Hiking Lion's Head, South Africa - A photographers gem
The absolute best thing about the city of Cape Town has to be how accessible it is to immerse yourself in Nature. From the whimsical Kirstenbosch Gardens, the beautiful beaches and the insane amount of hiking trails, there is something for everyone. I love that you can drive between 10 - 30 Minutes in most directions and you're bound to be near a hiking trail, it's like a dream! The best of both worlds, City and Nature all on your front doorstep. One of the most notable and well-known trails and mountains other than the infamous Table Mountain is Lion's Head.
I think I have managed to schedule in some time to do this hike almost every time I have visited the city and never once has it disappointed.
1 - Proximity: Lion's Head is right in the heart of the city, just behind Signal Hill and next to Table Mountain. Squished in between the CBD, Sea Point and Camps Bay. From any of these locations it's a quick 10 minute drive up to the parking lot. This also makes it the perfect before work / after work trail.
2 - Hike Duration: The hike is not a long one, at just over 5kms it can take as quick as 1.5 hours to complete! If like me you are stopping multiple times to take photos from every angle, it's more like 2-2.5 hours. If you are not an avid hiker but love photography and a great view, this is the perfect hike.
3 - Cost: Lions Head is absolutely free! Jip, no entrance fees what so ever, so if you want to do the hike everyday for training purposes or to practice your photography, it is completely doable and won't affect your pocket.
A PHOTOGRAPHERS GEM
The views from the mountain are magnificent. You are on top of the entire city and have 360 degree views that stretch as far as places like Bloubergstrand or Llandudno.
I have a few favourites that I snap photos of every time I do the hike:
1 - Signal Hill: At one point you are standing directly above signal hill and you can get some really cool photos of the hill leading down to Greenpoint and then the ocean.
2 - Table Mountain: As you come almost 360 degrees around the loop of the mountain you are all of a sudden faced with the epicness of Table Mountain. At sunset it is basked in a gorgeous golden light that makes it look that much more epic.
3 - The 12 Apostles: This is the mountain range behind Table Mountain and Camps Bay. It spans as far as the eye can see with its ripples and ridges adding amazing texture to any photos.
4 - Camps Bay: The whole of Camps Bay is laid out below you, with its rocky ocean outcrops and clear ocean waters, you could sit for hours just staring at the activity below.
5 - Cape Town CBD: This one is truly magical right after sunset when all the lights are glimmering below. The city comes alive with the nightlife and blurring lights.
6 - Those Ocean Sunsets: Cape Town is absolutely infamous for its amazing ocean sunsets. Many of which can be seen from Sea Point Promenade. Seeing them from on top of the mountain though is something magical.
As far as downsides go the only one I can think of straight off is that the trail does get really busy at peak times as it is a well-known tourist location. But hey, sharing is caring right, everyone in the world should get to experience all the beauties our country has to offer.
If you are from Cape Town, South Africa or you are an international planning a trip to SA soon, definitely add Lions Head to your agenda!