50 reasons Cape Town is good for your health

Whether it’s eating better, exercising more, being more present in the moment and less connected to your phone, or being a more responsible citizen of the world, there are various ways to be a better version of yourself. Here are 50 ways to do just that in Cape Town.

BE KIND TO THE ENVIRONMENT

The world as we know it is changing. Summers are hotter and winters are colder, some animals are becoming more scarce and our water reserves are getting lower. Here are some ways to ensure that you’re more part of the solution than the problem.

1. BEAT THE HEATWAVE WITH AN OCEAN WAVE!

Save some water while you do it! Things may look a little dry around here – gardens not so green, your rental car a bit dusty? Close that tap, shower with a friend , keep a bottle of drinking water in the fridge and  take a cleansing bath in the ocean. If it’s at a Blue Flag Beach, that’s even better. You can do your part as we enter the City of CT’s level 2 water restrictions by finding some easy water saving tips with good Smart Living.

2. YOU DON’T WANT TO LOSE YOUR WAY!

Get the Green Map and you will never be at a loss. Find your nearest recycle depot, birding route, park, nature reserve, Blue Flag Beach or green living accommodation. You are going to feel a whole lot better doing the right thing.

3. EAT SMART

Become SASSI savvy when out for some delicious seafood. You can use the SASSI Handbook or download the SASSI App or use the SASSI sms service – no reason at all for you to dine on endangered fish species – follow the green fish symbol.  Check out SASSI Trail Blazer Chefs for 2015 if you want to be sure about your restaurant choice. Also consider eating in a StreetSmart Restaurant where the R5 added to your bill supports a number of NGO’s and Homes that do meaningful work with street children.  Eating Out becomes Helping Out, so check out these great City restaurantssupporting this initiative.

4. MAKE IT WITH MARKETS

Go organic and go local.  Whether it’s from farm to table fare or locally produced goods, you will feel healthier and you will be helping a farmer or crafter to grow their business.  Slow Markets, Organic Markets, craft markets and even flea markets – gems to be found and good to be done!  Check out this list for some inspiration.

5. TOUR CONSCIOUSLY

It’s amazing what you find when you let your feet lead the way – so do a walking tour of the city. Use a registered guidefor your walk-about in a local community or on a mountain path or download the Voicemap App and discover some interesting neighbourhoods from the locals in the know. Carbon footprint turns into memorable footprint as you get under the skin of the city.

6. SUPPORT OUR ECO-CONSCIOUS ATTRACTIONS

Enjoy Cape Town and all it offers knowing our major attractions operate consciously on all levels – from the preservation of culture, to effective waste disposal, from community projects to sustainable farming. Table Mountain, V & A Waterfront,  Cape Point,  Groot Constantia and Spier –  you can visit these iconic attractions, knowing that they are pioneers in responsible living.

7. SUPPORT LOCAL NATURE RESERVES

Cape Town’s nature reserves are beautiful. They are home to animals of various forms, many different species of birds and a wide variety of fynbos. Visit these reserves when you’re looking for a fun day out in nature. Your entry fee into the reserve goes straight back into conservation.

8. TAKE PUBLIC TRANSPORT

This one’s more for the locals who own cars. If you’re always using your car to and from work or shopping centres, why not try to take public transport instead? The more people who take public transport, the fewer cars there will be on the roads and the less congestion there is. Almost all of Cape Town’s big attractions are accessible via the MyCiti bus or a train.

9. TAKE A RUBBISH BAG WITH YOU WHEN YOU GO TO THE BEACH OR FOR A HIKE

Don’t you hate arriving at a beach or hiking a beautiful trail and you see some litter dotted about? Take a rubbish bag with you the next time you go and help pick up some of the litter where possible. There are also initiatives like Beach Clean-upthat you can get involved with.

10. INVEST IN A REUSABLE GLASS WATER BOTTLE

The water in Cape Town is great and perfectly good to drink. Instead of buying bottled water in plastic water bottles that will more than likely end up in a landfill (even though the bottles are recyclable), why not buy a glass bottle and refill it whenever possible? Not only is this better for the environment, but glass bottles are more hygienic too.

NURTURE BODY, MIND AND SOUL

11. PRACTISE THE ART OF MINDFULNESS

The White Lotus Wellness Centre. in the heart of Cape Town is situated in a beautiful 3 level Victorian home. It houses an experienced team of wellness professionals who offer a variety of body and soul nurturing practices including Mindfulness Meditation. Their course in Mindfulness provides you with the tools you need to get off that hamster wheel and really start living a happy and fulfilled life.

12. GO OFF GRID

Chances are you’re reading this on your mobile phone and even if you’re not, I’m pretty sure it’s somewhere close by. While we all love the feeling of being connected to everything that’s happening in the world, sometimes it’s awesome to be able to go somewhere and switch off. For a quick digital detox, take time out for a one-of-a-kind overnight stay atOverseers Mountain Cottage. This comfy stone cottage is perched right on top of Table Mountain and comfortably sleeps 12 people in the main house and 6 in the Annex. While it is in range of mobile phone reception, I doubt you’d want to be staring at your screen when you have the view of the whole of the city at your feet.

13. GO ON A PILGRIMAGE

The Cape Camino is inspired by Camino de Santiago; the ancient walking pilgrimage in the north of Spain. The Cape Town route has you exploring a diverse range of sacred sites and covers 160km in total. To make it easier for people with limited time, they have split the route into half and full day; weekend or longer guided walks. One of the Cape Town Tourism team, Rob Peters, went along on this unique experience and had this to say, (It’s) one of the greatest joys of the Camino – seeing things from a different perspective. And it will be unique for everyone. It allows you the time to mix with and understand different cultures and lends you the space – and time – to get lost inside your own head. It’s a special journey and one that everyone should take.

14. PAY IT FORWARD

Practising acts of selfless kindness have the amazing ability of making us feel worthy of our place in this world and of course, have a positive effect on someone else’s life. There are a myriad charity and volunteer organisations in Cape Town, where your help would go a long way. An organisation that has been doing wonderful work all over the world for decades is Habitat for Humanity. While they are most well-known for their work in construction or home building, you could also get involved by helping plant a community vegetable garden in an impoverished community or simply make a donation to their worthy cause.

15. SPEND REAL QUALITY TIME WITH LOVED ONES

Make time for your loved ones, whether it be family or friends. A great place for this is the Urban Park. Pack a picnic basket and head out and enjoy nature and nurture your soul with great conversations. Find out what’s going on in their lives and really make an effort to be present in the conversations. Put the phones away and simply enjoy some time with your nearest and dearest. You can also walk about the park and learn more about the plants in the area and the significance of all of it.

16. TAKE SOME ALONE TIME AND READ

There are many great spaces and places to get in some me-time with a good book in Cape Town. If you want time in the great outdoors, then the Company’s Garden or a local beach is a good option. If you prefer indoor reading, the Book Lounge in the city centre has a few spots where you can kick back and relax and submerge yourself in a book.

EAT WELL

There is definitely a healthy eating movement on the go in Cape Town at the moment. As a result, there are many fantastic healthy food spots in Cape Town.

17. SEXY FOOD

Based at the top of Bree Street, Sexy Food is fairly new in Cape Town and offers up organic meals that are good for your body and metabolism.

18. LITTLE SAINT

This Bree Street establishment serves unprocessed and uncomplicated food. Everything is organic and locally sourced.

19. RAW & ROXY

For those who love vegan food, Raw & Roxy offers raw vegan food. Choose between salads, freshly squeezed juice, vegan patisserie and more.

20. PLANT

A vegan and vegetarian eatery, Plant is a restaurant and juice bar that makes delicious meals and sweet treats that are plant based and with ingredients that are kind to the environment and your body.

21. MARKETS

Ok, so not all the food at the various markets around Cape Town are always healthy, but most food market vendors encourage organic living and the local sourcing of products. Here’s a handy list.

22. NU HEALTH FOOD CAFÉ

The perfect spot if you’re in the Green Point area and in the mood for something healthy and refreshing. Nu’s (https://www.facebook.com/Nufood/?fref=ts) menu is filled with local produce that is free of additives, GMOs and MSG. They serve up breakfasts, salads, wraps, 100% juice, green blends and so much more!

23. COLD PRESS

For great natural juice that is cold pressed from fruits and vegetables, visit Cold Press in Green Point. Cold press uses a hydraulic juicer that keeps the juice as nutrient rich as possible. The juices are fresh and delicious and really good for you.

24. CRUSH

In the heart of the CBD is Crush. This quaint establishment offers a variety of meals to suit various diets. There is everything form raw foods to gluten free to vegetarian and vegan. There is also an extensive menu for superfood smoothies and health juices.

25. WELLNESS WAREHOUSE

Having started out as a health food shop, Wellness Warehouse now has a café at some of the branches around the city. At the café you can buy delicious healthy meals and drinks that are rich in vitamins and nutrition.

26. KAUAI

Kauai recently underwent a change of ownership and a change of menu. And what you get is healthier than ever. From super oats for breakfast to amazing raw salads, there is a great variety of healthy foods on the menu.

27. ORGANIC ZONE

Located in Lakeside Organic Zone is where you can get locally grown organic products. Sit down for a healthy meal that is delicious as well as healthy.

28. SUPERFOOD SMOOTHIE BAR

Everything is gluten-free, sugar-free and dairy-free. The Superfood Smoothie Bar can only be found at the Oranjezicht City Farm Market Day on Saturday mornings at Granger Bay at the V&A Waterfront. It’s a great way to start a Saturday!

29. HARVEST OF HOPE

Harvest of Hope delivers freshly packed, organic vegetables from township gardens. Seasonal, fresh, weekly basket to enjoy with your family while you support sustainable “micro farms” run by various communities.

BE FIT, ACTIVE AND GET MOVING

The ultimate way to counter those calories when indulging in some amazing Cape Town cuisine and wine, is to stay (or get) fit and active. And the best news? Most of these activities won’t cost you a cent!

30. LACE UP AND GO RUNNING

What’s brilliant about running is that you only need one thing: proper shoes. Lace them up, find a route and get out – no excuses. You can either tackle the tar road, go off the beaten track with a trail run, or do a guided sightseeing run with Run Cape Town. Some of the local’s favourite routes include the Sea Point promenade, the strip along Blouberg, Strand, and all along the Atlantic Ocean roads. Don’t miss the 5km free Park Runs (http://www.parkrun.co.za/) every Saturday at 8am.

31. GET ON YOUR SADDLE

With spectacular scenery and mountain terrains, Cape Town is a playground for both road cycling and mountain biking. The most popular road route is probably the coastal stretch between Chapmans Peak and Camps Bay, forming part of the strenuous annual Cape Town Cycle Tour. If you prefer getting down and dirty, Cape Town boasts many mountain biking routes – from Deer Park, to Tokai forest and the winelands in Durbanville. Click here for 5 amazing mountain biking trails.

32. TAKE ON THE MOUNTAINS WITH A HIKE

Cape Town is the hiker’s dream city with plenty of well-trodden and easily navigable hiking trails in the surrounding mountains. Linking two iconic landmarks, Table Mountain and Cape Point, is the epic overnight Hoerikwaggo Trail. For a shorter hike, locals just love taking on Lion’s Head early in the morning, or at night during full moon. If you’re fit enough, why not go all the way to the top of Table Mountain via the Platteklip Gorge or Devil’s Peak? Head to Somerset West to the Helderberg Nature Reserve to hike routes known mainly to locals of the area.

33. GET YOUR ZEN ON WITH YOGA CLASSES

If you’re not that keen on getting your heartrate up, there are plenty of fantastic Yoga and Pilates studios to help you connect with your inner self and build your core muscles.To breathe in some fresh air, try one of the outdoor classes at the V&A Waterfront. Or why not choose a setting of your choice with The Om Revolution mobile yoga. They have a 9am Saturday morning class in the Company’s Garden caters for all ages and fitness levels and costs a mere R40.

34. LIKE A FISH IN WATER

Whether you are like a torpedo wanting to do laps in the water, or just like cooling off, swimming is a great full body exercise. Cape Town has more than 70 amazing beaches and loads of swimming pools where you can get your H2O fix. The most popular ones include the Sea Point public swimming pools, the Newlands public swimming pools and the Long Street baths.

35. TAMING THE SEAS BY KAYAK

Sea kayaking in Cape Town is a year-round activity that can be enjoyed by reasonably fit people of all ages. You can either go on a guided excursion, or go for some training and rent a kayak. The best places to launch are either from Three Anchor Bay close to the Sea Point Promenade, or Simon’s Town. As a bonus, to reward your hard work of course, you might just see penguins, cormorants, gulls, oystercatchers, and fish as you row along.

36. SURFING SOME EPIC WAVES

Probably the coolest way to tone your muscles and work up a sweat, is standing on (and falling off) a surf board. The good news is that Cape Town and its surrounding coastline is home to world-class surf spots, offering something for every level. If you’re visiting you can rent a wetsuit and a board of your choice from a surf school at popular beaches like Muizenberg and Blouberg – and Bob’s your uncle. Click here for more info on surfing in the mother city.

37. FREE OUTDOOR GYM

What’s better than getting something for free? Well, being sexier afterwards. Both the Sea Point Promenade and the Green Point Urban Park have been outfitted with outdoor gyms that are completely free and open to the public 24/7. The experience is refreshing, with everyone from pram-pushing mamas to shredded fitness freaks and goofy kids enjoying the area in the sunlight. Being located in an area overflowing with trees, manicured lawns, birds, plants and supremely healthy people doing yoga, you’ll be sweating in a completely environmentally friendly manner which is good for the soul.

38. STAND UP AND PADDLE

Stand-up paddle boarding (SUP) is one of the fastest growing water sports in the world and it is quickly taking hold in South Africa, not only as a sport, but as a fitness-orientated pastime as well. Like surfing, part of the draw is the physical element, without it ever feeling like a workout. But unlike surfing, it doesn’t take very long to get to grips with the basics.

39. GROUP EXERCISE CLASSES

The best way of staying motivated is to exercise with a group of people, who will basically check you out (and secretly judge you), when you slack. Cape Town has a huge variety of organised classes, from aerobics, kick-boxing, Zumba dancing, bosu, boot camp and weight lifting. Some of the most popular classes is Adventure Boot Camp where women do fun exercise’s in an outdoor environment, Sweat 1000 where your aim is to burn 1000 calories in 60 minutes, and CrossFit where you focus on strength and fitness whilst using your own body weight.

BE A MORE CONSCIOUS TRAVELLER

We all love to travel and see new places. Here are a few ways to be more responsible while travelling.

40. STAY AT AN ECO-CONSCIOUS ESTABLISHMENT

Hotels, guest houses and B&Bs are being encouraged to be more environmentally friendly these days. Research your accommodation beforehand to see what has been implemented to ensure a smaller carbon footprint. In case you’re wondering, the greenest hotel in Cape Town is Hotel Verde. This hotel is doing amazing things and has won numerous awards as a result of its eco-conscious way of life.

41. RE-USE YOUR TOWELS

We know that having a fresh towel in your hotel room every day feels nice, but do you know how much water is used to wash all the towels at a hotel? Too much. Re-use your towel for two to three days if possible.

42. BUY LOCAL

When you’re in a destination, find out where the local traders sell from and buy directly from them. This way, you’re supporting the man or woman on the ground and putting money directly into their pockets or into the local areas. In Cape Town, you can find amazing local traders at the Watershed at the V&A, on Greenmarket Square and at the various markets around the city.

43. TRAVEL OVERLAND (LONG-DISTANCE) OR WALK (SHORT-DISTANCE)

We know that the distances between some places may seem far, but it doesn’t always require a flight to get from one place to the next. For example, if you’re coming to Cape Town from another part of SA, why not come by car or bus or train? It’s not only better for the environment, but it’s fun too! This way you also get to see more of this amazing country before reaching the best city in the world. Once here, see how far your place of interest is from where you’re staying and walk if it’s not too far instead of taking a cab or a bus.

44. RENT A BIKE TO SIGHT-SEE

There are many bike rental companies in Cape Town. This is a great way to see the city. Many of these companies have tour guides who will go with you to show you around.

45. DO SOME VOLUNTEER WORK

There are many organisations in Cape Town that need more hands to get all the work done. While visiting this amazing city, research some of these and volunteer some of your time to help out. It’s a great way of giving back, but it’s also a good opportunity to meet some of the locals.

46.  MINIMISE YOUR WASTE

If you can’t find a bin, take your litter with you until you are able to dispose of it properly. Also, if you have recyclable goods to throw away, hold on to it until you find suitable recycle bins. Another tip – in Cape Town the shops use plastic bags. Instead of buying a bag, rather put your goods in your backpack, a re-usable bag or carry in in your own two hands if it’s not too much.

47. BE RESPONSIBLE ABOUT GIVING TO THE LESS FORTUNATE

We all want to help the less fortunate. In Cape Town, you can donate to various night shelters to help give a bed to someone in need or support buy a copy of the Big Issue. This non-profit organisation creates jobs for those in need and offers various training programmes too. When you buy a copy from a Big Issue vendor, the money goes straight to them.Pick n Pay has an initiative called the Broccoli Project where you can buy food vouchers for the less fortunate. These vouchers can only be used on food and not on tobacco or alcohol products. You can also support the Give Responsiblyinitiative that gives money to various organisations in Cape Town who help the under privileged.

48. USE A LOCAL GUIDE

Find a local accredited guide who’s possibly from the area that you would like to visit. Not only will they be able to give you an in-depth knowledge of the area, but you will be supporting them and their families directly.

49. LEARN THE LOCAL CULTURE

Locals love it when you engage with them. Ask questions and take a genuine interest in the person that you are talking to. Learn some local words and try to use it in conversation with them.

50. EDUCATE OTHER TRAVELLERS

If you know of someone who’s about to visit Cape Town and you have just been, please share your experience with them and tell them how they can be more responsible travellers.