here are five to keep in mind the next time you’re in the vicinity, in search of runner’s high.
This circular 9-kilometre long route can be found smack-bang in the middle of the suburb of Constantia. Moderately challenging (albeit perpetually green) this route consists mostly of gravel trails, climbing about 300 metres for its duration. Start at Alphen Drive and choose between numerous trails that run up the Dieprivier Path, along the Contour Path and down through Cecilia Forest.
Located just outside of Cape Town in Stellenbosch, a number of trails make up the 9,800-hectare nature reserve. Trails range in distance from 5km to 18km, and you’ll be in awe of the scenic surroundings in Jonkershoek, including reservoirs, waterfalls and climbs that give runners beautiful views of Robben Island, Table Mountain and the Cape Peninsula.
You’ll find many like-minded trail runners when visiting the Pipe Track, which is just around the corner from the Cape Town City Bowl. Following a water pipeline that runs from the top of Camps Bay past Bakoven, the 6-kilometre long trail consists mostly of smooth gravel and flat terrain, although a few more rocky sections will provide plenty of technical challenges, if that’s what you’re into. Find the start of the trail just atop Kloof Nek.
If you’re looking for the most direct route to the top of Table Mountain, this is it. Commonly referred to as the Pipe Track’s more challenging big brother, this trail gains 600 metres in elevation in only 2.5km, so keep this in mind if you’re not quite where you’d like to be in terms of fitness levels. The trail kicks off on Tafelberg Road, roughly 2km from the cable way station, ending just west of Table Mountain’s highest point, Maclear’s Beacon.
Helderberg Nature Reserve can be found in Somerset West, south of Stellenbosch. Relatively small when compared to Jonkershoek, Helderberg still offers a whopping seven trails, ranging in distance from 2.2km to 8.2km. Perhaps the most picturesque route of them all is the West Peak Route that, after a climb to the 1,000-metre summit, will take your breath away with panoramic views of Strand, Gordons Bay and Somerset West.