A Runner’s Dream Destination

AWMM Candidate   |  May. 16, 2023

Cape Town, South Africa’s Mother City, is a destination nothing short of mesmerising. This cosmopolitan city – nestled beneath the backdrop of Table Mountain, boarded by two oceans and with a National Park located at its heart – pulses with natural beauty and offers the most breathtaking views and outdoor escapes. As a city that never fails to captivate its visitors, the City of Cape Town is a running enthusiast’s dream destination; where the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon proves the perfect exhibition of all that the city has to offer. 

As a proud partner of the City of Cape Town, the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon’s route starts in the belly of this bustling metropolis, at the Green Point Stadium. The flat course winds and weaves through Cape Town’s streets, offering a historical and unforgettable journey as runners pass famous landmarks such as the Castle of Good Hope, the District Six Museum and the Company’s Garden. Under the shadow of Cape Town’s knotted mountain range, marathoners run through a city dotted with mosques, churches, and synagogues. They move through streets which reminisce Cape Dutch and Malay architectural designs and then contour the Atlantic coastline, cooled by the ocean breeze, before returning to the Stadium’s finish line. 

The Sanlam Cape Town Marathon is more than just a race; rather, it’s a celebration of the city’s unique culture and diversity. The marathon offers international runners the opportunity to immerse themselves in the local community before, during and after the race weekend; and the race organisation encourages foreign participants to experience the city’s vibrant energy. The South African saying “local is Lekker,” – which means “things from home are best,” – is ingrained into the marathon’s ethos and beliefs, and therefore, our organisation team shares their favourite places to fine-dine, train, leisure, experience and more so travellers can authentically experience our Mother City. 

Cape Town is a melting pot of diverse cultural cuisines where local dishes mix Malay, Dutch, French, Portuguese, and various African flavours. While the wide variety of food options may make it difficult to pick and choose from, our Eat Out Guide streamlines the process. 

Where to get wholesome groceries: Woolworths

At the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon we strive for excellence by aligning ourselves with partners who are equally motivated by performance optimisation. Woolworths, as the event sponsor, sees the value in boosting sporting performance through nutritionally balanced diets, and therefore, stock their shopping aisles with high-quality, nourishing and delicious groceries and pre-packed meals to support your training and post-race fueling. Catering to all dietary requirements, Woolworths offers an extensive range of vegan, gluten-free, kosher-friendly meals. Their wholesome grab-and-go section also makes for easy cooking and healthy eating while travelling and on-the-move. 

Where to eat-out: Our race-office-team’s favourite healthy cafes: 

  1. Woolworth’s Cafe: most shopping malls and Woolworth’s grocery stores have sit-down cafes which offer the most satisfying and satiating meals. 
  2. Nourish’d Cafe: a local, zero-waste, plant-based cafe offering the most delicious, creative and nourishing healthy food. From smoothie bowls to sugar-free confectionary treats, to alternative takes on cheat-day burgers and more. 
  3. Scheckters Raw: Gourmet health food cafe in Sea Point and Green Point serving beautiful, innovative and delicious food. 

Where to eat-out: Our race-office-team’s favourite ice-cream spots: 

  1. Eat Ditto (Kloof street, CBD) open from 9am-10pm. Taking a twist on conventional ice-cream and serving the best 100% plant-based ice-cream. Our staff favourite is “notella”. 
  2. Moro Gelato (Longstreet, Seapoint & Greenpoint) is open 11am-11pm. Our staff favourite is milk tart. 
  3. Kirsten’s Kickass Ice-Cream (Noordhoek, Constantia, Newlands) Open 10am-8pm Mon-Thurs & 10am-10pm Fri-Sun. Our staff favourite includes: “every single one, plus, they are always adding new flavours.” 

Where to eat-out: Our race-office-team’s favourite patisseries: 

  1. South Yeaster: an artisanal sourdough bakery run by a brother & sister team (running fanatics and patisserie connoisseurs). Our favourites include their sourdough, kimchi & greberg bake and their Friday loaves. 
  2. Honest Chocolate: small artisanal bean-to-bar chocolate company which offers an indulgent chocolate escape. We love their banana bread bunny chow, a spin-off of traditional South African cuisine. 
  3. Olympia Bakery: seaside bakery with incredible freshly baked goods to match the views. 

Where to eat-out: Our race-office-team’s favourite fine-dining restaurants: 

  1. FYN: an incredible set menu experience fusing Asian and African flavours together. 
  2. Kloof Street House: set in an old Victorian building, Kloof Street House is a fine dining oasis. Decorated enigmatically and exotically, they serve a brasserie-style menu that is as expressive as their design flare and deco. Their extensive cocktails lists take a spin on the classics and make for the perfect post-marathon celebrations.  
  3. Chef’s Warehouse @ Beau Constantia: an exceptional dining experience, serving a set menu that changes frequently and that is inspired by seasonal changes. Much of the produce used in their kitchen is grown locally or farmed from the beautiful Beau Constantia. Pair your food with a selection of world-class wines from the Beau Constantia wine farm to indulge and immerse yourself in this fine-dining experience. 

Where to get your local coffee fix: Woolworths Coffee 

As runners ourselves, we understand the importance of practising race nutrition, especially, when it comes to where and how one gets their coffee fix. Woolworths Coffee has partnered with the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon to consistently deliver high-quality taste and caffeine kicks to our race participants. Our Woolworths stands will be located at the start and finish of the marathon on race day. We encourage participants in their marathon build-up and race recovery to visit the cross-city stores. Experience the cafe culture, infused with lively energy from the baristas and aromatic coffee bean smells from across the continent. 

Where to get your local coffee fix: Truth Coffee Roasting

Truth Coffee Roasting is renowned for selecting and roasting the world’s most exclusive coffees. Voted the best coffee shop (The Daily Telegraph) for two years running, this caffeine-hot spot offers the joy of an extraordinary coffee experience. 

Check out their physical cafe and enjoy our staff favourites: their deep, dark & twisted coffee blend and their signature coffee martini and Butterbrew coffee too. 

Where to get your post-marathon celebration beers: Castle Lite 

Castle Lite is the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon alcoholic-beverage partner, and we strongly suggest lite–ing up your finish with some post-beer celebrations. Our team’s favourite local bars to cheers a cold draft & enjoy a dop* include:

  1. House of Machines 
  2. Van Hunks 
  3. The Power & the Glory 
  4. Yours Truly 
  5. La Parda  

*Afrikaans for an alcoholic drink 

Where to train: Virgin Active 

Entering the second year of this partnership, the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon has joined forces with South Africa’s leading luxury health and fitness club, Virgin Active, as a first-tier sponsor. Bringing every marathon participant nationwide access to unlimited training activations. The Virgin Active team’s expert instructors and personal trainers, alongside local running legends, lead weekly track sessions as part of the Sanlam Cape Town Marathon’s Track Thursday initiative, Saturday long runs and support groups for marathon runners. If arriving in South Africa the week before race weekend, be sure to follow socials for updates regarding track sessions. 

Where to swim: Tidal pools & beaches 

Discover the stunning beaches and tidal pools of Cape Town. From Clifton’s pristine beaches to viewing the penguins at Boulders Beach, there’s plenty to explore. Cool off after your run with a refreshing Atlantic ocean dip in the Camps Bay or Saunders Rocky Beach tidal pool. Adventure to the warmer side of Cape Town’s coastline and enjoy surfing or learning to surf at Muizenberg, or go for a swim with the iconic backdrop of the colourful bathing boxes at St James Beach or Dalebrook tidal pool. 

Where to hike/walk: our team’s local and go-to spots

Cape Town is a hiker’s paradise, with a diverse range of trails to explore. Take a leisurely stroll up Lion’s Head for breathtaking views of the city, or challenge yourself with the steep ascent up Table Mountain. For a unique experience, venture to the lush forests of Newlands to explore the many trails winding through the area. Join our Cape Town Trail Running Community sessions for group running by following closely for updates on our socials @capetowntrailrunning. 

ALL-TIME MUST-SEE: Cape Town’s most iconic must-sees include: 

  • Table Mountain: one of the world’s most iconic natural landmarks. The mountain offers breathtaking views of the city, the ocean, and the surrounding mountains, and can be reached by cable car or by hiking up one of the many trails. 
  • Chapman’s Peak: Chapman’s Peak Drive is a stunning coastal route that winds between Noordhoek and Hout Bay on South Africa’s southwestern tip. For the best experience, we suggest taking the drive in the late afternoon, when the scenery is at its most spectacular. Don’t miss the opportunity to catch the sunset from the lookout point and enjoy a picnic with sundowners. For a full-day adventure, use the road to travel from Hout Bay to Noordhoek and spend the afternoon on the beach.
  • Kirstenbosch Gardens: Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens is superb for picnics, strolls, night-time movies and open-air concerts. The tree canopy walkway provides great views of the gardens and the Skeleton Gorge hike up to Table Mountain is spectacular.

The Sanlam Cape Town Marathon is more than just a race. It’s a celebration of the city’s unique culture and diversity, which is why its partnership with the City of Cape Town is so important. International travellers have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the local community and experience the city’s vibrant energy before, during and after the event. We look forward to welcoming you to the Mother City and cheering you on at this year’s 2023 start line.

Join us as we run Towards Africa’s 1st Major.

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