CapeTownMagazine.com

The Full Moon Hike up Lion's Head in Cape Town

Unwrapping Cape Town with you.
Also engage with our other channels
to find something you don't want to miss.
 
www.capetownmagazine.com/subscribe
CapeTownMag
CapeTownMagazine.com
capetownmag

The Full Moon Hike up Lion's Head in Cape Town

The Mother City is quite beautiful by night, especially over a picnic on Lion’s Head under the full moon

In case you didn't know - Lion's Head is a mountain in Cape Town. At 669 metres above sea level it's just about high enough to see some cool views of Robben Island (where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 27 years), the Atlantic Seaboard and a windy stretch of beach called Blouberg on the other side of the bay. During the 17th century the British tried to call Lion’s Head the Sugar Loaf Mountain. Yes, just like the one in Brazil. The Dutch, however, felt that the mountain's shape resembled a crouching lion and eventually settled on Leeuwen Kop (Lion's Head).


The hour-long climb to the top is a popular Capetonian tradition during full moon, but we decided to dangle ourselves off the side of a cliff for two hours instead. Armed with trusty walking boots, a camera and a backpack containing one solitary bottle of wine (you never know when you might need it) I set off for a hike amongst the Silver Trees with a group of ten friends at 16:00 – giving us ample time to reach the summit before sunset.

As we emerged from our initially strenuous climb through the undergrowth our path levelled out onto an open space lined with indigenous fynbos and aerial views of Sea Point. Our view of the city changed constantly. Directly above Signal Hill we reached a sign for Lion's Head and with the famous peak in the background this provided an ideal photo opportunity. Our path began to climb towards the peak and became rockier. We passed a small cave where a small child had set up camp and refused to budge until I wickedly told him that the bear might be back soon.

'Good God' I thought as my fear of heights set in, ‘should I save myself or my bottle of wine?’

Suddenly, I found myself edging around a narrow ledge with nothing but my flimsy grip on a nearby rock to separate me from the far away forest floor. Although cave child couldn't get up there fast enough I was a little apprehensive as I saw fellow hikers scrambling up steel foot holds like it was no big deal. Using rocks and footholds I pulled myself up onto the first ledge before scaling the side of the mountain by holding onto a chain.

The last section before the summit saw us navigating an exposed ridge via steel ladders and my friend explained, "My life just flashed before my eyes". But by the time I'd climbed a few ladders and placed one tentative toe on a rock I was pleasantly surprised to find that the route was rather secure if approached slowly. As long as I didn't look down it was almost enjoyable. Part of the group carried on along the contour path to a point overlooking Camps Bay which leads to a shorter and easier rock scramble to the summit.

Lion's Head summit was as packed as the V&A Waterfront when hikers toasted the sunset

Crowds of friends sat dangling their feet over the edge of the mountain whilst tucking into picnic food. Aside from the fact that I was impressed with the way I'd scaled Lion's Head the panoramic views of the Mother City and its surrounding coastline were magnificent. We sat sipping a well-deserved glass of red and crunching nachos whilst the sun set over the distant Hottentots Holland mountains to the East in red and gold hues.  

The Mother City was wearing her best black dress and diamond earrings, just for us

Once the sun had set it was starting to get dark so we began our descent and I cautiously shimmied down on my rear end. We stopped briefly at the point overlooking Camps Bay to marvel at shimmering city lights. Many people had head lamps to identify loose rocks underfoot and on our way to back to the gravel jeep track that lead to Kloof Nek we saw fire flies flashing in the darkness – a rare and beautiful sight.

On this occasion there was one fundamental thing missing from our full moon hike. The moon had a prior engagement and decided to hide behind a cloud. The idea was to watch the full moon rising over a picnic and then follow the same path down by the light of the moon. Although I still had a fantastic experience, I did feel sorry for the American guy who lugged a telescope the size of a small planet up the side of the mountain just to look at that elusive moon.

Hiking Lion's Head at full moon is something that you have to do at least once. Whether or not you actually see the moon, the hike to the summit boasts spectacular views and there are routes to suit all levels of fitness. Once at the top the atmosphere is bustling as hikers eagerly await the sunset and the rise of the full moon. If by chance you ever forget it's a great way of reminding yourself why you chose to live in the Mother City.

By Lisa Nevitt

Hiking Lion's Head by day is just as stunning or Table Mountain might be on your list of mountains to scale.

Cape Town Events Calendar
September 2018
SUN MON TUE WED THU FRI SAT
1
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30

Art@Africa Gallery 2Celebrate 100% Madiba At This Art ...

Commemorate the life of a South African icon through the power of creativity

LaParada22End The Weekend Right: Sunday Funday ...

Round off the weekend by dancing the day away at La Parada Constantia Nek’s Sunday ...

LaParada20Two Hours of 2-For-1 Drink Specials ...

Two Hours of 2-For-1 Drink Specials with Happy Hour At La Parada

OX boat rides 125% Off: See The Marine Big 5 on an ...

Whales, dolphins, penguins, cape fur seals and mola mola (sunfish), an awesome boat trip ...

AfroFest 1Celebrate Africa and Cape Town, all its ...

Delve into African culture and heritage all over Cape Town this September

CT Food and Wine 1Here's Why About 4000 Capetonians Are ...

Two days of food, wine, friends and family at the Cape Town Food and Wine Festival

Xplore Tours CT Elephant Sanctuary 3Experience The Garden Route Like Never ...

Walk with giants, befriend an ostrich, brave the highest bungee and climb the Devil’s ...

Headquarters BarThe Best Sirloin Salad and Chips ...

#2For1 Mondays: get twice the sirloin, salad and chips at Headquarters for once the price

LGBTI Tennis 1Tennis For Togetherness

The 6th annual LGBTI Tennis Open is around the corner and it’s got the goods

Pilsner Urquell on tap at Cafe ExtrablattMonday Madness at Café Extrablatt

The international franchise is here to blow you away with this pizza deal every Monday

Roast and Co 2Half Price 'To Share' Plates PLUS ...

Every day “on your way”: Discover the coolest mugs and the half price to share plates!

Cape Culinary Tours Valentine's Day InclusionTake a Bite into History with Cape Town ...

Learn about Cape Town’s past while savouring local cuisine with these informative ...

AroundAboutCars 3 Get R100 Off Your Next Hired Car From ...

Quote “CapeTownMagazine” when booking a car through AroundAboutCars and get R100 off

Shakespeare In Love 2018It's Back: Shakespeare in Love Graces ...

Back by popular demand, this crowd-pleasing, popular show returns to The Fugard theatre ...

Villa 47 2Breakfast at Villa 47 and Spoil a ...

Italian breakfast with a friend, plus: two-and three-course lunch and dinner specials ...

The Grey Hotel Win1The Best Staycation Special In The ...

Special offer for you as a reader: 2 nights stay, rooftop drinks, tapas platter, wine and ...

danielasSample Daniela's Exotic Macaroons For ...

Salted caramel, purple surprise, ginger sesame, cinnamon milk tart and 20 more Parisian ...

SA IdolsAll the Times Capetonians Entertained ...

Though auditions for 2018 are closed, Cape Town did us proud during SA Idols Season 14

Le Bonheur 12Get a 20% Discount on Accommodation at ...

Le Bonheur Reptiles and Adventures offers patrons a 20% discount when they stay at this ...

Ubuntu Climbs 365 3How Many Hikes Up Table Mountain Does ...

A hike a day gets the funds raised. This guy is hiking Table Mountain every single day of ...

Cartel House 8Get a Co-Work Desk Discount Plus Free ...

Book your hot desk at this ultra-luxe Cape Town co-working space provider this Monday and ...

Sgt pepper live musicRam Jam Rock Parties at Sgt Pepper

The head-banging, guitar twanging rockin’ good times are back

WildFlower2Your 2018 Guide to Viewing the Spring ...

Don’t miss the chance to get up close and personal with South Africa’s budding ...

WeatherGiveawaysTravel Tips

Curious to make exciting discoveries in Cape Town every day? "LIKE" us for a daily hidden gem.