CapeTownMagazine.com

All You Need To Know About Climbing Lion’s Head

We'll get through this. CapeTownTogether
Follow our social channels for useful news,
daily local champions + find moments of joy
 
+27(0)72 350 2062
Ideas Cartel - 113 Loop Street
www.capetownmagazine.com/subscribe
CapeTownMag
CapeTownMagazine.com
capetownmag

All You Need To Know About Climbing Lion’s Head

Picture-perfect views, exquisite flora, full moon night hikes

Are you really a Capetonian if you’ve never stood at the top of the iconic Lion’s Head peak, with its panoramic city views? 

On a clear day, you’ll see picture-perfect views of Table Mountain, Camps Bay, The 12 Apostles Mountain Range, Camps Bay and Clifton beaches, Signal Hill, Robben Island, and the city. There are different routes, all with the option to summit, or to circle the mountain without reaching the top, making it suitable for a variety of ages and fitness levels.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE YOU START
Hikers are encouraged to adhere to the following regulations imposed by the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) and SANParks to avoid possible re-closure of the summit. Rangers will be checking that people are compliant with Covid-19 regulations. Here are the rules you need to follow:

  • Keep a distance of 1.5m from other hikers at all times. 
  • Wear your mask at all times.
  • Sanitise your hands before and after making use of the staples/ladder and chains.
  • Picnicking and gathering in social groups is not allowed.
  • Limitations on the number of hikers may be imposed by the sergeant ranger’s if necessary.

MANY ROUTES FOR EVERYONE, FROM BEGINNER TO MODERATE
The hike takes roughly 1.5 to 2.5 hours up and down, depending on your level of fitness and how long you spend up top. The main routes start from the parking area on Signal Hill Road.

The popular clockwise route starts up the Jeep track. It spirals up, offering constantly changing views: Camps Bay, Table Mountain, Twelve Apostles, and the City Bowl. There are benches along the path where you can take a break and admire the view. You’ll pass the green netting-covered area where paragliders launch just before the path narrows into a path with stone steps veering right and uphill. If you prefer to avoid hiking uphill, look out for the sign-posted path veering left which takes you all the way around the mountain in the direction of the kramat without summiting. 

If you like a bit of a challenge, stick to the main path which curves around the mountain before reaching a series of ladders and chains to help you scramble to the top. As an alternative to the chains and ladders, you can follow a sign-posted path that skips the climbing: it’s a better choice if you struggle with heights, but there is still a bit of scrambling to get to the top. 

At the top, you can take a breather to enjoy the scenery and take photos. The summit has a partially concreted surface so you can walk around and appreciate the 360-degree views. 

There is a second, less popular route, too. From the base, it circles anti-clockwise, passing a kramat that was erected in remembrance of two apartheid-era religious leaders. It then joins the main route to the top, or you can follow it all the way around back to where you started. 

FLORA THAT YOU WON’T FIND ANYWHERE ELSE ON EARTH
Lion’s Head forms part of Table Mountain National Park, and hosts a stunning array of endemic flora. Keep an eye out for the silver trees, mainly growing on the bottom half of Lion’s Head. The silvery sheen that earned this plant its name comes from the tiny hairs that cover the leaves. This species is unique to the Cape Peninsula. Right on top of the summit you can see Peninsula Sandstone fynbos, an ecosystem which is only found there and at Cape Point.

A lot of vegetation is renosterveld, which translates to “rhino bush”. It is largely made up of a species of grey-hued plant which is a dull grey colour, almost the same colour as a rhino's hide. Look for other vegetation such as orchids, hyacinths, irises and amaryllis species especially around the base in the spring months. 

PLANNING YOUR HIKE AND STAYING SAFE
You don’t need a permit to climb Lion’s Head, and there is no entrance fee. It’s a good idea to stick to popular hiking times, which includes all daylight hours, and at night during the full moon. Dogs are permitted on leashes. Mountain biking is not permitted on Lion’s Head: there is a R500 fine. 

There are a few things you should do to stay safe on the hike. Hike in a group, and make sure you take a charged phone and enough water. It’s always a good idea to notify a friend or family member that you’re hiking, and when you expect to be back, especially as reception is spotty in parts of the hike. Save the Table Mountain National Park emergency number, +27(0)86 110 6417. The 24-hour emergency number to report fires is +27(0)861 106 417. 

FULL MOON, NIGHT HIKES DATES
Regardless of the season, every full moon, and the nights before and after, Lion’s Head literally lights up with hikers. It’s become a Cape Town institution for hikers to set off in the early evening, reach the summit in time to watch the sunset, and head down by moonlight. It’s a fun, social and relatively safe experience. A headlamp is essential, and bring something warm.  

FULL MOON DATES 2020
October 1, 2020
October 31, 2020
November 30, 2020
December 30, 2020

WHAT TO BRING 

  • Your mask and sanitiser: Stay safe and stick to Covid-19 regulations.
  • Something warm: The walk up might be hot, but once the wind picks up or the sun sets, it can become chilly.
  • Sun protection: There’s hardly any shade so make sure to bring your hats, sunglasses and sunblock.
  • Hiking shoes: There’s some climbing near the summit, so wear shoes with good grip.
  • Water and snacks.
  • Camera: The panoramic views are incredible.
  • Flashlight and headlamp: Don’t bank on the moon’s light to get down so bring a flashlight.

---

(Re)discover the iconic beauty of Table Mountain.

Enjoy flower season at the West Coast National Park

As the city gradually wakes up, there are more and more things to do this weekend. 

Get out of the city on one of five stunning day trips.

---

Use our events section for an up-to-date overview of what’s happening in the city, ‘burbs and dorpies. Join our newsletter and get quick access on the go by adding us to your mobile home screen for the ultimate guide to discoveries in Cape Town.


Follow and like us on TwitterFacebookLinkedInInstagramPinterest for updates.

Cape Town Events Calendar
September 2020
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

virtual_garden3Discover the McGregor Magic Virtual ...

Explore South Africa’s amazing biodiversity without leaving home

African eagle day toursE-bike your way in and around ...

E-bike between vineyards with stops for wine, cheese, and chocolate truffles

africamps7AfriCamps: Discover South Africa with ...

From the pet-friendly Stanford Hills to a camp located on a large fishing dam in Limpopo

Watershed 2Known favourites and new discoveries at ...

825 square-meters of the best in African art, craft, design, and now beauty

robin_hoodLunch is sorted at Robin Hood Burger ...

Robin Hood in Kloof Street has basket lunch deals every day

The grill father The Grillfather is back with a hearty ...

Enjoy their 2.8kg pure beef patty and backyard braai vibes

spring_2Bradwell Spring: Vredehoek’s fresh ...

It’s the second formalised spring water collection point built by the City

spring_1Newlands Spring: Cape Town’s ...

Rules are in place to ensure everyone’s safety

Beerhouse beer yogaJoin a beer-centric yoga class with ...

A beginner’s yoga class centred around the joys of drinking beer

DJ Ready DLive stream SA’s top turntablist with ...

Start your weekend off with some easy grooves and party bangers with DJ Ready D

VW BARONS 2Barons Cape Town VW is open to the ...

Quicker services and courtesy cars for essential workers

Om RevolutionSlow flow mobile yoga with Om Revolution

You don’t have to go to a yoga studio to stay active

Pierneef food and wine pairing 2Food and Wine Pairing at La Motte

Discover a match made in the divine tasting room of this Franschhoek Estate

Heritage Day Join the Heritage Challenge and win ...

Win daily Table Mountain trips, a Tru-Cape hamper, Shimansky diamond ring, and Western ...

WeatherGiveawaysTravel Tips