5 things you should know before hiking Lion’s Head in Cape Town

5 things you should know before hiking Lion’s Head in Cape Town

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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:

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.

2. Hiking Lion’s Head

a. The beginning of the trail

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.

Lions head - cape town - south africa

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.

Lions head - cape town - south africa

c. Wood stairs

As you go up the trail gets more narrow and steep and some stairs will cross your way.

Lions head - cape town - south africa

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.

Lions head - cape town - south africa

e. Rocky trail

The trail becomes more and more rocky, be prepared to use your hands to help yourself climb through the rocks.

Lions head - cape town - south africa

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.

Lions head - cape town - south africa

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!

Lions head - cape town - south africa

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.

Lions head - cape town - south africa

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 Lion’s Head 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.

Lions head map

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

5. Recommendations

a. 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.

b. 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.

Lions head - cape town - south africa

c. 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

Lions head - table mountain - cape town - south africa

d. 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.

e. 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.

f. Book a guided hike

If you don’t want to hike alone, join an experienced guide who will lead you to the top of Lion’s Head while explaining the history and culture of Cape Town. It’s a group tour so you will also be able to meet friends and have a good time.

You can book you Guided Lion’s Head hike HERE.

Signal Hill - lions head - Cape Town - south africa

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  1. Zine Nqose-Twaku
    13/01/2024 / 12:18 AM

    Interested to start hiking as a hobby. Been to Table Mountain many years ago. Also visited Signal hill on a new year’s day many years ago. Would like as a starter to try hiking.

  2. 23/02/2018 / 9:41 PM

    Beautiful places! I love the view. Will try to visit someday …may be next year, I already have a plan for this year.

  3. 21/02/2018 / 5:49 PM

    That is beautiful. I would do the Full Moon hike, it would be cooler and to get a beautiful view of the moon.

  4. Brenda Burns
    20/02/2018 / 7:50 PM

    This place looks absolutely amazing! What a great post!

  5. 20/02/2018 / 7:40 PM

    Such beautiful views and a great summary of an amazing place to live or visit.

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