Wow, it really does look like a Lions Head! A quick review of the Lion’s Head hike.

Surprisingly for a lot of tourists and locals alike this isn’t as obvious as it seems, with most just believing it to be a random name. That was quite possibly attributed to the fact it was at one point was inhabited by lions or that the first Dutch settlers just thought it appropriate to name it “Leeukop”. But irrespective of this little dilemma, the amount of activities and the views achieved while clambering up this marvellous spire just add to its notoriety. Even if it does in some universe look like a Lion, lying on its back all spaced out and beautiful.

Now, Lions head is a part of the Table Mountain range and is thus a natural wonder of the world in more ways than one. And is an attractive endeavour for the light hearted and adrenaline junkies alike. The most common of these being walking and hiking, the former being more believable as it’s dead easy. But for the latter; if you choose to live a little bit more on the wild side; and if steamrolling down it’s slopes in the hope that a gust of wind will lift you up to the heavens and then gently put your feet back down on earth. Well then, it’s for you too, in the form of paragliding. But as a natural wonder it also offers up 360 degree views of the surrounding landscaping, untouched and awe inspiring, just ask any of the 200 000 people who make the pilgrimage to its summit, they’ll fill you in.

And if that’s not enough and you’re feeling fit then why not start your hike a little earlier like we did with a warm up leg starting at Rafiki’s. It’ll take you a bit longer but it’s worth it for the actual hike is quick, a mere 600 m that wanders in a spiral through numerous types of terrain. All of which have a story to tell, from the alien pine trees, indigenous silver trees, gold mines (yes) and forgotten trig beacon and the geology of the formation itself. When infused with its pristine natural beauty have made it today a national pastime and is one we will gladly be pursuing on a regular basis.

So if you’re into climbing, paragliding, sightseeing, geology, conservation and late night adventures all in the (not so far) great outdoors and have yet to do it then you’re missing out.  For when you finally summit – for the first time –  and pay homage to the mountains namesake by lying on your back and staring wondrously up at the sky,  you’ll forever see the shape of Lions head every time you look at the Table Mountain skyline.

up the mountain we go

Quick facts/ highlights:

  • Lions head is considered one of the iconic peaks in the Table Mountain range, including Table Mountain and Devils Peak.
  • Lion’s head is a quick hike and can be reached from the car park in roughly an hour.
  • It offers 360 degrees views of Cape Town and is unique in that it is home to the smallest floral kingdom in the world.
  • As mentioned before it offers not just hiking, but trail running, rock climbing and paragliding for the more adventurous types.
  • And for those of you who love geology it is in itself a geological marvel, and if you would like to know more…

Tips for virgin hikers to Lions Head:

  • If you need guide maps and the like then visit gate way guides.
  • Wear comfortable clothing and shoes for the hike, no serious gear but enough to enjoy yourself, even though some who walk look as if they just came from a night of clubbing.
  • The trails on occasion do branch off, with some routes offering a less precarious hike than others. But if you’re up for it go for the more challenging route, which features a serious of chains and staples. It makes the hike a lot adventurous and will have you feeling like quite the explorer.
  • Bring water, a camera, sunblock and sunglasses. On warmer days it’s scorching on the path and you wouldn’t want to burn and/ get dehydrated.
  • And if you’re into sundowners why not go on one of the full moon hikes, but get there early as the crowds can get a bit intense. And along with gazing up at the stars you will be treated to probably one of the most amazing sunsets you ever seen. Just don’t forget to bring a flashlight.
  • If you love nature, wildlife and breath taking views please be considerate and respect the environment by keeping on the prescribed paths and as we did carry your own trash in a bag. Including cigarette butts if you smoke, as we found a fair amount of these and rubbish and would hate to spoil it for other hikers and the environment in general.

Hiking Lions Head ranks highly on the Nomadic Existence: Fun Things to do this summer in Cape Town.

Special thanks go out to the rangers at the station for providing us with maps and advice for the hike. And in their willingness to assist us in any way we needed.

Some information was sourced from Gateway Guides, Wikipedia and us.

Our hike took place on Thursday 9th October.

By Slippery Joe Lyzard © (Writer for Nomadic Existence)

Photography: Nomadic Bug © 

Nomadic Existence 2015 ©

 Explore. Conserve. Discover.


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