Lion’s Head

My parents finally returned from their safari, and although I now had quite a busy social calendar with all my new friends, I still wanted to go hiking with my mom. The weather looked great the morning of her last day, so we set off for the Lion’s Head trailhead, the second most popular hike in Cape Town after Table Mountain.

We arrived to a food truck coffee shop, a handful of sweaty people resting at the bottom, who surely did a sunrise hike, and two trails, one to the right, and a wider one to the left. We chose the right side path. It was a gradual incline, and we were the only people taking that path. My mom asked me if we were going the right way, which is usually a valid question when I am leading since I have a tendency to explore more than I intended, which is a eloquent way to say I often get lost.

We were on the right path, at least, we were on a path that went to the Lion’s Head summit. We zig zagged up the mountain and admired views of Camps Bay and Clifton, two areas where I spent significant time on their beautiful (and crowded) beaches the past two weeks. Eventually, we arrived at another fork, this time with signs confirming our location. We met the masses at this point and looked back fondly at the empty trail.

The hike soon became more challenging, with light scrambling. There was a group of about 10 people behind me now, and I felt like a tour guide. Unlike a tour guide, I started to go right at a fork, and then stood aside to let everyone pass. It turned out that I led everyone astray, and the path dead ended. My mom and I doubled back and were once again leading. We climbed two old steel ladders, worn from thousands of people climbing them and many boulders. There was a more difficult and direct route, with long, thick chains bolted into the cliff face to assisting hikers climbing the peak, and an easier route the we opted for because it was less crowded and I don’t believe that you should have to wait in lines when you are hiking.

This route was also crowded, but less so. We eventually arrived on the summit and soaked in the sun and the panoramic views of Cape Town and Table Mountain with 30 of our fellow hikers. Next time I will start in the dark to arrive at sunrise since the views are spectacular, justifying the crowds. The descent was uneventful, and we took the easy route down again, but then opted for the fork we had not yet explored. It was less beautiful because it basically was a dirt road. The people watching was prime, however, the highlight being a guy wearing a polo and nice slacks, on what looked like a first date. I can’t imagine there was a second, since he seemed to be trying a little too hard.

We stopped at the mobile coffee shop at the bottom and enjoyed a coffee and a muffin while we waited to the Uber. It was my mom’s last day, so we went out for a lovely lunch in The Waterfront and enjoyed spending some quality time together before her flight, both of us ready to plan a return trip to this magical city to tackle more hikes.

2 thoughts on “Lion’s Head

  1. Hi Travis,
    While reading your blog, I was reminded of the Robert Frost poem “two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
    I took the one less traveled by,
    And that has made all the difference.” which is actually just the END of the poem, but anyway.
    I love the pictures! What a magical place (in spite of sharing it with 30 other people.)


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