“This must be one of the most beautiful views in the world,” I suggested to my brother, Steve. I stood precariously on a precipice taking in the iconic view of Table Bay and the Mother City – Cape Town, South Africa. I walked just a few steps to the other side of the abyss and found another stunning view of the Atlantic coastline.
Lion’s Head is part of the Table Mountain range, rising to 2,195 feet above sea level. Named by 17th-century Dutch settlers, Lion’s Head and the adjacent mountain at Signal Hill, which is sometimes called “the Lion’s Rump,” form a crouching feline.
A couple of the guidebooks said it would take one hour to hike to the top. Well, maybe – and I do mean maybe – if you are an athletic, avid hiker. I am relatively fit, but it took me around three hours to reach the top. Perhaps the hot sun slowed me down… Yes, that’s my excuse, and I’m sticking with it.
The majority of the walk is challenging but doable and very enjoyable if you pace yourself, and the reward at the top is worth the effort.
The ascent starts with a gravel path at Signal Hill Road, at the base of the Forestry Road. It looked so innocent. I thought this would be the easiest part. I was wrong. While the path is wide and flat, the ascent was steeper than it looks and sweat was inevitable. Luckily there are benches built in along the way, to give some people a break for their lungs and quads.
The path continues as it circles around the mountain in a clockwise direction, getting more narrow and rocky. There are places all along the way to find a flat rock to sit, take a sip of water, and take the spectacular view.
Every turn opens to a new gorgeous view of the city. On the horizon, we saw Table Mountain and the Twelve Apostles mountain chain. Another turn brought the gorgeous beaches at Camp’s Bay and Clifton. On a clear day, you can see Robben Island, where South Africa’s president Nelson Mandela served a 19-year imprisonment.
Read how Patti Tamed Lion’s Head in Cape Town, South Africa in WaveJourney