The rising sun was still glistening on the Atlantic ocean, the morning runners - myself included - were getting their daily fix, the dogs were out, the kids on holiday too and it suddenly seemed unusually crowded close to the public pools. There were police cars, extra security, and then the sound of ululating.
Being a regular visitor to Cape Town, especially over New Year (because that's when a traditional cricket Test is played), I am used to the extra traffic along this route but I had never seen it so heady. I purposefully slowed down, a little nervous that there had been a terrible accident and then saw some familiar faces.
Gordon Igesund. Siphiwe Tshabalala. Bernard Parker. Ithumeleng Khune. The fuss was for Bafana Bafana.
The squad held a training session on the beach and were leaving as I came past. Hundreds of people formed a human speed bump but their cheers did enough to propel me the rest of the way. Nothing unites this country like football, I thought. Nothing.
I was reminded of that again in the lead up to Bafana's first African Nations' Cup (ANC) warm-up against Norway. Cape Town rarely plays host to international football but when it does, it's done properly. The 2.4 kilometre long fan walk is a mass of yellow shirts, drummers, dressed-up characters on stilts and fire-dancers. The stadium is orderly, seat numbers are respected and the atmosphere raises hairs on arms.
Even though Bafana squandered chance after chance against the Scandinavians, they drew hysterical cries every time they touched the ball. The Zimbabwean song Shosholoza was belted out, the banners saying "there is Norway you're going to beat us" were there. I have covered both international cricket and rugby and neither gets the same response.
Dare I say, it was World Cup-esque. Bafana Bafana have enormous home support for this year's Nations' Cup event. Even though Cape Town is not an ANC host and the marketing in other cities has been lacking, expect the home team to be cheered at the five venues, which should produce plenty of fans for other teams too.
Only two match days will be held at the 94,000 seater calabash but they are probably the two most important ones. The tournament will open and close there as was the case during the 2010 World Cup.
Bafana Bafana begin their campaign for continental glory against Cape Verde ten days from now before Morocco play Angola in the other Group A fixture. If the hosts are back at the biggest stadium in the country on February 10 they would have exceeded all expectations.
That match will be hosted only eight days after a Red Hot Chilli Peppers concert so concerns are mounting over the state of the pitch rather than the teams that will compete there. The surface suffered after a Lady Gaga concert which was followed by a Soweto derby match.
Christened Soccer City for the World Cup, the venue has since been named the FNB Stadium due to sponsorship with a local bank but the corporate have relinquished rights for the tournament. So, for the duration of the ANC, it will be known as the National Stadium but feel free to call it by its original (and much more creative) title anyway.
Arguably the most beautiful of the World Cup stadiums, Moses Mabhida has not seen too much since the main event. Although local league matches are played there, they are often held in front of fairly empty stands, owing both to the relative unpopularity of the Kwa-Zulu Natal teams and the size of the venue. It was used as a cricket stadium in January 2011 when a twenty-over match between South Africa and India was played there followed by a Bollywood concert.
It is also the second home of the host team, because it is where Group A will be based. It will also host a quarter-final and a semi-final, confirming its status as one of the big three venues in the country. Durban is known as the most African of South Africa's cities so fairly strong support is expected perhaps particularly for Angola who could have a significant number of countrymen living there.
Having recently been given the premier rugby sevens tournament in the country and soon to be the hosts of a super rugby franchise, the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium has been well used compared to some of its counterparts. Also playing host to the ANC is a major coup for the Friendly City because it is often forgotten about when it comes to major events.
This time it will host the darlings of the continent, Ghana and Group B. Theirs is a pool that also contains Mali and the match between the two teams should decide who finishes top. Port Elizabeth also gets the "kiss-your-sister" third-place playoff. Advertising is evident in the city though, with a marketing strategy taken seriously as it hopes to present itself as a serious contender for big sports tournaments.
After only hosting four fairly insignificant World Cup matches (one of which was Italy against New Zealand though), this is a massive step up for the Mbombela Stadium. Group C will play their matches there and with Zambia and Nigeria as part of it, there will be plenty of interest.
Ethiopia, who also have a significant expat community in South Africa also appear there, as do Burkina Faso. The other semi-final will be contested there as well. Nelspruit is best known for its proximity to the Kruger National Park and the event will be a chance to market the natural wonders of the country.
Talked about as one of South Africa's best facilities, the Royal Bafokeng Stadium will give the Ivory Coast the princely reception they would want. Group D will be headlined by them although Tunisia, Algeria and Togo all make it one of most competitive sections of the tournament. The competition does not extend further than the quarter-finals as far as this tournament goes but as no strangers to big sport, Rustenburg will not mind.