Hiking Lion’s Head: A Cape Town Classic


The Mother City’s mane event!

Looming above Cape Town and the surrounding ocean like a sentinel, Lion’s Head is an iconic piece of the city’s wondrous topography. At 669 metres above sea level, its peak offers panoramas of the city, Table Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, making it a wildly popular destination for hiking enthusiasts (and a top spot for Instagrammers).

Full moon rising

Full Moon Hike

Full moon is a particularly exquisite time to climb Lion’s Head: a trail of torchlit “ants” winds its way around the contour paths and is nothing short of spectacular. Once on top, the views continue to dazzle.

2023 full moon calendar
7 January
5 February
7 March
6 April
5 May
4 June
3 July
1 August
31 August
29 September
28 October
27 November
27 December

Lion’s Head hiking trail: duration and difficulty

It’s no wonder the Lion’s Head trail is the most popular among the Cape’s many hikes: it’s relatively short, offers a great workout, and the views from the summit are well worth the trip.

A relatively short hike lasting around two to three hours, the trail winds its way around the mountain, offering incredible views along the way (which pale in comparison to what’s visible from the top).

The route is clearly marked, and most of it can be easily traversed by foot (the path from the parking lot runs uphill for quite a while, offering a particularly good workout). There is a little rock scrambling as you near the summit, but the only part of the trail that could be considered intimidating are the metal ladders and climbing chains required to ascend the rock face at one point. Thankfully, these can be skipped via a roundabout footpath.

Lion's Head

Where to start the Lion’s Head hike

The hike conveniently begins at the Lion’s Head parking lot, which can be reached via the Lion’s Head / Signal Hill turn-off from Kloof Nek Road. From there, make your way up to the summit and back down again.

Is it child-friendly? Yes, although they’ll probably want to avoid the climbing chains (and rock scrambling near the end of the trail)

Is it dog-friendly? Yes, provided you have a permit and your dog is kept on a leash.

Please note Mountain-biking is not permitted; fines will be imposed.

Important note
Although the Cape is rich in natural beauty, tourists and locals alike are urged to take necessary precautions when exploring secluded areas, as crime and accidents do happen. Those venturing out in Table Mountain National Park should have the following emergency numbers on hand: 086 110 6417/ 107 or 021 480 7700. Crime incidents should be reported to the nearest police station as soon as possible.

We also recommend @safetymountain as a useful resource for hikers. This free safety tracking service allows you to notify local trackers of your contact details, intended route and travel time via WhatsApp. You are then able to provide hourly updates on your progress, and to notify trackers when you are safely off the mountain.

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Lion’s Head Signal Hill Road Signal Hill Cape Town


021 422 1601 (Kloofnek Office)
021 712 0527, Table.Mountain@sanparks.org
TMNP emergency numbers: 086 110 6417/ 107 or 021 480 7700


The Inside Guide has made every effort to ensure that the information in this post was correct at the time of publication. However, we do not assume any liability caused by errors, such as price, cost, time, and location.

Time of publication: 17 January 2023