Thursday, October 13, 2016

Best Hike in Cape Town

 On this past trip to Cape Town we took a break from scuba diving with fur seals and rare nudibranchs to get a little exercise and do some hiking. Cape Town has a plethora of hiking options with the most famous being a day hike up the picturesque Table Mountain. This national landmark makes the covers of all the calendars and post cards but what a lot of people don't know is that most of those pictures of Table Mountain are taken from on top another nearby mountain called Lion's Head.

Training for Hawaii, hiking Lion's Head in my locals
   Lion's Head has an easy access parking area on a windy turnoff past the more popular table mountain. The hiking trail can take anywhere from a couple hours for the very fit to a half day for a meandering group. The view on the trail is constantly changing since the path wraps around the mountain as it gains elevation. One moment you are looking out at the ocean, the next you are looking down upon the many buildings in Cape Town, then you are peering off at the infamous Robbin Island where Nelson Mandela was held prisoner, and finally Table Mountain and the 12 apostles range come into view.

Going vertical
  Another great thing about the Lion's Head hike is that some parts of the trail offer an almost bouldering/rock climbing experience. Wonderful handholds and footholds are secured into the rocks as your travel pretty vertically up the mountain. There is an easier, longer way around but for the adventurous looking for something to spice up their hike this is a can't miss. The pictures from this part of the trail really capture how vertical you have to go and the distance down.

Standing tall on Lion's Head
  The final push to the rocky summit is a fun challenge and you will no doubt have locals on their way down offering you luck for the final push. Once you reach the summit the views will take your breath away. From up here I can easily understand why Cape Town constantly makes the list of 'best cities to live in' from around the world. Both Heidi and I commented on how much we enjoy the city and how beautiful it is. After a short respite and photo session at the top we head back down to make our way out to Gansbaii for some great white shark cage diving!

Local hiker overlooking Cape Town
Heidi on her way down

Looking south along the Twelve Apostles Range
Colorful beach huts in Muizenberg

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