Step outside your comfort zone this weekend in Cape Town

I read a quote the other day that said that life begins at the end of your comfort zone (or something like that). And while that sounds all philosophical and airy and zen, it actually makes a lot of sense. Sure, I get the appeal of an orderly daily routine – it can make you feel super productive, like you’re getting things done and winning at being an adult. But, I think we’re only really living when we open ourselves up to new and unexpected experiences – those things (even if you hate them, or find it difficult at first) that have you standing back and thinking, WOW I am lucky to be living this moment. This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to go bungy jump off your nearest bridge or swim with sharks or climb Kilimanjaro (but, like, you totally could). Making the effort to get out of your rut could be as simple and low-key as trying a new spot for brunch this weekend, and eating the Best Eggs Ben Ever.

Speaking of the siren call of brunch, that’s where I come in (obviously). I’ve made it my mission this year to try new things and move beyond my comfort zone, whether in my work experience, creative pursuits, outdoor adventure/fitness choices and personal life decisions. Point in case, a few weeks ago, I did a new hiking trail, a proper pilates class for the first time in ages and tried out yoga all in the same week. I know, madness. Living. On. The. Edge. And, now that I’ve taken on a full-time internship, that includes making the most of my weekends and going on new adventures (because I have zero chill). Just consider me your guardian angel of weekend plans – and not just hikes and brunch, promise.

Anyway, so if you (like me) start planning your weekend on Monday already and are always on the hunt for some inspo r.e. interesting activities, THEN LOOK NO FURTHER. Here are 9 new activities to try in and around Cape Town this weekend (which there’s a slight chance you might not have done already):

1. Hike the Sandy Bay shipwreck route

Okay so I know I literally just said this wouldn’t be a hike-and-brunch post, but I lied. Just a little bit, though. I mean, this wouldn’t be a “Things to do in Cape Town” post if it didn’t include some hikin’ and some brunchin’ (preferably on the same day).

The drive to Sandy Bay beach, where the shipwreck route starts, is one of the most scenic in Cape Town. The road hugs the coast from Camps Bay before descending into Llundudno where the hike begins and, with that endless expanse of beautiful blue twinkling ocean to your right, you’ll be hard-pressed to keep both eyes on the road en route. It’s a fairly easy trail (bar a 20-minute uphill slog on sand…we had to stop to “admire the view” many a time) that takes you along the edge of Sandy Bay beach and then up to a vantage point from which you can look over the wreckage of the Bos 400. Be prepared for some bare bums, though, because Sandy Bay is home to Cape Town’s favoured nudist beach.

For that highly necessary post-hike coffee and toastie, we headed back towards Camps Bay and popped in to Bootlegger in Bakoven. You could also pay a visit to the Bay Harbour Market in Hout Bay (and be completely and utterly overwhelmed – but in a good way – by the abundance of deeeeelish foodie choices).

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Stopping to take a breather and admire the view from the edge of a sand dune.
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If you’re hiking at this time of year, don’t forget to stop and look for whales.
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While that might look like Lion’s Head, it’s actually her (slightly smaller) twin, which slopes towards the boulders that dot the beach at Sandy Bay.

2. Cross over to “the other side” of Silvermine Nature Reserve

I’ve waxed lyrical about how much I love the Silvermine Dam to Elephant’s Eye hike in a previous post (which you can read about here). But, I recently crossed over to the opposite side of the Silvermine Nature Reserve to suss out whether the grass is as green over there hiking-wise (it is).

As you drive up and over Ou Kaapse Weg, instead of turning right at the first entrance for Silvermine Dam, continue for about 200 metres and turn left into the second entrance. From the parking lot, we took the 3-hour-ish predominantly-uphill trail to Steenberg Peak, where you can look out over Muizenberg and Kalk Bay, and admire the combination of mountains and oceans and cityscapes that Cape Town is so well-loved for.

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Looking back towards the more frequently visited side of the Silvermine Nature Reserve, where the Elephants Eye cave awaits.
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Precarious rock ledges make for the most eye-catching photos.
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As you climb towards Sternberg Peak, don’t forget to catch a glimpse of the blue waters of False Bay.

3. Eat all the brunch and cake at Pajamas + Jam Eatery

This gorgeous family-run eatery, which is housed in a large warehouse, has a soft and contemporary touch that stands in stark contrast to its industrial setting in Strand. It’s an hour drive out of Cape Town, but when fresh bread, delicious cakes, awesome coffee and juices and a menu full of creative dishes made from seasonal ingredients await, it’s well worth it. While the menu at Pajamas + Jam is always changing, one thing’s for sure and that’s that as you walk into this vast warehouse space, you’ll be greeted by a dessert table laid with gorgeous baked treats (where each type of cake has a name as unique as its combination of ingredients). I stood at that table for a good couple minutes just staring/drooling and questioning my life decisions (don’t judge me).

While you wait for your order, take a wander through the space to admire and discover all the antique trinkets that adorn the space (think bicycles, lampshades, books, suitcases and vases and everything in between) and that give it that rustic, homey charm.

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The prettiest yoghurt and wheat-free granola I ever did see.
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Each cake on the dessert table at Pajamas + Jam has a unique name, like Lady Granadilla, lady Brownie, Lady Emily and Lady Plum.
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Pajamas + Jam create dishes using fresh, seasonal ingredients so their menu is recreated frequently.

4. Get your art on at the Clay Café

If you’re really looking to bust out of a rut of weekend shenanigans centred on hiking, eating and partying, then head to the Clay Café in Hout Bay for a relaxing afternoon of creativity (and also possibly eating). Here you can pick a piece of pottery (like a mug or platter or novelty sculpture) and paint away any stresses from the week, while you sit out in the garden and wait for your lunch to arrive. Just be careful to dip your paint brush in the water jug, and not your own cup of coffee.

The Clay Café will fire and glaze your masterpiece for you, which you can then pick up three weeks later.

5. The Hart Breadhouse and Eatery

This little spot, in the quiet coastal village of Melkbosstrand, is one of my favourites on my side of the world (i.e. the Northern suburbs, outside of Cape Town’s CBD). So, I hope you are feeling #blessed that I’m sharing this with you.

I love the interior of Hart, with its botanical wall paper, jumble of mismatched chairs, exposed brick bar and shelves filled with freshly-baked loaves and deli-type treats. But, with the outside wooden deck that faces the beach, it still has that relaxed, unpretentious, surfer vibe synonymous with Melkbosstrand living. It’s homey, but still kinda trendy at the same time.

While Hart is my family’s go-to spot for fish and chips (because fish and chips should be eaten by the sea), we also go there regularly for a coffee date or a weekend lunch of burgers, wraps, salads and cheese platters, and we’ve been known to dabble in some sneaky sundowners out on the deck, too. Blessings on blessings on blessings (it’s a pleasure).

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It’s not difficult to guess why Hart is my family’s favourite for fish and chips.
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Aesthetic.
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Sneaky sundowners.

6. Rock climbing at Bloc 11

If you’re looking to stay active on a rainy, winter-y weekend, then head to Bloc 11 in the industrial zone of Paarden Eiland for a day of indoor rock climbing. Your arm and back muscles will feel the burn as you attempt to navigate and scramble up the walls, which cater for all levels of expertise.

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At Bloc 11 you’re able to rent proper shoes, which make for a more comfortable climb.
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Be prepared for the burn in your arms (and your hands) post-climb.

7. Walk some doggos/cuddle some cats at an animal shelter

Exercise your leggies and your goodwill and sign up as a volunteer dog-walker at TEARS Animal Rescue in Noordhoek – or any other animal rescue facility that grabs your fancy, really. It’s good for your physical health, good for the soul, and good for the doggos – everybody wins.

8. Take a walk and grab some soft serve ice cream along the Blouberg Promenade

Just when you thought the Sea Point promenade was the be-all and end-all of seaside walkies in Cape Town, let me introduce you to the Blouberg Promenade. Here you will be greeted by THE BEST VIEW OF TABLE MOUNTAIN IN THE WHOLE OF CAPE TOWN. No jokes. From Blouberg Beach, you can see the three peaks (Table Mountain, Devil’s Peak and Lion’s Head) in all their mountainous, momentous, iconic, panoramic glory. Okay, if you’re South African, I feel like you probably knew all this already, but I still think Blouberg’s beach front is one of the most beautiful, but underrated spots in Cape Town. Sure, it gets a little windy and frosty in winter but I love going for walks in that crisp, salty-fresh air. And, of course, it’s never too cold for some sneaky soft serve (my dad swears by the first van parked along the beach, if you’re coming from the direction of town).

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Even in winter, soft serve, Flake and a seaside setting are a classic combination (and yes, this is what “winter” looks like in Cape Town most of the time).

9. Locate your zen at a yoga class

I feel like I could write a whole blog post purely dedicated to how much I’m enjoying yoga at the moment (actually, I may still do that). I. LOOOOVE. IT. Anyway, a couple of my girlfriends do it quite regularly and they inspired me to get on the zen band wagon. I’ve been threatening to do it for the past year and now that I’ve finally done it, I’m totally addicted.

I attend classes at Yoga Life in De Waterkant area in Cape Town as per my friends’ recommendations. Here, they offer a week of free classes for Cape Town residents and free beginners’ classes on certain days, so you can give it a try before committing (which is exactly what I did, and I was hooked after 1 class). But, there are, of course, quite a few yoga studios in Cape Town (they offer classes at Bloc 11, too), it’s just a matter of finding one that works for you.

When I practise on a Friday especially, yoga really helps me sweat out any negative energy from the previous week, and kick off the weekend feeling rejuvenated and clear-headed. But, if you go in with an open mind and heart, you’ll find it’s an amazing form of exercise and stretching that can having you feeling so calm and inspired any day of the week. And, the more you practice, the better you’ll feel (I literally almost died at the end of my first class, but I feel like less of a potato each time I go).

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Out here looking like a tourist, but acting like a local (taking a morning walk overlooking the coast between Sea Point and Camps Bay).

Let me know if there’s something new you’ve recently given a go in and around Cape Town (foodie things, outdoorsy/fitness things, arty things etc etc etc). Like I said, I’m always on the hunt for inspo.

Until next time. xx

 

 

 

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