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Friday, February 15, 2013

Eco-Tourism: Being a Tourist in Your Own City

I've always aspired to be "a tourist in my own city." At one stage, this aspiration included taking the classic red, double-decker bus for for a stroll around the Cape Peninsula. There is so much history to Cape Town that I unknowingly take for granted every day. Ignorantly walking along Adderley Street without understanding it's significance during the days of slave-trading, or glancing past Cape Town's oldest church nestled between two sky-rises that curved their architecture to ensure no damage was done to the historic building.

Well, my aspiration became a reality this week, but in a completely different way than I have ever imagined. I'm talking about EcoTourism and it's taking centre stage across cities all over the globe, including Cape Town. And I'm pretty stoked to be writing about too because it was physically demanding and informative at the same time. A great combination if you ask me!

Run Cape Town is an organization that was introduced to me last week. Here's what they have to offer according to their Facebook Fan Page (which I've linked to above):

"Run Cape Town offers personalised and individual guided running tours through the streets and neighbourhoods of Cape Town, with an accredited Western Cape Tourist Guide. We welcome anyone who would like to continue their usual training program, or who just wants to run for pleasure through the city streets: a dynamic, safe, healthy and fun way to explore this vibrant place."

Skeptical at what it could offer me, I decided to try it out. Here's a peek into our wonderful run this past Wednesday evening:
This was taken while running along the picturesque cobble-stoned  roads of the BoKaap (formerly known as the Malay Quarter). An area rich in history and known for its Cape Malay culture.

We ran in front of City Hall in Cape Town, the site of Nelson Mandela's first public speech after being released from prison on February 11, 1990.

Here we are learning about the significance of the Company Gardens, Jan Van Riebeeck and the Dutch East India Trading Company.

I highly recommend this service to anyone interested in running and exploring parts of a city you've never seen or understood. Give it a try in The Mother City by emailing Phillipa from "Run Cape Town" at

Up next...Cape Peninsula Marathon on Sunday, 17 February. 42 days until the Two Oceans Ultra Marathon and 107 days until "The Ultimate Human Race," the Comrades Ultra Marathon.

Happy running everyone! Keep your eye on the prize!

~Derek Van Dam~

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