The UTCT (Cape Town Ultra Trail) is an international trail running competition that has taken place annually since 2014. It consists of four races – 21, 35, 65 and 100 kilometres (62.1 mi) that mostly take place in the iconic Table Mountain’s nature reserve which overlooks the city of Cape Town. This iconic mountain is not just a pile of rocks overlooking a bay, it’s also a protected National Park, world-renowned for its unique biodiversity and wildlife species endemic to South Africa.
The longest event, the 100-kilometre (62.1 mi) course, starts and finishes in downtown Cape Town.
South Africa is my adopted country. I lived there as an exchange student between 2004 and 2005. In November 2020 (at the same time as Omicron!) I decided to return to participate in the 35-kilometres (21.7 mi) distance of this legendary race. Outside of the race, I explored the surroundings, meaning I ran almost the entire 100-kilometre course by the end.
The landscapes are great, as long as the weather is on your side. Be careful, as it can change very quickly. You go through all the seasons in record time. Take clothes for wind, rain, cold and sunny conditions.
I have divided this trail into three stages, which makes it accessible to reasonably well-trained runners. The course has a total elevation gain of just over 4,000 metres (13,123 ft), with two major climbs in the first 50 kilometres (31 mi): Table Mountain and Karbonkelberg.
I strongly advise you never to run alone. Don't leave too early in the morning, and be back before sunset to avoid any bad encounters.
South Africa is known for its rich biodiversity, both in terms of fauna and flora. But, there are also several species of poisonous snakes. You should also stay away from the ‘blister bush’ plant which can cause a severe skin reaction. If you accidentally touch this plant, protect the exposed area from light to limit the reaction.
The medical emergency number is 10177, and the police number is 10111. There is also a mobile app that can be useful in case of any problem: mysos.co.za/app_HowItWorks.php
You need an access permit to go through the Orange Kloof protected natural area on the second stage of the trail. Call +27 (0)21 6894441 at least two weeks in advance to get your permit.
You set off from the Gardens Rugby Club in Oranjezicht district. The first and second stage both end in Constantia Nek where you can easily find accommodation. To get around, I recommend using Uber, which works very well throughout the Cape Town area.
Have a good run!
Ready to get going? Create and customize your own version of this adventure using the full Tour below as a template.
The race begins with an ascent to Signal Hill and around Lions Head, two small “bumps” that are major landmarks in the Cape Town cityscape and which already offer magnificent views of the entire bay, the Atlantic Ocean and the mountain. of the 12 apostles.
Then you tackle the legendary Table Mountain…
This second step actually forms a loop. The first fifteen kilometers of the route through Orangekloof are relatively flat. Orange Kloof is a beautiful protected area and you will need a permit to access it. This area is protected because of the Afromotane forest, vital for the protection of the diversity…
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This third and final stage is shorter than the previous ones, and also has a lower vertical drop. You start the day through the prestigious vineyards of Constantia.
You climb through the technical sections of the Cecilia and Newlands Forests, which is followed by a steep descent to the University of Cape…
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