One of the Best Day Hikes in the World: Lion’s Head in Cape Town, South Africa

It’s not everyday that you get an opportunity to hike up a mountain, so when we were finalizing our nearly three-week trip to Cape Town, South Africa, we were thinking about whether or not we were going to do the hike up Lion’s Head. 

Photo below was taken a day before, from the entrance to Table Mountain’s Cable Car 

I had read online that some called this one of the toughest trails out there, and I wasn’t sure if I was ready to do it given my fitness level – or lack thereof. It took me to the time when we were contemplating if we were going to do this hike in Norway, which you can read about here: The Must-Do in Ålesund: Sugarlump Mountain. After conquering that mountain (literally), I felt like it was one of the most rewarding experiences ever; so I realized that hiking up Lion’s Head was an opportunity I surely didn’t want to pass up.

Cape Town Lion’s Head Sunset Hike Tour Details:

  • Price (per person) – from US$74.49
  • Duration – Approximately 3-4 hours
  • Tour Departure Time – 2:30PM, depending on the season
  • Pick-Up Place – Premier Paragliding 2, Signal Hill Road (beside the red food truck)
  • Group Size – Private; we had the tour guide all to ourselves

Itinerary:

After taking an Uber from our hotel in the city center to Premier Paragliding 2 along Signal Hill Road, located at the foot of Lion’s Head, we met up with our private tour guide – ready to conquer the trek. Right at the start of the trail, you’ll already get a fantastic panoramic view of Cape Town, as pictured below. Of course, the closer you get to the summit, the more incredible the views get. This photo was taken during one of our earlier stops, overlooking Camps Bay, which is actually one of the country’s most affluent suburbs – need I explain? Throughout the hike, you’ll get a mix of views of different parts of the city, the Twelve Apostles mountain range, the ocean, and of course Table Mountain. I have to admit, I’ve always been a tad fearful of heights, and this was one of my worries from the very beginning, knowing we’d be walking along the edge of the mountain; but not only the views, but the experience itself made me forget about the fact that we were hundreds of meters above sea level. Along the trek, you’ll have about three or four opportunities to take a quick break or more importantly, have a few photo stops. And again, though I doubt it would still be necessary for me to say it, but no matter where we were during the hike, everywhere we looked felt like it came out of a painting. 
It would be unfair for me not to admit that there were times when I thought I wouldn’t make it to the top, not because I felt tired, but because I didn’t know if I was strong enough or had enough balance to make it up several rocks and not crack my head & die (I’m not even kidding). Neverless, I pressed on. Approximately 90 or so minutes in, we reached the summit; just as it is for every mountain, both literally & figuratively, the sense of achievement is always worth the climb – regardless of the challenges you came across along the way. Here we were, rewarded with absolutely stunning views of Cape Town and its breathtaking landscapes, as well as the fulfillment of having conquered Lion’s Head. After spending some time at the summit, we made our way back down, which would last another hour & a half – plus or minus. Then, we were met by the gorgeous golden hour, with striking views of the rest of Cape Town & its surrounding areas.  This made me realize that we made the right choice of hiking Lion’s Head during sunset (other options include sunrise & early afternoon).By the time we’d arrived at the end of the trek, it was nighttime. Ended the trip with a glass of fruit juice, which we grabbed from the food truck located right by the start of the trail, and were given a complimentary drop-off at our hotel care of our tour guide.  

Summary:

If this isn’t enough to convince you to put this excursion on your list, then I don’t know what else will: let me tell you that this has got to be my top experience in South Africa, tied with the Safari we did later on during the trip (more on that in another post) & definitely in my top 5 experiences around the world to date. Yes, it was difficult – but definitely nothing impossible if you’re somewhat into outdoor or physical activities. So again… if you’ve already got that trip to Cape Town booked, then make sure you don’t miss out on this outdoor adventure that’ll surely be one of your best memories yet!