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WATCH: Got an axe to grind? Throw one instead

XOXO Urban Axe Throwing has opened in Cape Town. Picture: Supplied

XOXO Urban Axe Throwing has opened in Cape Town. Picture: Supplied

Published Dec 20, 2021


Cape Town - It was a sunny Sunday in a dodgy part of Salt River, and pulling up to XOXO Urban Axe Throwing at The Spice Yard on Voortrekker Road, I’d been playing over all the puns I may use in a review.

A wonderful axe-perience. Axe-cellent good fun. Trust me, I’m an axe-pert.

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I’d seen the video of Jason Momoa downing a beer, picking up a throwing axe and sending it hurtling towards a bullseye, and of course, my first primal thought was: “I want that.”

And now you too can channel your inner Aquaman (Axe-quaman?).

Fancy some out-of-the-box fun? Try axe throwing. Picture: Supplied

XOXO Urban Axe Throwing provides a safe environment to try something new. And it is, quite simply, one of the best ways to rid yourself of rage without getting into trouble.

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I’d sent my besties a message: “Wanna come throw axes with me?” The replies were the same: “Huh?!”

“Yes, you pick up an axe and you throw it. Simple.”

“But I don’t understand?”

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“What’s to understand? It’s the easiest thing – pick up an axe and throw it at a target.”

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Is it safe? Of course it’s safe. There’s a whole axe-master keeping an eye on things and making sure you don’t do anything stupid (bOyS wILl Be bOYs).

Patrick Reiss was really axe-cited (I’m sorry) to bring urban axe throwing to Cape Town. But, why?

“I think the first question is ’why not?’ I’d seen it in Bangkok, in Thailand, I looked it up online and saw it’s a massive trend in the US, it’s big in the UK, it’s coming up in Europe, and it doesn’t exist in Africa yet, so we thought let’s give it a try,” Reiss told IOL.

The throwing lanes are set in a quiet oasis in Salt River, with an artisanal rum distillery right next door and other businesses surrounding the quaint, chic courtyard just outside. Very Cape Town. Axe-tually (I can’t stop) there are plans to expand the trading hours of the surrounding businesses, with weekend slow markets and events under the stars.

Looking at this space, it could really work. There’s ample space, good security, and the cheers from throwers and bangs of the axes hitting their pine and ply targets would provide a great bed for the soundtrack of clinking glasses, merriment and enjoyment of good food and drink the way only Cape Town knows how to create and serve it.

Axe-master Simba Kakora gives a detailed safety briefing before each session. Picture: Supplied

Once axe-master Simba Kakora started throwing axes, he couldn’t get enough.

“I’d seen it a couple of times, but it wasn’t until he (Patrick Reiss) opened the place, that I got an appreciation for the sport – because it’s an actual sport – and I love it, because you get to release stress, you know what I’m saying? I mean, sometimes, you get upset and life gets you down, and you just have to throw an axe,” he chuckles. “Not at people, but at a board, in safe environment.”

As axe-master, Kakora says it’s safe and fun for everyone.

“Look, I wouldn’t recommend it for kids. But for everyone else, go for it! It is generally safe, so long as all the safety procedures are followed ... We have an indemnity form and there is a safety briefing and I keep an eye on everything and what everyone is doing to make sure they’re following the rules and having safe fun. Wear closed shoes with good grip, loose-fitting clothing so you can move your arms easily, and just go for it!”

The safety for children aspect is very important. As fun as it can be, these are proper precision tools with incredibly sharp blades, and the boards, when hit, can splinter pretty badly. This is why there is a safe recommended distance, caged-off lanes, energy-absorbing walls behind the targets, and flooring that prevents bouncing and any potential ricochets.

Axe master Simba Kakora helps with technique. Picture: Supplied

Where other axe-throwing lanes elsewhere in the world are rather agrarian, decorated with rough bales of hay, reminiscent of barn-based shindigs, XOXO is the polar opposite – chicly adorned with gold and bronze accoutrements, rich wooden furniture and a statement chesterfield couch adding warmth to the dark-charcoal-painted interior.

It’s a sophisticated den where you’d imagine one would retire with a Napoleonic brandy or Old Fashioned and a cigar to throw some axes, like friggin’ gentlemen.

The setting is axe-ceptional (please help) and it’s sure to show you a cracking good time.

Once your eye is in and throwing arm sufficiently warmed up, you can participate in a round-robin tournament against your fellow axe-throwers. Seven points for a bullseye, five for the next ring, three for the ring beyond and one point for the outermost ring – miss the rings and you get no points. Hit the target but the axe bounces off or fails to sit true, you get no points. Hit the wall, you get no points, but you’re sure to be ridiculed by your friends.

I made it to the semi-finals. Not bad for a noob.

IOL Editor-in-Chief Lance Witten tries his hand at axe throwing. Picture: Supplied
IOL Editor-in-Chief Lance Witten tries his hand at axe throwing. Picture: Supplied

Much like golf, where you let the club do the work, the momentum your arm creates allows the axe to do most of the labour, so you don’t even need that much force when throwing. In fact, throwing with too much force may cause your axe to go through too many rotations and hit the target butt first, which, ironically, will allow it to stick only when thrown with enough force.

All in all, it’s axe-ceptional (make it stop, I beg you) good fun. Visit XOXO for more details.


How would you like to take two of your friends along to axe-perience (I can stop any time I want, honest) an introductory axe-throwing lesson and mini-tournament? All you have to do is tell us what Simba says you should never do. Watch the video to find the answer.

Enter below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Please note:

  • Competition is only open to Cape Town readers
  • Prize is not redeemable for cash
  • The judges’ decision is final
  • Competition ends Dec 27, 2021

Related Topics:

Cape Town