Calling all hiking enthusiasts, we’ve got some exciting news to share – Lion’s Head will officially re-open to the public on the 9th of September 2020. This means keen hikers will finally be able to take on the slopes of the ever-popular Lion’s Head once again, and we couldn’t be more thrilled!
In a statement released by South African National Parks (SANParks) announcing the re-opening of Lion’s Head, they outlined the various protocols that should be adhered to in order to ensure a safe and enjoyable hiking experience for all.
The following protocols have been put in place:
- Rangers will be positioned at various entry points to check that all hikers are compliant with the COVID-19 regulations stipulated by the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC).
- Limitations of user numbers may be imposed at the sergeant ranger’s discretion.
- Social distancing of at least 1.5m should be maintained at all times.
- Hikers accessing the summit must wear their masks at all times. No mask – no entry!
- Hikers must sanitize their hands before and after making use of the staples/ladder and/or chain area of Lion’s Head.
- Picnicking and gathering in social groups is not allowed at this time.
“We encourage all users to adhere to the regulations imposed by the NCC and SANParks to avoid possible re-closure of the iconic summit” – SANParks
LION’S HEAD HIKE OVERVIEW
Easy – Moderate
Low – Moderate
Length of the trail both ways is 5,5 km (3,4 miles)
Car park on Signal Hill Road
Lion’s Head Summit
1 – 3 hours (depending on fitness level)
The Lion’s Head hiking trail is easy to spot – once you’re at the car park on Signal Hill Road, look across the parking lot for a wide, red gravel trail. The route is clearly marked, making for a great hiking experience.
There are two routes that lead to the Lion’s Head summit – The left route, also known as the spiral route, and the right route, which is considered the steeper, more challenging route.
Left Route: The easier, safer spiral route
This route is the safest and easiest way to reach the Lion’s Head summit. The trail going up Lion’s head is referred to as a screwtop/spiral, which essentially means that you will be circling the mountain to get to the top. Not only does it make for an easier hike, but it provides you with incredible panoramic views right throughout.
If you choose to take the spiral route on the left, you will follow a roundabout footpath all the way to the summit, avoiding the steep ascents and descents as well as the chains and ladders altogether. The Lion’s Head spiral trail is the recommended route for first-time hikers, anyone that’s afraid of heights, has a below average level of fitness, as well as families with young kids and/or dogs.
Right Route: The more challenging route
The route to the right is perfect for avid hikers, thrill seekers and adventurers looking to enjoy an exhilarating hike up Lion’s Head. As it’s a faster, more challenging climb to the top, you will need to conquer several steps and make use of chains and ladders to reach the summit. You will also need to negotiate with a few sheer rock faces, which is bound to get all the thrill seekers excited! Once you reach the summit, you’re free to roam, take it all in, enjoy the fruits of your labour and admire the spectacular view – it is truly unbeatable!
STAYING SAFE WHEN HIKING
Here are some important safety tips when hiking Lion’s Head:
- Always wear the appropriate hiking gear and shoes. Take a lightweight, wind and waterproof jacket with a hood, sunglasses, sunscreen, and a hat along. Cape Town is known for its wild and unpredictable weather patterns – its therefore important to be prepared for anything.
- Take enough water along on your hike – Around 1.5 litres per person should be ample.
- Avoid hiking alone – the ideal number of hikers is a group of four. It is essential to never split from your chosen hiking group – there is always safety in numbers.
- It’s a great idea to nominate a leader to guide you and make decisions on behalf of the group as well as to set the appropriate pace of the hike according to the slowest hiker.
- Plan your route accordingly and always stick to the trail.
- Make sure you choose the right route based on your group’s overall fitness and experience level.
- Always allow for enough time to ascend and descend. Make sure you factor in additional time for water breaks, exploring the summit and taking some time to enjoy and appreciate the experience.
- Take note of signs that warn of danger ahead! And most importantly, DON’T ignore them!
- Be observant and mindful of changes in the weather. Turn back if bad weather threatens, rock surfaces become too slippery, conditions become too dangerous to continue or if you’re battling on the chosen route. Don’t just push through for the sake of trying to make it to the top. You never know if and when things can take a turn for the worst.
- In an emergency, find a spot that offers some form of shelter from the threatening weather conditions. Never try to continue climbing in heavy mist, fog, rain, or potentially dangerous conditions.
- If you get lost, retrace your steps. If you can’t find your original path, move down broad, open slopes.
- Always ensure that someone knows exactly which route you intend on taking and when you expect to return (do not deviate from this plan).
- Avoid flashing cash, jewellery, watches, cameras, and devices on your hike. In the unfortunate event of a mugging, do not resist attackers. Stay calm and hand over your valuables to avoid a violent altercation. Report any criminal incidents to the nearest police station.
- Save emergency numbers on your phone before your hike. The main emergency number is 086 110 6417.
While it’s important to keep these guidelines and tips in mind, remember to have fun and enjoy the adventure, spectacular scenery, sensational views, and hidden gems along the way! Hiking up Lion’s Head is most certainly an exciting tick off your Cape Town bucket-list! Have a look at our ‘Hiking Lion’s Head’ blog for everything you need to know about hiking this top Cape Town trail.