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Sport and fitness are taken seriously in Cape Town, and many Capetonians consider staying in shape to be one of their primary priorities. Much of the lifestyle in the Mother City revolves around outdoor activities, and if the weather rules out such adventures, residents will often take advantage of one of the many gyms or exercise facilities all over the city.
Living between a mountain and an ocean means that hiking, trail running and rock climbing are easy to access and free of charge, as are the various water sports connected with the ocean or nearby dams and rivers. More offbeat options also exist for a minimal price, including capoeira, Muay Thai and salsa dancing.
Regardless of the type of exercise expats choose, keeping fitness levels where they should be is easy in a city with such ideal weather conditions and so many options.
Keeping fit in Cape Town
There are two main gym brands operating in the city: Virgin Active and Planet Fitness. Alternatively, there are other non-chain gyms located throughout Cape Town.
Gym membership can be pricey, depending on the specific gym and selected membership plan. However, some medical aid schemes encourage insurance holders to stay healthy by offering discounts on gym memberships, in which case there is an initial joining fee and thereafter monthly fees are discounted according to attendance.
The Cape’s roads are popular with cyclists and the city has been making an effort to make the city more cycle-friendly, with dedicated cycle lanes and cycle routes being introduced.
Mountain bikers have plenty of options, with good routes on Table Mountain and lots of downhill in Tokai, not to mention countless routes in the mountains surrounding the Winelands.
Hikers are spoilt for choice in the Mother City. Whether climbing Signal Hill, Lion's Head, Platteklip, Silvermine, Cape Point Nature Reserve or any of the other numerous options offered by the city, hikers are guaranteed beautiful views.
However, it's important to stay safe while hiking. For a start, never hike alone – authorities recommend being in a group of four hikers or more. Cape Town is also known for its fickle weather, which can change from warm and sunny to windy and rainy in just a few hours. Wet and slippery paths and rocks are a common cause of injuries when hiking, so always check the weather report before embarking on a hike. Lastly, make sure at least one person in the hiking group has a working, fully charged mobile telephone in case of an emergency.
With spectacular views to be found around every bend and accommodating weather to be enjoyed most of the year, there are plenty of opportunities in Cape Town for running enthusiasts. Popular spots include Sea Point Promenade, Rondebosch Common and Newlands Forest. As with hiking, appropriate precautions should be taken for safety, such as running only during the day, running in groups, keeping valuable items out of sight, and taking note of surrounding areas and people.
Sports clubs in Cape Town
Joining a sports club can be a great way to meet like-minded people while getting some exercise and fresh air, too.
See below for a list of some of Cape Town's top sports clubs. It's worth noting that some clubs require approval of registration by a committee, and at times the waiting list may be lengthy.
Western Province Cricket Club
Address: Ave De Mist, Rondebosch
Tel: +27 21 657 3330
More than just a cricket club, the Western Province Cricket Club offers running, cycling, bowls, squash, hockey and tennis and is equipped with a fitness centre. The club has been around for more than 150 years and is situated in the beautiful suburb of Rondebosch.
Cape Town Cricket Club
Address: The Boon Wallace Oval, Victoria Road, Plumstead
Tel: +27 83 298 6046
The club has an impressive foundation, established 160 years ago. Having produced a number of top international cricket players, the Cape Town Cricket Club is the perfect place for cricket lovers.
Camps Bay Football Club
Address: The Meadway, Camps Bay
Tel: +27 76 070 6563
With junior and senior sides, football fanatics can enjoy kicking a ball around on the grounds located right next to the beach.
Clyde Pinelands Association Football Club
Address: 207 Ringwood Dr, Pinelands
Tel: +27 76 700 7690
Offering both recreational and competitive opportunities, Clyde Pinelands Football Club welcomes players of all ages and has a number of age-specific teams, ranging from Under-7s to Veterans.
Mowbray Golf Club
Address: 1 Raapenberg Road, Mowbray
Tel: +27 21 685 3018
Set on a flat terrain populated by lush trees and water features, the Mowbray Gold Club is open all year round. The course has been specifically designed to block the ever-present Cape Town winds from ruining a game.
Royal Cape Golf Club
Address: 174 Ottery Road, Wynberg
Tel: +27 21 761 6551
Boasting views of spectacular Table Mountain, the Royal Cape Golf Club is South Africa's oldest golf course and accommodates players of all skill levels.
Rondebosch Golf Club
Address: Corner of Access Road and Golf Course Road, Mowbray
Tel: +27 21 689 4176
This course is popular with locals and foreigners alike, particularly for its views of Table Mountain and Devil's Peak. The river that winds through the course provides challenges to the players, and the grounds are home to a variety of bird life.
Mountain Club of South Africa
Address: 97 Hatfield Street, Cape Town
Tel: +27 21 465 3412
This club offers hikes, rock climbs and other mountain-related activities led by volunteers.
The Trails Club of South Africa
Offering hikes of different variations, this club is focused on enjoying nature and spreading awareness about conservation.
Hamilton's Rugby Football Club
Address: 1 Stephan Way, Green Point
Tel: +27 21 180 2838
This club is one of the oldest rugby unions in South Africa and has a great sense of camaraderie. The club is open to anyone enthusiastic about rugby.
Atlantic Athletic Club
Address: 3 Victoria Road, Clifton
Offering training runs, social runs and runs for beginners, this club is a great place for runners of all abilities.
Claremont Tennis Club
Address: 20 Annette Way, Claremont
Sporting eight tennis courts set against a backdrop of Table Mountain, it is the perfect place for expats looking to enjoy tennis leisurely or competitively.
Gardens Lawn Tennis Club
Address: Upper De Waal Park, Molteno Road, Gardens
Tel: +27 79 259 7062
As well as being a good spot for expats to hone their tennis skills, it offers many social events, making it easy for expats to meet people and make friends.
Royal Cape Yacht Club
Address: Duncan Road, Table Bay Harbour
Tel: +27 21 421 1354
A friendly environment, the club hosts various sailing events along with more casual events like talks and club gatherings.