Travel Guide

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

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Lion’s Head is without doubt one of the must-visit sights in Cape City. Mountaineering up the mountain is usually a bit difficult however the views from the highest are effectively definitely worth the effort. From Lion’s Head, you get among the greatest views of the town and its environment. Even if you happen to don’t climb all the best way you continue to get unbelievable views alongside the path.

Finest time for climbing Lion’s Head

For me, the views from Lion’s Head at sundown are probably the most spectacular. You may see the solar slowly descending into the Atlantic Ocean portray the ocean and the coast into golden colour, one of the best gentle for images. Simply be certain it’s not overcast or too cloudy earlier than you go. For apparent causes sundown is the most well-liked time to climb Lion’s Head it’s important to 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 images. 

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

Full Moon is a highly regarded time for climbing up Lion’s Head. On clear nights a whole bunch of individuals head to the highest to watch the total Moon and to benefit from the views of the evening metropolis. Verify Moon phases and discover one of the best time to see the total moon.

Within the afternoon the sunshine will not be one of the best for taking images however the views from the highest are nonetheless spectacular.

How troublesome is the hike?

Relying on the route you select. Should you simply stroll across the mountain it’s not too troublesome or hectic. Should you climb to the highest some a part of the path could be fairly difficult. Total it’s fairly a troublesome route as a result of steep incline from the beginning. The final kilometer is probably the most tiring half with climbing up over the rocks or steel ladders and chains. For a match particular person, it gained’t be an issue, however if you happen to’re not in good condition, it could be exhausting. Should you’re frightened of heights I’d recommend doing a round route with out going to the very prime of Lion’s Head. Climbing down could be a bit scary for you.

Alya on a rocky path climbing up Lion's Head
Essentially the most difficult final a part of the hike to the highest of Lion’s Head entails climbing over the rocks and ladders

How a lot does it price?

The excellent news, the hike is free! You don’t pay any admission charges. Parking at Lion’s Head is free as effectively. 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 one of the best place in Cape City to return for the panoramic views of the town, it’s undoubtedly a must-include in your Cape City itinerary. From the highest of the mountain and alongside the path, you’ll be able to see just about your entire Cape City and its environment. The primary 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 Seashore, seaport, and lots of different metropolis sights.

How one can get to Lion’s Head? 

By public transport

You should utilize one among 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 it’s important to purchase a MyConnect card, it prices ZAR 35/US$2 and may be bought at any MyCiTi station kiosk and cargo some cash on it. A median journey inside the metropolis will price 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 Automobile station, which is about 2 km away from the Lion’s Head trailhead. Utilizing the hop-on-hop-off bus to discover Cape City continues to be a great possibility for you if you happen to’re not planning to hire a automobile. You will get a 1 or 2-day move and tour across the metropolis getting off at any attraction. With one move you get entry to Four totally different routes. The two-day ticket consists of the sundown bus, the boat cruise, and a pair of strolling excursions as effectively.

Renting a automobile

Renting a automobile is one of the simplest ways to discover Cape City. Should you hire a small automobile it gained’t be costly particularly if you happen to’re a few folks sharing it. On weekdays searching for a parking spot within the metropolis middle could be a bit difficult although, and also you’ll must pay for it however not for parking on Lion’s Head these are free.

Should you’re not a really assured driver (particularly contemplating that we drive on the left facet of the street) you’ll be able to use Uber, many locals and vacationers use it daily together with us. It really works good however generally in peak hours, you might need to attend for a journey.

Becoming a member of a tour

It could be the best choice for solo vacationers particularly if you happen to select a 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 one of the best photograph 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 automobile?

Parking close to the trailhead could be difficult particularly in prime occasions such because the sundown or Full Moon. 

  1. The perfect and the closest possibility is Lion’s Head Hike Parking which is correct the place the path begins.
  2. If there isn’t any house on the parking, search for spots alongside Sign Hill Street right here, and there you’ll be able to see gravel sidewalks the place you’ll be able to park.
  3. There’s “a secret spot” on Sign Hill Street between Lion’s Head and Sign Hill, a proper flip to the gravel street, about 2 km away from the trailhead.
  4. We frequently park our automobile at Kloof Nek Parking, it’s a devoted parking space simply on the suitable from Lion’s Head on the best way 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 usually full.
A lower hiking trail next to the parking spot on Lion's Head mountain
The view of Desk Mountain from a climbing path at Lion’s Head parking spot

Completely different climbing trails up Lion’s Head

There are two climbing routes to Lion’s Head each begin on the parking spot on Sign Hill Street; the primary one (footpath) goes proper in the direction of Sign Hill, the second (gravel street) 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 tougher however shorter, it entails chains and ladders, the opposite route (the advisable path) is longer with going up over the rocks. You may 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,Three km return
  • Strolling time – 1h30min. up and down, plus 30min.-1h. for taking images, watching the sundown, and so on. The stroll may take longer if there are numerous folks.
  • Complete ascent/descent – 387 m
  • Terrain – gravel street, 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 most well-liked route
Elevation profile of Lions Head return hike
Elevation profile of the return hike up Lion’s Head

The preferred 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 big incline proper from the beginning. The route goes across the mountain providing nice views of Cape City and the shoreline. This route has one of the best views of Desk Mountain, Twelve Apostles, and Camps Bay. It begins on the gravel street continues up the steps and finishes with a rocky path and ladders. The final half entails a little bit of climbing no matter which route you select.

Beautiful view of Table Mountain and Camps Bay from Lion's Head trail
Implausible 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 street, 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 climbing route

That is our favourite route as you get to stroll up and down a special manner and get the final 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 choose a counter-clock, the gravel street is less complicated for happening 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 one of the best views of Lion’s Head peak, Sign Hill, and Sea Level. You may go up and down the identical manner 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 neater possibility)

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

It’s a neater different for individuals who don’t wish to climb over the rocks or ladders all the best way to the highest. It’s an appropriate possibility for hikers with youngsters or canines. The route offers you a chance to watch Cape City and its environment, take pleasure in a pleasant stroll and take some nice images with out sweating and panting. It’s just about the identical route because the round hike the one distinction is that you just stroll round Lion’s Head with out going to the highest. The hike may be walked both manner 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,Four km return
  • Strolling time –  1 hour
  • Complete ascent/descent – 50 m
  • Terrain – footpath

The simplest 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 manner 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 however it’s presently closed as a consequence of present process terrain rehabilitation. Sadly, it’s inconceivable 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 neater different to Lion’s Head

If climbing and climbing sound an excessive amount of of a mission for you there’s a neater different. You may benefit from the metropolis views and watch the sundown from the highest of Sign Hill. It’s a close-by hill that could be very simple to entry by automobile. You may drive all the best way 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 manner as to Lion’s Head however as a substitute of parking your automobile on the head of the climbing path, you retain driving. There’s a parking spot on the highest for Sign Hill however it’s typically very full you might need to show round and park your automobile alongside the street. On the highest, you’ll discover a large yellow body for taking images with Desk Mountain within the background, rest room amenities, and a espresso truck. 

Should you benefit from the outdoor and nature you may take pleasure in climbing at Cape Level Nationwide Park, there are a number of day trails that provide breathtaking views and alternatives to identify some animals.

Security ideas for climbing

Total it’s not harmful to hike Lion’s Head except 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 climbing. At all times deliver sufficient water with you, a minimum of 1L per particular person, use solar safety, and put on a hat or a cap. 

Should you hike throughout the day, you’ll be able to select any route if you happen to hike after sundown hours, persist with the primary gravel route up Lion’s Head. 

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

Should you go alone somewhat use the primary hottest path. Should you’re not very comfy with doing a sundown or dawn hike by yourself you’ll be able to 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, probably the greatest 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 unbelievable experience to glide slowly above Cape City having fun with the gorgeous views and touchdown on the seashore at Sea Level. Don’t fear if you happen to park your automobile at Lion’s Head the return switch is included. Sundown is once more one of the best time for paragliding. It’s extremely advisable to e-book paragliding prematurely.

What to tackle the hike?

  • A small backpack to place water, digital camera, snacks, and so on.
  • Trainers/sneakers, you don’t want climbing footwear for Lion’s Head however strolling in flip-flops gained’t work both.
  • Jacket/hoodie if coming for sundown/dawn it will get chilly and windy up there.
  • Water bottle, be certain 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 could be very robust, be certain to guard your pores and skin.
  • GoPro HERO9, video footage, and a few wide-angle panoramic images on this submit 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 things to do in Cape City visiting these two is a should. Should you don’t have a automobile you’ll be able to simply stroll from Lion’s Head to Desk Mountain. It takes about 20 minutes to get from the Decrease Cable automobile station on Desk Mountain to Lion’s Head parking. 

We frequently mix 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 automobile. Should you resolve to do it this manner ensure 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 automobile 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 way of its vibrant streets and take images. You may cease on the Bo Kaap first, then go up Desk Mountain and end watching the sundown from Lion’s Head. Should you take a cable automobile each methods you’ll want 3-Four hours to go to all Three sights. Should you resolve to stroll up Desk Mountain – 4-5 hours relying on how briskly you stroll.

You may mix climbing up Lion’s Head with one among 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 possibility after the sundown, you’ll be able to head to Camps Bay for a sundowner drink or romantic dinner.

Should you want some concepts for planning your go to to Cape City we’ve a submit with one of the best day journey concepts from 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

Finest 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 probably the greatest streets close to Lion’s Head to return 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 superb. Many espresso outlets in Cape City serve their espresso. We love stopping right here for breakfast or brunch on the best way to or from Lion’s Head. They’ve commonplace 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 satisfy up with associates. On weekends it will get fairly busy. 

Manna Epicure

Not like 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 suggest making a reservation it’s fairly a preferred place. 

Bombay Bicycle membership

One other excellent place at Kloof Road however not like the earlier locations this one is extra of a celebration vibe. It’s an ideal place to return within the night after watching the sundown from Lion’s Head. It’s not one of the best place for a romantic dinner however the suitable place for hanging out with associates. 

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



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Hey! A bit about us - we’re John & Maria and we're a couple that loves to travel the world and document our adventures! We enjoy writing, blogging, exploring and sharing our adventures. We’re always embarking on new journeys and here you’ll find articles covering many travel destinations, and topics, such as culture, history, art and cuisine. Our goal and mission is to present compelling stories, photography and personal opinions, as well as serve as an online resource for anyone who wishes to plan their own trips and visit the destinations we've been to. We genuinely love meeting new people, mingling with locals, listening to their amazing stories and trying new travel experiences.

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