Lion’s Head is one of Cape Town’s most iconic sights. Rising up from the back of Signal Hill, it presents locals and tourists alike with incredible views of Cape Town and its surroundings.
The start of the Lion’s Head hike can be accessed by turning right at corner of Kloof Nek Road and Signal Hill Road, if approaching from town, or left if approaching from Camps Bay. About 200 m up Signal Hill Road you will see a metal boom and jeep track path on the left hand side of the road (mountain side). Here you may look for parking on the opposite side of the road (town side). You may need to drive a little further to find parking, depending on how busy it is. Once you have parked, walk to the boom where you will see the signpost for Lion’s Head hike that indicates the start of the hike.
The initial 800 m is a steep ascent up the wide jeep track. Along this segment there are a couple of viewing spots on the left of the path should you wish to stop and soak in the views of the coastline. At 800 m you will find green netting on the ground, which is used for the paragliders that jump from Lion’s Head. Continue on the jeep track for another 150 m of relatively flat track, before the rocky ‘steps’ begin.
Continue straight and do not veer left at the adjoining paths. At times you will need to take big steps to clear rocks and ledges along the route. Fortunately there are steel handles and ladders to help you up the most difficult sections. With about 500 m to go you will come across a T-junction, where the sign post will indicate two options: the recommended route via the ladders and chains (‘Chain route’) or the ‘Alternative route’.
Although the Alternative route is slightly longer, it is far less busy than the Chain route. Turn left at the T-junction to follow the alternative route, which will take you along the contour of the mountain until you are on the edge looking out over Camps Bay, and Table Mountain. Turn right and head up the rocky section until you come to a plateau. From here you will see the ridge of the ‘mane’ of Lion’s Head that takes you directly to the summit. Continue on the path that veers slightly right and meets up with the Chain route at a large tree. Turn left and head up the 10 m steep rocky section above the tree.
From here there is about 200 m to the summit with a few sections of high rocks and ledges that again have ladders to assist when necessary. At the top there is surprisingly ample space so sit, relax and cast your eyes over the Atlantic Ocean, Table Mountain and Cape Town CBD or North towards the Hottentots Holland mountain range. This is particularly beautiful at sunrise and sunset, enjoyed with friends and a picnic basket.
The route down is exactly the same, unless you would like to climb the Chain route instead of following the Alternative route. Regardless of which you choose, this hike is easy to follow and manageable for people of even moderate fitness levels. Enjoy!