Lion's Head; by sun and by moon.
Very few people can say that they have seen the sun set and moon rise at the same time. Well, in Cape Town, you can.
Safari365 is passionate about Africa, Cape Town, and the outdoors. We took it in our stride, this week, to do a sunrise and full moon hike up Lion’s head – to show you, first hand, just how life-enriching this Mother City is.
Our intrepid team, striving to beat the early birds, met at Lion’s head parking lot on Signal Road. Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, we started our ascent. If you are fit, it should take just over an hour, but if you budget 1 1/2h one way you can take your time. It’s your experience, your hike, your stride. Unfortunately, we were too slow for the eager sun, and by 6:30am it was already light and hot, so wearing a hat and sunscreen is a good idea.
The unique sound of the cicada beetles in the fauna around us seemed to be loudly cheering us on, as we continued on the winding trial; which is easily navigable and takes you up and around the mountain before reaching a steady ascent to the peak. The trail is relatively easy for first time-time hikers, but a hike wouldn’t be a hike without the challenge. After about 40mins (we couldn’t resist stopping to take in unlimited views from all angles) we reached half-way. At this point there are two options; to either go around the mountain, or (for adventurists at heart), opt for the wild ladder and chains. It does sound more daunting than it really is, but we decided on the more gradual walk around – which is still not for the fainthearted and you’ll definitely still feel like a rock dassie climbing, jumping and tackling rocks and ledges.
Continuing our trek upwards, we were touched and amazed to bump into so many locals, and visitors alike, who have clearly found themselves hooked to the delight that comes with watching the sun rise over Cape Town. It made us realize how mornings like these, the little adventures in life are the ones that make people the happiest.
We took a short breather, before starting the final ascent – all eagerly awaiting what would face us on top of the peak. When overcoming that last little stretch, that last rock and stepping on the top, you are literally taken aback by the most breathtaking 360 degree view of Cape Town. Very few words are able to describe this experience! These views of the city bowl and Atlantic Seaboard; from the City Bowl, Table Mountain and Devil’s Peak, to the Twelve Apostle Mountain range, the Camps Bay and Clifton Beaches, to Robben Island and the V&A Waterfront – are painted in a range of colours that fade into the turquoise of the Atlantic.
It took us a while to truly take this all in, and once our breathes were restored (and we’d each had our own very unique moment) we rested on the top enjoying some nibbles, fresh water and each other’s company. In that moment we appreciated how lucky we are to have a city that allows us opportunities like this to clear our minds and soul, before the chaotic lives that we all lead take over each day.
The real excitement came when we tackled the peak during full moon. We were amazed at the amount of people that followed suite in adding a little mystery to the hike; needless to say there were crowds and so it is best to be prepared for this. If anything, however, the crowds and like-minded people added to the excitement and camaraderie of it all; we were surrounded by small groups of people enjoying their various snacks, sipping on wine and being amazed while the sun set in Camps Bay and the full moon rose over Cape Town.
Everyone seemed to stop, overwhelmed and totally stunned by what can only be described as a truly surreal experience. Simply put; as the sunset washes the sky with orange, the moon rises slowly over the east – pink and golden skies cover everything in a warm breathtaking blanket of colour. In witnessing this; it is as if your soul is sighing.
As the colours slowly start to fade and the night sky takes over the city lights surrounding the mountain start to blink like thousands of brightly coloured fire-flies below, and the peak is lit up like a Christmas tree. We realized we would need to slowly make our way back down, also bearing in mind it would take a little longer with the crowds. After two truly remarkable experiences, torch lights and head lamps all set (very important) we started the descent…leaving only our footprints behind.
This is undoubtedly a bucket-list item for tourists who have not yet visited this magical city; an experience in and of itself.
Things to remember:
Sunscreen, hat, walking shoes, camera, water, snacks, and a torch/head lamp for the full moon hike.
For detailed information regarding full moon times in Cape Town for the rest of the year,