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TRAVEL GUIDE

Gorgeous Lion’s Head hike – a must-do in Cape City

Lion’s Head is likely one of the must-visit points of interest in Cape City. Climbing up the mountain could be a bit difficult however the views from the highest are properly definitely worth the effort. From Lion’s Head, you get a few of the finest views of the town and its environment. Even if you happen to don’t climb all the way in which you continue to get implausible views alongside the path.

Greatest time for mountain climbing Lion’s Head

For me, the views from Lion’s Head at sundown are probably the most spectacular. You’ll be able to see the solar slowly descending into the Atlantic Ocean portray the ocean and the coast into golden shade, the perfect gentle for pictures. Simply be certain that it’s not overcast or too cloudy earlier than you go. For apparent causes sundown is the preferred time to climb Lion’s Head you must be at the start line a few hours earlier than to discover a parking spot, to make it to the highest (there’s often a queue on the rope and ladder a part of the climb) and discover a good place for taking pictures. 

Dawn is one other good time to hike up Lion’s Head. A benefit of it’s that there are often fewer individuals going up at dawn than at sundown. It’ll be quicker to get to the highest. However in summer time you’ll must stand up actually early to make it in time for the dawn. Test sundown/dawn time in Cape City earlier than heading to Lion’s Head.

Full Moon is a very talked-about time for mountain climbing up Lion’s Head. On clear nights a whole lot of individuals head to the highest to look at the complete Moon and to benefit from the views of the evening metropolis. Test Moon phases and discover the perfect time to see the complete moon.

Within the afternoon the sunshine shouldn’t be the perfect for taking pictures however the views from the highest are nonetheless spectacular.

How troublesome is the hike?

Relying on the route you select. For those who simply stroll across the mountain it’s not too troublesome or hectic. For those who climb to the highest some a part of the path may be fairly difficult. Total it’s fairly a troublesome route because of the steep incline from the beginning. The final kilometer is probably the most tiring half with climbing up over the rocks or metallic ladders and chains. For a match individual, it received’t be an issue, however if you happen to’re not in fine condition, it may be exhausting. For those who’re petrified of heights I’d counsel doing a round route with out going to the very prime of Lion’s Head. Climbing down may be a bit scary for you.

Essentially the most difficult final a part of the hike to the highest of Lion’s Head includes climbing over the rocks and ladders

How a lot does it value?

The excellent news, the hike is free! You don’t pay any admission charges. Parking at Lion’s Head is free as properly. Your solely expense is transportation to Lion’s Head and again.

What are you able to see from Lion’s Head?

Lion’s Head is the perfect place in Cape City to come back for the panoramic views of the town, it’s positively a must-include in your Cape City itinerary. From the highest of the mountain and alongside the path, you may see just about your entire Cape City and its environment. The principle highlights are Desk Mountain, Twelve Apostles, Camps Bay, Clifton Seashores, Metropolis Bowl, V&A Waterfront, Sea Level, Robben Island, Chapman’s Peak Drive, Cape Peninsula, Blouberg Seaside, seaport, and plenty of different metropolis points of interest.

How you can get to Lion’s Head? 

By public transport

You should utilize one in all MyCity buses to get to Lion’s Head; routes 106 and 107 go there. Get off at Kloof Nec cease, it’s on the backside of Lion’s Head from there it’s about 600 m to the trailhead. To make use of MyCity buses you must purchase a MyConnect card, it prices ZAR 35/US$2 and could be bought at any MyCiTi station kiosk and cargo some cash on it. A median journey inside the metropolis will value you lower than US$1.

Sadly, the Cape City Sightseeing bus doesn’t cease at Lion’s Head. The closest cease is Desk Mountain Cable Automotive station, which is about 2 km away from the Lion’s Head trailhead. Utilizing the hop-on-hop-off bus to discover Cape City remains to be a very good choice for you if you happen to’re not planning to hire a automotive. You may get a 1 or 2-day cross and tour across the metropolis getting off at any attraction. With one cross you get entry to 4 totally different routes. The two-day ticket consists of the sundown bus, the boat cruise, and a pair of strolling excursions as properly.

Renting a automotive

Renting a automotive is one of the best ways to discover Cape City. For those who hire a small automotive it received’t be costly particularly if you happen to’re a few individuals sharing it. On weekdays searching for a parking spot within the metropolis heart may be a bit difficult although, and also you’ll must pay for it however not for parking on Lion’s Head these are free.

For those who’re not a really assured driver (particularly contemplating that we drive on the left aspect of the highway) you may use Uber, many locals and vacationers use it day by day together with us. It really works good however typically in peak hours, you may need to attend for a experience.

Becoming a member of a tour

It may be the most suitable choice for solo vacationers particularly if you happen to select a mountain climbing tour that features transportation. You get picked up and dropped off at your lodge in Cape City, stroll with an skilled information that may present you the perfect picture spots on Lion’s Head, and benefit from the good firm.

Stingy Nomads standing next to the sign marking the top of Lion's Head in Cape Town
Stingy Nomads on the highest of Lion’s Head

The place to park your automotive?

Parking close to the trailhead may be tough particularly in prime instances such because the sundown or Full Moon. 

  1. One of the best and the closest choice is Lion’s Head Hike Parking which is true the place the path begins.
  2. If there isn’t any area on the parking, search for spots alongside Sign Hill Street right here, and there you may see gravel sidewalks the place you may park.
  3. There’s “a secret spot” on Sign Hill Street between Lion’s Head and Sign Hill, a proper flip to the gravel highway, about 2 km away from the trailhead.
  4. We regularly park our automotive at Kloof Nek Parking, it’s a devoted parking space simply on the suitable from Lion’s Head on the way in which to Desk Mountain. There are all the time locations obtainable and it’s not far to stroll to the trailhead, about 700 m. 
  5. There’s a parking spot on the highest of Sign Hill, which is about 2,6 km from Lion’s Head hike trailhead. Sadly, this parking space is commonly full.
A lower hiking trail next to the parking spot on Lion's Head mountain
The view of Desk Mountain from a mountain climbing path at Lion’s Head parking spot

Completely different mountain climbing trails up Lion’s Head

There are two mountain climbing routes to Lion’s Head each begin on the parking spot on Sign Hill Street; the primary one (footpath) goes proper in direction of Sign Hill, the second (gravel highway) goes left.  Each routes merge 1 km earlier than the height. There’s one other cut up simply earlier than reaching the highest; one route is more difficult however shorter, it includes chains and ladders, the opposite route (the beneficial path) is longer with going up over the rocks. You’ll be able to mix each routes; go up utilizing ladders and down over the rocks. All routes and splits are well-maintained and marked.

The return hike

  • Distance – 5,3 km return
  • Strolling time – 1h30min. up and down, plus 30min.-1h. for taking pictures, watching the sundown, and many others. The stroll may take longer if there are numerous individuals.
  • Complete ascent/descent – 387 m
  • Terrain – gravel highway, wood stairs, rocks, ladders, and chains.
A trail map of the most popular hiking trail up Lion's Head
A route map of the return hike up Lion’s Head, the preferred route
Elevation profile of Lions Head return hike
Elevation profile of the return hike up Lion’s Head

The most well-liked route up Lion’s Head. It begins on the parking spot on Sign Hill Street is the primary route up the mountain. Most individuals use it to hike up and down. It’s a steep gravel path with a major incline proper from the beginning. The route goes across the mountain providing nice views of Cape City and the shoreline. This route has the perfect views of Desk Mountain, Twelve Apostles, and Camps Bay. It begins on the gravel highway continues up the steps and finishes with a rocky path and ladders. The final half includes a little bit of climbing no matter which route you select.

Beautiful view of Table Mountain and Camps Bay from Lion's Head trail
Improbable panoramic view of Desk Mountain, Camps Bay, and the Cape Peninsula on Lion’s Head hike

The round path

  • Distance – 6 km
  • Strolling time – 2 hours up and down
  • Complete ascent/descent – 400 m
  • Terrain – footpath, gravel highway, large rocks, ladders, chains
A map with a circular hiking route up Lion's Head
The route map of the round path up Lion’s Head
The profile showing ascents and descents on the circular route up Lion's Head
The elevation profile of the round mountain climbing route

That is our favourite route as you get to stroll up and down a unique means and get the last word 360° panoramic views of Cape City and the Cape Peninsula. The path begins at Lion’s Head parking. It may be completed clock or counterclockwise. We want a counter-clock, the gravel highway is simpler for taking place than the rocky path. The identical with climbing to the highest, it’s simpler to go up utilizing ladders and chains and go down over the rocks.  This route has the perfect views of Lion’s Head peak, Sign Hill, and Sea Level. You’ll be able to go up and down the identical means with out going across the mountain.

Alya sitting on a boulder with Lion's Head peak behind
A view of Lion’s Head peak from the round route

The round path with out climbing to the highest (a better choice)

  • Distance – 4 km
  • Strolling time – 1 hour
  • Complete ascent/descent – 280 m
  • Terrain – footpath, gravel highway

It’s a better different for many who don’t need to climb over the rocks or ladders all the way in which to the highest. It’s an appropriate choice for hikers with youngsters or canine. The route provides you a chance to look at Cape City and its environment, take pleasure in a pleasant stroll and take some nice pictures with out sweating and panting. It’s just about the identical route because the round hike the one distinction is that you simply stroll round Lion’s Head with out going to the highest. The hike could be walked both means clockwise or counterclockwise. 

Beautiful view of Signal Hill and Sea Point from Lion's Head hike
The view over Sign Hill and Sea Level from the round route up Lion’s Head

Lion’s Head to Sign Hill hike

  • Distance – 5,4 km return
  • Strolling time –  1 hour
  • Complete ascent/descent – 50 m
  • Terrain – footpath

The best hike on Lion’s Head with hardly any ups or downs. You can begin at Lion’s Head parking and stroll to the highest of Sign Hill or one other means spherical. Although you don’t go up the mountain you continue to get unbelievable views of Cape City, Desk Mountain, Robben Island, Waterfront, Sea Level, and Lion’s Head.

There was once one other route previous Wally’s Cave nevertheless it’s presently closed as a result of present process terrain rehabilitation. Sadly, it’s not possible to entry Wally’s Cave.

A hiking trail from Lion's Head to Signal Hill
The view on the footpath from Lion’s Head to Sign Hill

Sign Hill, a better different to Lion’s Head

If mountain climbing and climbing sound an excessive amount of of a mission for you there’s a better different. You’ll be able to benefit from the metropolis views and watch the sundown from the highest of Sign Hill. It’s a close-by hill that may be very simple to entry by automotive. You’ll be able to drive all the way in which to the view-point, no strolling or climbing concerned. The views from Sign Hill are similar to these from Lion’s Head.

The drive to Sign Hill is identical means as to Lion’s Head however as a substitute of parking your automotive on the head of the mountain climbing path, you retain driving. There’s a parking spot on the highest for Sign Hill nevertheless it’s usually very full you may need to show round and park your automotive alongside the highway. On the highest, you’ll discover a large yellow body for taking pictures with Desk Mountain within the background, rest room services, and a espresso truck. 

For those who benefit from the open air and nature you may take pleasure in mountain climbing at Cape Level Nationwide Park, there are a number of day trails that supply breathtaking views and alternatives to identify some animals.

Security ideas for mountain climbing

Total it’s not harmful to hike Lion’s Head until you do it at evening time.

In summer time it will get scorching scorching there isn’t any shade alongside the path and no place to get water when you begin mountain climbing. All the time deliver sufficient water with you, at the very least 1L per individual, use solar safety, and put on a hat or a cap. 

For those who hike throughout the day, you may select any route if you happen to hike after sundown hours, keep on with the primary gravel route up Lion’s Head. 

Don’t go mountain climbing at evening time until it’s the complete moon evening when there can be lots of people on the mountain.

For those who go alone relatively use the primary hottest path. For those who’re not very snug with doing a sundown or dawn hike by yourself you may all the time be a part of a guided tour.

View of Table Mountain and Cape Town from Lion's Head
Desk Mountain from the highest of Lion’s Head, among the best views in Cape City

Paragliding from Lion’s Head or Sign Hill

Paragliding is feasible from each Lion’s Head and Sign Hill. It’s a implausible expertise to glide slowly above Cape City having fun with the attractive views and touchdown on the seaside at Sea Level. Don’t fear if you happen to park your automotive at Lion’s Head the return switch is included. Sundown is once more the perfect time for paragliding. It’s extremely beneficial to guide paragliding upfront.

What to tackle the hike?

  • A small backpack to place water, digicam, snacks, and many others.
  • Trainers/sneakers, you don’t want mountain climbing sneakers for Lion’s Head however strolling in flip-flops received’t work both.
  • Jacket/hoodie if coming for sundown/dawn it will get chilly and windy up there.
  • Water bottle, be certain that to deliver sufficient water with you there isn’t any place to get water alongside the hike.
  • Hat/cap, there isn’t any shade on the mountain if you happen to hike within the afternoon it will get very popular.
  • Sun shades.
  • Sunscreen – African solar may be very sturdy, be certain that to guard your pores and skin.
  • GoPro HERO9, video footage, and a few wide-angle panoramic pictures on this put up had been taken with our GoPro.

Close by sights to mix with the hike

Many different Cape City highlights are located round Lion’s Head together with Desk Mountain probably the most well-known metropolis attraction. Out of many issues to do in Cape City visiting these two is a should. For those who don’t have a automotive you may simply stroll from Lion’s Head to Desk Mountain. It takes about 20 minutes to get from the Decrease Cable automotive station on Desk Mountain to Lion’s Head parking. 

We regularly mix mountain climbing up Desk Mountain with climbing Lion’s Head. It’s fairly powerful particularly if you happen to hike each methods up and down Desk Mountain with out utilizing the cable automotive. For those who determine to do it this manner be sure you have sufficient time to stroll up Desk Mountain takes between 60 and 90 minutes. To stroll down is one other 30-40 minutes, the cable automotive descent takes solely 5 minutes. 

The colourful Bo Kaap neighborhood is one other well-known Cape City attraction that’s near Lion’s Head. You’ll want not more than 1 hour to stroll by means of its shiny streets and take pictures. You’ll be able to cease on the Bo Kaap first, then go up Desk Mountain and end watching the sundown from Lion’s Head. For those who take a cable automotive each methods you’ll want 3-4 hours to go to all 3 sights. For those who determine to stroll up Desk Mountain – 4-5 hours relying on how briskly you stroll.

You’ll be able to mix mountain climbing up Lion’s Head with one in all Cape City’s scenic drives. Begin your day driving across the gorgeous coast and end it watching the sundown from Lion’s Head. As an choice after the sundown, you may head to Camps Bay for a sundowner drink or romantic dinner.

For those who want some concepts for planning your go to to Cape City now we have a put up with the perfect day journey concepts from mountain climbing and wildlife to winetasting and road-tripping.

Alya on a massive rocky cliff enjoying the sea view form Lion's Head
Alya sitting on the sting of a cliff on Lion’s Head

Lodging close to Lion’s Head

Greatest locations to cease for espresso or lunch earlier than/after the hike

Driving Kloof Road you’ll see many espresso outlets and eating places. It’s among the best streets close to Lion’s Head to come back for espresso, breakfast, or lunch.

Bootlegger Espresso Firm at Kloof Road

It’s a fantastic place a few kilometers earlier than Lion’s Head. They roast and grind their very own beans so espresso right here is wonderful. Many espresso outlets in Cape City serve their espresso. We love stopping right here for breakfast or brunch on the way in which to or from Lion’s Head. They’ve normal eggs, bacon, and avo breakfasts, pancakes, and scrumptious bagels. The trout bagel is our favourite right here.

Nourish’d Café & Juicery

A small cozy place on the nook of Kloof Road and Hof Road with good espresso (together with decaf), wholesome smoothies, recent juices, sandwiches, and a vegan-friendly menu. It’s a cool place to fulfill up with associates. On weekends it will get fairly busy. 

Manna Epicure

In contrast to two earlier locations, this one is extra of a restaurant kind than a espresso store, a little bit of an higher class. They serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner if you wish to come on Saturday or Sunday I’d advocate making a reservation it’s fairly a well-liked place. 

Bombay Bicycle membership

One other great spot at Kloof Road however in contrast to the earlier locations this one is extra of a celebration vibe. It’s an ideal place to come back within the night after watching the sundown from Lion’s Head. It’s not the perfect place for a romantic dinner however the suitable place for hanging out with associates. 

There’s a espresso truck Vida e Caffee in the beginning of the Lion’s Head hike the place you should purchase espresso and snacks. 

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