Sport and fitness in Cape Town

Fitness in Cape Town is no light matter, 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 prohibits such adventures, then expats can take advantage of one of the many gyms or exercise facilities.

There are many gyms located through Cape TownLiving between a mountain and a sea 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 nearby ocean. Slightly off-beat options also exist for a minimal price, including capoeira, muay tai, and salsa.

Regardless of what method expats choose, keeping fitness levels where they should be is easy in a city with 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. 

Virgin has flagship branches at Claremont, Greenpoint and Constantia with gym and weights gear complimented by swimming pool, spa facilities, varied classes such as spinning and boxercise, and healthy eateries to enjoy after the workout.

A recent niche entrant is the women-only Curves gym, with several branches across the city. In general, gym memberships cost from 250 ZAR per month, although many people join through their medical aid membership, in which case there is an initial gym joining fee and thereafter attendance is free or discounted.


The Cape’s roads are popular with cyclists despite the fact that there are no cycle lanes and plenty of unlicensed drivers. On weekends the scenic drives are dotted with riders, especially along Chapman’s Peak and around the Winelands. The best way to find a group is to join Pedal Power – the cycle advocacy group – and source a local club from their website. Alternatively, visit a local bike shop.

The biggest chain is Cyclelab at Canal Walk and Westlake. 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 of the Winelands.


There are many yoga studios in the City Bowl, and standards of instruction are high. From classical styles like Bikram to Ashtanga, to contemporary Power Yoga; from one-on-one teaching to large classes, expats interested in keeping fit this way will have a variety of options. 


A popular option for those needing external motivation to stay fit is Bootcamp, which puts its members through a vigorous fitness programme in a conscript-like military environment that is both highly effective and inexplicably popular.

Squash and tennis

Squash is a popular sport in Cape Town, with competitive league play in the winter months. Tennis clubs are similarly plentiful.