As most people know by now, Lion’s Head is closed and it will remain closed until 15 February 2019. Unfortunately, there are many conflicting and often inaccurate reports doing the rounds. This made us call Saskia Marlowe, Table Mountain National Parks’ (TMNP) Hospitality Services, Film and Events Manager, for some REAL facts.
HN: Are all trails closed, or only the spiral path?
SM: All paths on Lion’s Head are closed, including the circular trail around the base, the footpath starting at the bottom of Signal Hill Road leading up to the boom or coffee van, the trail starting from the Kramat, the two paths from the Glen, the spiral path, the trails starting on the Atlantic side, etc. Wally’s Cave, obviously, remains strictly off limits too. Note: access is restricted day and night. Signal Hill remains accessible.
We ask people to respect the closure and allow us to continue with the much-needed maintenance work that is urgently required.
HN: How are you making sure people are kept away from Lion’s Head?
SM: SANParks is patrolling the entire area around Lion’s Head to ensure that visitors do not access the site. We are also patrolling around the base to prevent people from attempting to avoid our teams at the main entry point.
HN: What are the consequences of breaking the rules?
SM: We can issue fines for contravention of the closure but would prefer that people afford the park the opportunity to get the work done with minimum conflict.
HN: Can members of the general public report hikers who break the rules?
SM: Yes, please call 021 422 1601 (our Kloofnek Office) and ask for Hilton Blumeris or Bradley Wana. Please report location and route up, number of people, time of day. There will also be staff at the main entry point to Lions head they could talk to.
People may also stop in there and meet the Visitor Safety team and Chat to them on site.
HN: Why is closing Lion’s Head necessary?
SM: The aim of the work is to improve the longevity of the trail, safeguard the safety of hikers as well as the environmental protection of the Lion’s Head.
HN: What will happen over the next few weeks, maintenance wise?
- Closing the many illegal footpaths.
- Rehab of the many illegal footpaths
- Signage to ensure visitors are directed along the correct trail
- Rehabilitation of the existing spiral trail
- Resetting of the steps
- Infrastructure upgrade: two ladders to be installed to allow two-way traffic
- Resurfacing of part of the summit
HN: Why closing Lion’s Head now, when it is so busy?
SM: The work needs to be done before the rain commences and hence we could not delay the commencement of the work beyond the real height of tourist season.
In addition, the reality is that Lion’s Head is such a well visited site by locals and foreigners alike that there is no quiet or better time when work may occur on site.
HN: Anything else you would like to add?
SM: We appreciate that not being able to hike in one of the most beautiful locations in the world is frustrating, and we hope that when the work is complete not only will Lion’s Head be safer but also offer everyone a better experience.
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