Hiking Lion’s Head, Cape Town
If you’ve been to Cape Town you will have no doubt have appreciated the dramatic skyline of Table Mountain. With the option of taking a cable car to the summit, hiking up is not necessarily at the forefront of most people’s minds. For me though, on this trip I really wanted to do the hike!
So let me preface this story by saying that I’ve never been hiking before. I’ll admit that it may even have once been the absolute opposite of what I would want to spend my time doing. I figured, why would I voluntarily spend hours walking and/or climbing in the hot sun/freezing cold/pouring rain, limbs aching, probably having to pee in bush somewhere, when I could just as easily be curled up indoors with a glass of wine? Fast forward to the last year or so, and call it my old age or whatever, but I’ve been more inclined to try it.
Right, so I’m in Cape Town on a Sunday night with 30-odd other wedding guests playing Taboo and Mafia (shout out to my games’ night aficionados), when I realised that I would need to hike on Monday morning if I was going to do it at all. The #JumiToons wedding was going to be on Tuesday and most of us were headed home on Wednesday.
*Cue frantic googling*… “hike table mountain”, “table mountain hiking difficulty”, “table mountain hiking beginner”. The more I read, the more I started to panic! What if something happened? I probably wouldn’t even garner sympathy, because as Nigerians would say, “who sent me?!”
So about 30 minutes of google results later, and I had decided Table Mountain was “not my portion”. Instead the more achievable Lion’s Head would be a good shout for beginners like me and my newfound #CapeTownCrew I had roped in too!
If you haven’t already, check out our adventures in Bo Kaap
Around 10am, we set off in a taxi to the start of the trail, and the hike began. It was a reasonably easy start with wide, gently-sloping paths and we were thankful for the slightly cool and cloudy weather.
The clay soil took me back to memories of boarding school in Nigeria.
We chuckled at the number of people we passed that were jogging back down the mountain. Barely able to conceive the idea of hiking all the way to the top, it was hard to think that people were just casually running up and down the mountain…we even saw kids doing it!
About an hour in and the path had narrowed significantly, becoming more rocky as it spiralled upwards against the mountain. I clung to the wall of rock at my side – who would have thought I would be such a chicken lol?!
The views though, absolutely incredible! As it’s a 360-degree spiral climb up the mountain, at every point you’re looking at stunning skyline, coastline or greenery. I can’t count the number of times the others jokingly thanked me for dragging them along. Experiences like that really put things in perspective and make you so grateful for the beauty of life.
Another gruelling hour or so and we had been faced with a fork in the road – either scaling a vertical wall via a series of hand and footholds built into the rock, or taking a longer (and more beginner-friendly) route around. Which do you think we chose?
It was a slow and arduous climb, more so as the sun had come out in full force but finally we reached the summit!
I honestly don’t have the words to describe how I felt standing at the top of that mountain. A small achievement for some maybe, but for me it was so much bigger. A true example of stepping out of one’s comfort zone and experiencing a completely different kind of joy. I would do it again a thousand times!
Have you hiked Lion’s Head? What did you think of it? I hear a lot of locals do it every weekend!
Check out my Instagram highlights for the run-down of our hike and of course let me know what you think in the comments below.
‘Til next time! xx