5 Things to know before hiking up Lions Head
Lions head is one of the most popular hiking routes ( if not the most ) in Cape Town. Its a hot spot for tourists and locals alike and a daily challenge for trail runners. The sunset and sunrise hikes are almost something like an institution in Cape Town and plenty of photographers and instagrammers can be seen getting that perfect shot at those times of day.
Lions head isn’t as easy as you might think so come prepared
By the amount of people I have seen going up lions in in slops, jeans or dresses I take it that a lot of first timers think its an easy hike. It takes about an hour to get to the top if you take it really easy but usually less if you know the route. There are however, lose rocks, places that you have to scramble and scorpions that love coming out on warm summer evenings. It’s not a stroll to a view point if you know what I am getting at.
Hiking shoes and comfortable clothes are a must and always take something warm as the weather can change in an instant in Cape Town. Bring water, always, but do not leave your plastic or anything else on the mountain. Also if you are planning on doing the sunset hike take a headlamp with, you dont want to be stuck walking down in the dark or trying to use your cellphone for light.
Lions head gets really busy on full moon
Watching the full moon rise from the top of Lions Head is something really special. Its become quite an event lately though so if you want to take part I suggest you head up really really early to secure a good spot and be prepared for a slow walk down.
There are a few ways to hike up Lions Head
If you have heard about the chains on Lions Head and you are a bit freaked out ( they are not that bad btw ) or you just don’t feel like doing that route there is a slightly longer one that goes around and misses the chains. There are also two ways to get onto the main path, the one curves around to the Camps Bay side with the jeep track ( suggested route ) and the other goes around the Clifton side first.
Check out more about these routes here.
One of the routes that is not in use at the moment is the popular Wally’s cave one. They are trying to regrow the vegetation near the path and the cave area is also pretty unsafe so please avoid going there as you can get a pretty hefty fine!
Lions head is a great place for a 360 view of Cape Town
If you want to see it all go to the top of Lions Head. You can get a great view of the city bowl stretching all the way to the beautiful Waterfront and Table bay. Walk a little bit further and all of Sea Point will appear and the beautiful turquoise water of Clifton merging into Camps Bay and the coastal road with the most incredible view of the Twelve Apostles. Go up Table Mountain but most definitely hike up Lions Head or you will be missing out on one of the best views Cape Town has to offer.
Its also a great alternative when the cable car is closed and the wind is howling as a lot of Lions Head is sheltered from the dreaded South Easter. If you are lucky you might even see the pink clouds tumbling over from Table Mountain into Camps Bay at sunset.
Be safe and hike in a group
This should just be an overall life lesson but don’t hike alone if you do not know the area. If you have never been up Lions Head stick to hiking with a group or with someone that has been up before. If you don’t know anyone why don’t you check instagram for people that hike it frequently or even get a guide to take you up!
Photos by @thelawry