Travel and Tourism

Lion’s Head. A walk & scramble to views you will never forget

I will never tire of living in Cape Town, a city that has a great big mountain in the middle of it.


The start of the spiral route up Lion’s Head is a mere 4.5 km from the centre of the CBD and affords 360 degree views of Greater Cape Town.

You will ascend 390 meters over 2,3 kilometers, reaching an elevation of 667 meters above sea level at the summit.

The start is along a broad gravel path with views of Camps Bay, Table Mountain and the Twelve Apostles range.

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Here is my version of this walk, I am sure your experience will be more energetic!

These photos were taking with my cell phone as I did not have the energy to carry a decent camera.

The views were a good excuse for me to stop and rest and seriously contemplate giving up smoking.

Continuing around the path the first sight of Signal Hill and Sea Point  is the next excellent reason for a rest and photo opportunity. By this stage I was beginning to regret the 1,5 litre flask of coffee, rolls, chips, and other snacks I had in my day pack. More daunting was the view up to where I needed to still get too.

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By this stage my legs were impersonating a jellyfish and the wind was howling at about 60 km / ph.

Small children were overtaking me and men in shorts were running past without signs of the slightest sweat.

Fortunately at that point I decided that one way or another I would get to the top and pure stubborness propelled me forward. As I approached the first ladder my hiking mentor and partner in crime pushed me up before I could remember that I hate heights.

The wind was threatening to blow me right off that mountain, so not caring how foolish I looked I proceeded by hanging on to rocks and crabbing along the path. Some little boys of about 7 told me not be be scared as they leapt from rock to rock with no thought of being blown off, despite being half my weight.

Not impressed at all.

The last 200 meters before reaching the top are a bit of a scramble and I cursed my short legs. More pushes and encouragement from my friend, one more ladder, and I made it. Unfortunately the wind was so strong that we only stayed at the top long enough to have half a cup of ghastly coffee from the huge flask that leaked.

The scramble down was done mainly by sitting on my bottom and sliding in a very dignified manner. By this stage it was almost dark so the skipping, smiling, running children and tourists overtaking me were not quite as offensive.

For normal people, this is a relatively easy walk and a must do if you are visiting Cape Town. Next time, I will leave earlier, take a decent camera and not bother with coffee.

I will definitely be doing it again.

For comprehensive information on the route, geography, fauna and flora of Lion’s Head go to or pick up one of their brochures from the tourism office.

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1 Comment

  • Reply Francoise Armour 24th Oct 2013 at 8:18 am

    Ha ha I loved this, especially your description of the kids leaping about.
    The views are the best part of hiking in our beautiful mountains .. next time you must try Silvermine.

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