In the past few years, Cape Town's quickly become the wellness capital of South Africa, making it a coastal playground for healthy travel.
“There's a huge emphasis on utilizing the beautiful outdoors of the city into wellness,” says Asiya Ebrahim, spa manager of Silo Hotel, which sits high along the waterfront with perfect views of Table Mountain. “From organized weekly park runs throughout Cape Town or a solo cycle to Stellenbosch in the Cape Winelands, there's no excuse not to be active—and Capetonians are very serious about leading the most balanced, holistic lives they can.”
The local currency might be the rand, but the social one is definitely being up for an adventure. “We’re all about the outdoors, beach braais, ocean swims, mountain missions, yoga retreats," ticks off Nicole Lupton, co-founder (with Marisa Logan) of the buzzy blog Wellness in the City, which is dedicated to all things cool in the Cape Town health, fitness, and beauty scene.
"[Our] restaurant scene has transformed from burgers and boerewors rolls to healthy hubs on every corner serving superfood flapjacks and acai bowls."
According to the WITC girls, there are incredible opportunities to hike, surf, SUP, climb, and cycle in the port city (and, because it's the 21st century, down dog too). That's not all: There's a sizeable contingent of energy healers, tarot card readers, naturopaths, indigenous medicine practitioners, animal communicators, and holistic health gurus. (Phew!)
And then, of course, there's the food. “[Our] restaurant scene has transformed from burgers and boerewors rolls to healthy hubs on every corner serving superfood flapjacks and acai bowls," says Logan, adding, "Trendy juice bars, organic markets, and raw vegan restaurants have become the new hip place to hang."
Sound like your idea of a good time?
Here's where to get your healthy fixes—from reiki to smoothie bowls to lymphatic massage—when you're after the perfect healthy day in Cape Town.
Turn your sunrise ritual into a dance party
There’s an underground movement in Cape Town called Secret Sunrise that's basically a combination of a silent disco and Daybreaker party. These outdoor dry ragers are definitely worth setting your alarm for. And since you're likely to kick off your shoes to shake it on a beach or in one of Cape Town's other natural environs, like a mountaintop or forest, you could actually help cure your jet lag while getting some cardio.
Secret Sunrise, locations vary, secretsunrise.com
Refuel at Scheckter's Raw
Raw, organic, vegan, and vegetarian bites that heal—that's the mission at locals’ favorite Scheckter’s Raw in picturesque Sea Point. Grab a creative cold-pressed juice—like the Pine Punch, which features pineapple, coconut water, broccoli, green apple, and lemons—when you're en route to a hike. Just out of a grueling workout and need to refuel, fast? Try the activated mesquite granola or chia seed, almond butter, and oat jars.
Scheckter’s Raw, 98 Regent Road, Sea Point, schecktersraw.com
Throw a few punches at Mojo Boxing
Logan and Lupton swear by a session with Jo at Mojo Boxing for an effective, heart-racing workout. “He'll get you fitter, leaner, and stronger than you’ve ever been in your life.”
Mojo Boxing, 56 Regent Road, Sea Point, mojoboxing.co.za
Splurge on a four-handed massage from One&Only
One of the best ways to unwind in Cape Town is by booking some table time at the One&Only Resort. Its sprawling spa, which is technically located on a private island off the city itself, is where you'll find everything from warm crystal massages to saunas. And if you're looking for some serious R&R, the two-hour, four-handed, synchronized massage (yes, really) is hard to top.
One&Only Cape Town Spa, Dock Road, V & A Waterfront, www.oneandonlyresorts.com
Eat your way through Mojo Market
This new daily market in Sea Point is chock full of stalls serving healthy food and organic produce, making it a genius way to taste test the diversity of Cape Town's food scene—which ranges from poké to Instagram-worthy smoothie bowls—when you don't have a ton of time.
Mojo Market, 34 Regent Road, Sea Point, www.mojomarket.co.za
Head to The White Lotus Wellness Centre for all things holistic
Ask any conscientious Capetonian and they’ll tell you that The White Lotus Wellness Centre is a lifesaver. The local institution is located in a three-level Victorian house on Kloof Street—which happens to be on one of the city’s coolest thoroughfares—and offers virtually everything one could want for a complete holistic experience. Lupton and Logan both swear by its lynotherapy sessions, a roofing-influenced method of treating and preventing sports injuries. “[It's] incredible—our secret weapon when we’re injured or need a good stress release,” says Lupton
The White Lotus Wellness Centre, 79 Kloof St., Gardens, whitelotus.co.za
Go see Victoria Putter for a reiki session
If you have time for some energy work while you're in town, book one with the Sea Point-based healer. Putter's one-on-one sessions—which also incorporate things like sound, essential oils, and crystal healing—will help bring your body back into balance after a long flight.
Hot Dog Yoga, 202 Main Road, Sea Point, hotdogyoga.co.za
Pick up a new, ethically sourced crystal at Magic Minerals
Crystal addicts can’t miss Magic Minerals, a wildly popular shop known for its unique variety of ethically sourced crystals. “It’s a very special and famous little shop,” says Putter of the spot, located in the quaint suburb of Philadelphia, about half an hour’s drive from Cape Town. The passionate husband-wife owners personally go to places like Namibia to buy their stock, which includes crystal art, selenite lamps, ammonite fossils, agates, and, of course, giant hunks of vibrational minerals.
Magic Minerals, Louw St., Philadelphia, Western Cape, magicminerals.co.za
Take a hike up Table Mountain
No visit to Cape Town would be complete without at least one climb up Table Mountain. Many tourists take the cable car to the top and simply walk around its flat surface, but hiking is the way to go. Putter recommends the Skeleton’s Gorge summit trail, saying, “It's truly magical and energetically very powerful. I would shortchange the experience if I tried to explain why—one really needs to experience it.” The other must-do on any active human’s itinerary: Lion’s Head, specifically on full-moon nights.
Skeleton Gorge, Wynberg NU (2), Table Mountain; Lion’s Head, Signal Hill
Before you pack your bags, check out this flight attendant's genius tips for making more room in your suitcase—you'll need it for the healthy travel snacks wellness pros swear by.
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