Hiking Lion's Head At Sunrise
Cape Town is a hiker’s paradise blessed with many great hiking trails ranging from easy one-hour hikes to difficult all day hikes. You’ve probably noticed that I love bird’s eye views so before even booking my flight tickets I had already scheduled a sundowner hike of the Table Mountain via Kasteelspoort route and a sunrise hike up Lion’s Head. Unfortunately, my guide cancelled the Table Mountain hike as the cableway was closed and it was going to be tricky hiking down in the dark so I had the evening to treat myself to some R&R and dinner at The Twelve Apostles Spa while admiring the peak I’d be hiking the following morning.
The trail going up Lion’s Head is a screw top so for the first half hour you get a majestic 360 view of the city, the Twelve Apostles, Camp’s Bay, Atlantic Ocean and Table Mountain available, a complete view of Cape Town. As my guide, Darren said, "You haven't seen Cape Town until you do it from the top".
You do not need a guide to climb Lion’s head, just get an Uber to the beginning of the trail and you can make your way up easily, but I was travelling alone and did not want to walk in the dark by myself so I booked a tour guide. He picked me up at 7-am when it was still dark but we didn't start the hike until around 7:40 so we got the chance to just watch in silence as the city woke up. Even at that time of the morning, there were at least 50 cars with human traffic going up and down the mountain.
As we weren't chasing the sun up to the peak we took a detour to Wally's cave, one of a handful of hidden caves on Lion's Head with spectacular views of the 12 Apostles. There were a lot of young people just hanging off the edge of the rocks, talking and listening to music.
The last 20 minutes of the hike involved scrambling, climbing ladders, chains and bars, all part of the fun. We finally got to the summit and OMG what a view!
Darren said to us as many as 5000 people try to do the hike during the full moon, it gets so crowded the park security turn people away. A few weeks before I arrived Max Rantz Mcdonald (of TYW, TSW, Color Run) and his TRex had their EMUDDD party on there, here's the video:
If you are keen for a short hike or short on time while in Cape Town, I strongly recommend hiking Lion's Head for sunrise or sunset. You can easily be up and down in 3 hours (or 2 if there is little traffic and you are very fit).