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Lion's Head

The Pride of Cape Town
This is the view that you'll be treated to while climbing to the summit of Lion's Head in Cape Town, South Africa.

The ever-stunning Table Mountain is just to the left of this perspective and as you head up the climb, you'll soon be facing Robben Island in the distance with all of Cape Town down below.

Strict management by city authorities has kept development of housing off the higher ground of Signal Hill, leaving the great open spaces and hiking trails protected.

The Lion's Head hiking trail is eight miles round-trip and takes about three to four hours to complete (depending on your pace). Since it's a winding path which travels around the mountain, you have the unique opportunity to view every side of Cape Town, from above.

If you happen to be in town during the full moon, be sure to start hiking mid-afternoon and bring your headlamp and a packed dinner. You'll meet many a local honoring their monthly tradition of hiking up, eating their picnic dinner during sunset, and hiking back down in the full moonlight glow.

Climb Lion's Head in the moonlight
Lion's Head is a mountain in Cape Town between Table Mountain and Signal Hill. Lion's Head peaks at 669 metres (2,195 ft) above sea level. The peak forms part of a dramatic backdrop to the city of Cape Town.

It can be climbed during the day- it is a busy and popular climb or once a month under the full moon and starlight for some extra magic.

It starts off relatively steep as the path winds around the mountain- it is not a straight ascent. It is a walk that turns into a hike that turns into a challenging climb but the views are gorgeous and you can stop and turn around at any time, so even people with moderate fitness can manage the walk part (locals often take their dogs with!)

It's free and fun and gives you a wonderful perspective of the city glittering below either lit up by the sunshine or the moonlight.

If climbing in summer please remember that the African sun gets very hot, very quickly so you should start your climb by 7am. Remember to take with water, sunscreen and a hat as there is nowhere close by to purchase these items. At night you will need a warm jacket and torch and good climbing shoes.

The very fit can summit in 45 minutes but the average person may take between 75- 90 mins however it is best to go at your own pace and enjoy the spectacular view.

The 360 Degree View from Lion's Head
Camps Bay, from the peak of Lion's Head. Cape Town, South Africa.

Hiking/Climbing up Lions Head in Cape Town, South Africa
After moving to South Africa for a year following my Freshman year of college, I returned home with pictures, memories, and new friends. I had spent the year volunteering and working in the Guguletu township 20 minutes down the N2 highway outside of the city. In the final days of stay there I decided to make the climb up Lions Head Mountain, which runs adjacent to, but stands alone from, Table Mountain and the 12 Apostles (which are viewable in the picture). It was a hike that I had been looking to make but had been too busy too up until nearly my last day. Upon reaching the top I was met with what was undoubtedly the best view and scenery I have seen in my entire life. It left me speechless and in awe. It was a quick 30-40 minute hike but it would have be just as worth if it had taken 5 hours to reach. It is something that would without hesitation recommend that anyone who is able to, do at some point in their lifetime, because It is without question worth every penny, hour, and amount of stress it takes to get there.

Full Moon hike up Lion´s Head
Capetonians are pretty outdoorsy people and the full moon hike up Lion´s Head is a big summer-time tradition for a lot of locals. Pack a picnic dinner and start the hike about an hour or so before sunset (depending on your fitness levels and how fast you can climb!) and the aim is to reach the top of the mountain in time to watch the sun set in the west, followed shortly by the full moon´s ascent in the east. The 360 degree veiws from the top are breathtaking, but even if you don´t make it all the way to the summit there are many places where you can stop and watch the moon rising over the lights of Cape Town. Pack a flashlight to make the walk back down a bit easier, but the moon is usually bright enough that you wouldn´t need it.

Lions Head
Seen from Table Mountain

Lions Head
Take a hour out of your day and climb Lions head! You will experience spectacular views of Cape Town! Pack a breakfast picnic or enjoy some sundowners on top!

Lion's Head Sunset/Full Moon Hike
By far the most fulfilling experience in Cape Town. Maybe it was the sun beating down on me yet the sweeping views of the ocean and of the town. Maybe it was the vertigo-inducing climb up the metal footholds/ladders while holding onto chains so I would not slip yet the thrill I got while ascending. Maybe it was the 360 degree views of Table Mountain, Robben Island, the Atlantic, Camps Bay, and the city, all within my peripheral vision. Maybe it was the sweat and dust dripping down my face while watching the sun set on one side and the full moon rise on the other with the pastel colors slowly filling the sky. Maybe it was the triumphant feeling of finally reaching the top and being able to enjoy the spectacular world around me. Or taking that well-deserved photo lounging on the cliff-hanging edge. It could have been watching the city slowly light up at dusk putting on its black dress and diamond earrings for me while I struggled to see where my next foothold was in the dark. Or maybe it was all of this.

Please do the sunset hike/full moon hike, bring snacks/wine to enjoy on the way or at the top, and a flashlight in case you need it. It is an experience like none other that will make you feel like you have made a real connection with the rich land of South Africa.

Lion's Head Hike
Trekking to the top of Lion's Head mountain in Cape Town is a good idea for a number of reasons. Stunning views of the entire city, from Camp's Bay to V&A Waterfront, plus a ridiculous view of nearby Table Mountain. But the coolest part of all is the feeling that you're about to climb through clouds. Extra bonus: the remote possibility that a hobbit might pop out of a rock formation.

Sunset in Cape Town
After a difficult hike up Lion's Head in Cape Town, I made it just in time to enjoy the sunset.
It shouldn't have been a difficult hike, but I hadn't been working out for a while and there was a fair bit of climbing involved towards the end.

My fellow hikers were quite a bit ahead of me, taking the water bottles with them, so I was very thirsty, and was increasingly worried I wasn't going to make it in time for the sunset.

Luckily, once I reached the top, after a fair amount of rest breaks, I was able to catch my breath before finding a good spot to watch the sunset.

Spectacular 360 view. Get your lens ready
Take some selfies... they are fun

Afternoon hike!
Given our time constraint, we opted to hike Lion's Head over Table Mountain. A great outing, the trail circles the hill taking only a couple of hours and accessible for all levels! Loved seeing the locals hiking up, the thrill of taking the "short" way up the ladder rungs, hammered into the rock! Breathtaking views at the top, including Table Mountain, the bay and all the way down the Twelve Apostles. We watched the sunset as we descended, ending a perfect afternoon!

Lion's Head the easy way
Guided hikes up the peak, while not necessary, are offered in town for a very reasonable price. Sorry, no details available (it was two years ago for me). They leave downtown by vehicle for the parking lot at the base of the mountain, then follow the rocky, winding, spectacular trail up to the summit in time for sunset. A headlamp will help for the descent as it does get dark. Highly recommended either on your own or by tour. Hiking shoes recommended. Not for the mobility challenged.

Lion's Head, Signal Hill, Cape Town, 8001, South Africa
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