Hike up Lions Head from Signal Hill

I will be the first to admit the Lions Head is not my favourite hike, but for a quick morning hike with friends and or kids it’s not a bad option. I personally find it way to busy and just to many inconsiderate people who don’t let the fast hikers pass or give others a turn on the narrow sections or ladders unless someone bossy like me comes along and tells them to wait their turn. However it is, at present, still one of the safer hiking routes if you go alone or as a mom with her kids. BUT ALWAYS be aware of what goes on around you!

We like to start early but for some reason even at 6.30 am was already hectically busy, so we drove up further towards Signal hill and decided to started off near the Mosque Dargan Karamat along the steep narrow slope winding up past the two canons along the North side of Lions Head. Not sure why we have not hiked up this way before because it is so much nicer than the usual path everyone uses.

Our plan was to go up the chains and then down via the contour path but when we reached the chains the group of people were already arguing as to taking turns, so we just too the more scenic route up the side.

The top was crowded with people, but the view from there is always magical and I find most people to be happy, friendly and relaxed to also be at the top enjoying the view. We stayed for about 30 minutes to have our coffee a snack, take pictures and then headed back down.

My friend and her daughter have not been to any of the caves and now that Wally’s Cave is closed to public, (I was told there is a fine of R5000 if found there) I took her to one of the smaller ones along the main path.  TheWatchman’s Cave on Lion’s Head is just off the main path, overlooking Signal Hill, Sea Point and the City Bowl. It’s small but offers plenty of cool shade and photo opportunities. Just a pity we had to clean out the rubbish left behind by previous visitors.

We have never seen these cannons before so we decided to stop on our way down and I did some googling to find out a bit more… “They are English 6 pounder guns cast by Gordon Stanley & Co in about 1770. They have the crest of King George III and the Master of the Ordnance on them. During Dutch times there were two guns somewhere in that area which were used to relay signals from Lions Head to the Castle when a ship was sighted. The original guns were removed in the 1800’s and nobody knows where they have been moved to but two rusted guns were found behind the Sea Point Town Hall in 1957 and these were assumed to be the guns that were against Lions Head. The Cannon Association of SA Council moved the guns to their present site and built the terrace and carriages for them.”

In future this will be my new route up and down Lions Head. I can’t decide if it’s steeper or not, but it definitely felt shorter and we had no parking problems. 😊

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