Your trip to Cape Town would not be complete without hiking Lion’s Head. It is a spectacular hike to the top (669 meters or 2,195 ft above sea level) and although it can be quite steep sometimes, the breathtaking 360⁰ view of Cape Town is definitely worth the effort.
Lion’s Head is a part of the Table Mountain National Park. In the 17th century the peak was known as Lion’s Head by the Dutch, and Signal Hill was known as Lion’s Tail, as the shape resembles a crouching lion or a sphinx.
This are the top 5 things you should know before hiking it:
- Why should you go there?
- What to bring
- Location and opening hours
1. Why should you go there?
Hiking up Lion’s Head is doable for everyone independent of the expertise level. It is rated as an A+ hike if you choose the easy route. But if you are more adventurous there is the possibility to hike a more challenging route with ladders and chains.
The whole way up and down Lion’s Head takes about 1.5 hours. Because of this short time, it is perfect for a quick hike during the week.
The route up to Lions Head spirals around the mountain. So every time you look up you will see a different section of Cape Town.
The top offers you stunning views in all directions: the city bowl, the twelve Apostles, the Camps Bay, Signal Hill and Table Mountain.
a. The beginning
The start of Lion’s Head hiking path is clearly marked, in front of it there is the parking lot and also a coffee shop so just park your car, have some coffee or a snack (if you go there very early) and start the hike.
b. Steep walking
It starts easy with a bride gravel way that spirals around Lion’s Head and provides you with the best warm-up (it is easy to walk although it is very steep so prepare yourself to feel your legs working). Table Mountain will be on your left.
c. Wood stairs
As you go up the trail gets more narrow and steep and some stairs will cross your way.
d. The views
Now you will be able to see the marvelous 12 Apostles emerge in the distance and the beautiful beaches of Clifton and Camps Bay. As you walk by you will also see Signal Hill.
e. Rocky trail
The trail becomes more and more rocky, be prepared to use your hands to help yourself climb through the rocks.
f. Chains and ladders
Also, you will have to climb metal ladders and pass through chains. This initial ladders and chains are very easy because the way is not very steep.
g. Two paths
You will reach a spot where you can decide if you want to take the challenging way with rungs, ladders and chains or the easier way which lasts about 5 minutes longer.
h. The final way
Finally, you’ll be able to see the top of Lion’s Head. The path will be rocky and steep, but you’ll be motivated to get to the top!
i. The top
The top of Lion’s Head is amazing! the views are incredible and there’s enough area to hang out with friends and make a picnic.
3. What to bring
- Hiking Gear: Make sure to bring good hiking gear for the walk, such as good hiking boots and caps for the sun.
- Sunblock: The sun can get very hot on top of the hills, so make sure to bring a lot of sunblock. Also if you tend to burn fast, it is advisable to wear shirts with long sleeves and/or caps.
- Water: Water is a must to keep hydrated during the trip! Make sure to bring lots of it as it can get very hot.
- Food: you can make a picnic at the top of Lion’s Head, bring some snacks/food in your backpack and enjoy the views. There’s a coffee shop at the entrance also.
- Garbage bag: make sure to bring enough bags to prevent littering.
- Camera/Video Equipment: The breathtaking views are asking to be shot! Don’t forget to bring good cameras to film the nature’s beauty.
- Pets: dogs are allowed but keep in mind that they will only be able to reach the first parts of the trail because it gets very steep.
4. Location and opening hours
Where is it located?
Lion’s Head is a part of the Table Mountain National Park and lies between Signal Hill and Table Mountain.
It is very close to the city center of Cape Town which makes it perfect for a quick escape into the nature.
You can easily reach it by car and there is a parking spot that is on Signal Hill Road.
How to get there?
- By Bus: you can buy a MyCity bus card and you’ll be able to get there in around 15 minutes from the city center. You should go down in “Kloof Nek” bus stop.
- By UBER/Taxifi: you’ll take 10 minutes from Cape Town’s City Center. UBER cost is around $40 ZAR = $3.30 USD
Opening hours and entrance Fees
- Opening hours: Always open
- Entrance Fees: Free entrance
Grab a good camera/smartphone before hiking
Hiking up Lion’s Head was amazing, the views are stunning and you will have a perfect overview of the whole Cape Town to make amazing pictures.
Hike even if you are an amateur
If you are fit and like challenging yourself, you should take the hard route and you will be very proud when you reach the stop. But there are also a lot of benches on the way to relax if you are not used to do exercise.
Beware of the wind
Based on my own experiences I can only recommend you not to do it with strong wind, I hiked it twice and one time it was dangerous because the wind was too strong at the top. You should have a look at the weather forecast before starting your hike, you can have a look at Windguru.cz
Watch the sunset
The views at the top mixed with the amazing colors of the sunset makes it the perfect place to go for sundown.
Go on a full moon hike
Lion’s Head is very famous for Full moon Hikes. You can enjoy the sunset on your way up and then see the full moon over the city. But make sure you take a light with you for the way down.
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