Hiking Lion’s Head In Cape Town, South Africa

Lions Head (1) Mack Prioleau

Lion’s Head is a mountain in Cape Town, South Africa, located between Table Mountain and Signal Hill. Lion’s Head, which peaks at 2,195 feet, is a great half-day hike that provides amazing views of the city of Cape Town and the Atlantic Seaboard.

Originally, the Dutch settlers had named the peak Leeuwen Kop (Lion’s Head) and it’s counterpart, Signal Hill, was referred to as Leeuqen Staart (Lion’s Tail). The two mountains the the space between them closely resembles a crouching lion or a sphinx.

The composition of the mountain, from the rocks to the flowers is both equally beautiful and interesting to observe. The lower portion of Lion’s Head was formed by the Cape Granite and the Malmesbury formation, while the upper peak consists of flat-lying sandstone.

While hiking Lion’s Head, you will be sure to see some people paragliding off the mountain. The slopes and idea wind conditions make it a very popular launching point for the paragliders as you can see in the video below.

The mountain has unique and rich biodiversity, with three main types that are vegetation that can only be found in Cape Town. Granite Fynbos, an endangered vegetation, can be found all along the hike. Peninsula Shale Renosterveld, which is critically endangered, can be found on the lower slopes towards Signal Hill. Sandstone Fynbos, which is also endangered, can be found on the summit of Lion’s Head.

The hike takes a few hours and can be quite challenging. The climb begins at Signal Hill Road, at the base of Forestry Road and winds around the head to a section with chains. The chains have been added to assist climbers over the steep, rocky section of the mountain. You can bypass the route with chains and take an alternative route, but this climb is challenging as well.

Check out some pictures from my hike up Lion’s Head here:

  • Lions Head (1) Mack Prioleau
    Lions Head (2) Mack Prioleau
    Lions Head (3) Mack Prioleau

  • Lions Head (4) Mack Prioleau
    Lions Head (5) Mack Prioleau