Cape Town is one of my favorite cities in the world. I’ve spent an outsized time in the Mother City and one of the first things I do when I’m in Cape Town is hit the gym for a good work out. Between hiking up Lion’s Head, drink amazing coffee at the plethora of cafes, or wine tasting at the most beautiful wineries in the world, a guy’s gotta work out to burn off all those calories.
If you’re a digital nomad looking to spend a few months in Cape Town, or are a new transplant to the city looking for a good workout, this post will list out all the gyms I’ve checked out in the city. This is by no means the comprehensive list of all gyms in Cape Town but merely the ones that I was keen to see.
For the purpose of this post, I will only focus on the larger fitness studios and more mainstream fitness options. There are many boutique style gyms in Cape Town for things like MMA, Yoga, HITT training, Crossfit, etc. There are too many of these boutique style gyms to list and they don’t really count as traditional gyms. In addition, there are a lot of smaller gyms that are dedicated to personal training. There’s a lot of money and plenty of inexperienced gym goers in Cape Town so this makes sense!
Note that these prices are all as of 2023: Expect rates to go up as years ago on.
Things to know about Gyms in Cape Town
There’s a lot of things to know about gyms in Cape Town so here are just a few of the things I picked up along the way.
Most gyms are concentrated around the city bowl and waterfront
Unsurprisingly, the majority of the gyms and almost all of the nice gyms in the city are located in and around the CBD. You’ll have plenty of smaller gyms all around but the majority of the bigger gyms will be in the city bowl and the waterfront. Camps Bay is a big void for gyms so if you live in one of the fancy houses in Camps Bay or Clifton, you’ll have to travel a distance to your nearest gym.
It’s simply a space issue as there isn’t enough space to put big gyms in Cape Town.
Discounts for longer membership length
Most of the gyms I visited offered discounts on membership based on the length of commitment. This isn’t really unique to Cape Town at all as it was the way of life in the gyms of Bali. For example, Virgin Active had a 1 month, 1 year, and 2 year plan. On the 2 year plan, the membership was about R1,000 cheaper for a 2y plan vs a 1y plan on a monthly basis.
Some of the gyms in Cape Town are crazy nice
I was truly blown away by some of the gyms in Cape Town. I’ve lived in Johannesburg before and went the gyms in Johannesburg also blew me away. The Amenities that some of the gyms offer are pretty crazy. Almost all of the Virgin Active gyms in Cape Town offer lap pools and the fancy Virgin Active Silo even has a full time shoe cleaner along with a full time person that irons shirts!
In addition, I really don’t think the prices in Cape Town are that unreasonable, especially if you have a plan with Discovery or Momentum which it seems like many South African professionals do.
There are many boutique style gyms in Cape Town
Cape Town is home to an insane amount of boutique gyms that are personal trainer forward. I’m not sure if I just never noticed these gyms in other cities but I’ve never seen so many gyms in a city that is meant for personal trainers + clients.
Ask your company about Corporate discounts
If you work for a good company in Cape Town, make sure to understand the discounts they offer at the gyms in the city. It’s very common for companies to offer either a stipend for you to use at the gym of your choice, or for them to partner up with certain gyms to offer better rates.
Sometimes, this could be half the monthly dues!
Virgin Active Silo
Without a doubt, the Virgin Active Classic gym at the Silo district is Cape Town’s premier gym. Like the Virgin Active Alice Lane gym in Johannesburg, you can expect the finest of the finest at the Virgin Active Silo in Cape Town.
The classic line of Virgin Active are their premium level gyms in South Africa with only 1 in Cape Town and one in Johannesburg. These gyms are also at the same level of the Virgin Active gyms in Singapore and the memberships are globally interchangeable.
The Virgin Active Silo is one of my favorite gyms in South Africa without a doubt. Located in the Waterfront district, this gym is new and offers 3,900 sqm of space. The gym spans two levels with the bottom level home to the pool, workout classrooms, the lounge area, and the cafe/smoothie bar.
The upstairs is the main gym with a full section of free weights, numerous machines, treadmills, and a TRX area. While there is plenty of space to be had, it does get busy at peak hours.
The common area is one of my favorite things about this gym. There are plenty of tables, sofas, desks, and there is an even an outdoor patio fitted with more couches. This area is perfect if you want to relax after your workout, get some work done, or even take a nap. Not only can the Virgin Active Silo be your go to gym, but also a great home for a digital nomad style work space. Another reason why Cape Town is an amazing digital nomad hotspot.
Virgin Active Silo also has an onsite cafe/smoothie bar that serves amazing protein shakes, light meals, and coffee. The cost of protein shakes are R60-R80.
If you can afford it, Virgin Active Silo is definitely my gym of choice and the best gym you can find in Cape Town. If you’re working in South Africa and have Discovery, you can get a big discount on the membership (50% or so).
Price: R3,500 per month on a 12 month plan, R2,500 per month on a 2 year plan.
Virgin Active (Various locations in Cape Town)
If you don’t want to spend a crazy amount of money on a gym with Virgin Active Silo, don’t worry there are plenty of “other “regular” Virgin Active locations in Cape Town. Virgin Active is the biggest gym chain in South Africa and there are many locations in and around Cape Town.
Within Cape Town, the main Virgin locations are in Green Point, Foreshore, Wembley Square, and Century City. These locations, while not as “premium” as the Virgin Active Classic in the Silo district, still hold their own and will be more than enough for any gym goer.
Some of these locations like Foreshore and Wembley Square even have a lap pool which is great value for money.
Pricing for these locations start at R1,110 for single club access at a 12 month contract and R1,440 for a multi gym pass (that does not include the Silo).
Zone Fitness: Affordable Excellence
With multiple locations across Cape Town, Zone Fitness stands out for its commitment to providing excellence at an affordable price point. Modern exercise machines and spacious workout areas characterize each Zone Fitness location, ensuring that your fitness routine is both effective and enjoyable.
The affordability factor makes Zone Fitness an attractive option for a wide range of individuals. The knowledgeable staff adds a personal touch to your fitness journey, ready to assist with any questions and ensure a positive gym experience.
BUC Fitness Club
BUC Fitness Club takes a holistic approach to health and wellness, combining fitness facilities with spa amenities for a complete well-being experience. With various locations across Cape Town, this fitness club provides access to top-notch gym equipment alongside spa services, creating a harmonious balance between intense workouts and relaxation.
Trained and professional staff members at BUC Fitness Club ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. Membership often comes with additional perks, such as discounts on spa treatments or exclusive access to wellness events.
Price per month: R1,000 per month
Planet Fitness Signature
I went to the Planet Fitness Signature gym in Johannesburg for a few months before switching to the Virgin Active. There is also a premium level Planet Fitness gym in Cape Town. Although it’s not quite as nice as the one in Johannesburg, I think this is a solid option for anyone looking for a gym in the De Waterkant area.
Planet Fitness De Waterkant has plenty of machines and weights with ample space to do your workout. There is also a functional training area equipped with sleds and other interesting machines that I’ve not seen before. It doesn’t get that busy as I came here a few times during peak hours.
Price per month: R1,000 per month on a 24 month contract
If I am missing some solid gryms in Cape Town, please leave a comment and let everyone know!