Western Cape Tourist AttractionsLion's Head
Where? Table Mountain National Park, Cape Town, South Africa
South Africa is frequently represented by the iconic Table Mountain, Lionís Head and Devilís Peak, which grace the horizon of the Mother City. The mountains loom over the City Bowl of Cape Town, and provide the breath-taking backdrop to millions of treasured holiday photographs.
Lionís Head is flanked by Table Mountain and Signal Hill, and was so named by the first Dutch explorers, who arrived in the 1600ís and were of the opinion that the mountain and Signal Hill together resembled a lion in the crouching position. At its highest point, Lionís Head is 669 metres above sea level.
It is a very popular hiking and climbing mountain, and is frequented by Western Cape locals as well as by its visitors. The trails are relatively easy to manage, although there are some spots that require concentration and basic fitness. However, because Lionís Head promises such spectacular all-round views of Cape Town, the Atlantic Seaboard and Table Bay, the effort is well worth the exquisite reward. The only time that a climb should not be attempted is in the case of strong winds or cloud covering the mountain.
The hike starts with a fairly steep incline, and then levels out. A contour path is longer, but easier and more level. The shortcut includes a collection of ladders and chains that are used to climb steep sections of rock face. While these are manageable and safely secured, they are not quite as easy to conquer in the dark. So, those who are not 100% comfortable with them are advised to take the contour path instead.
It has become a popular trend for hundreds of hikers from around the world to climb to the top of Lionís Head on full moon. Once at the top, they enjoy their picnic baskets while the sun sets and the city below comes alive with lights and the irresistible night vibe.
Lionís Head and its neighbour, Signal Hill, are also historically and culturally relevant. There are a number of Malay shines and graves on the lower rocky slopes, giving the entire area an air of nostalgia and import.