Lion’s Head sunset and moon rise hikes are probably some of the most popular outdoors activities in Cape Town. Whilst we know that most full moon hikers stick to the rules and use their common sense, some don’t – resulting in unnecessary injuries, a mountain (literally) of trash, the deterioration of the already eroded trail, and illegally parked cars blocking of Signal Hill road. We have compiled a list of tips, dos and don’ts to make your Lion’s Head full moon hike more enjoyable for you and everyone else.
- Don’t park on both sides of Signal Hill Road. This causes unnecessary traffic jams, preventing emergency services from coming through in case of an accident. You could be putting lives at risk! Rather, park your car at the Kloofnek Parking on the corner of Tafelberg Road and Kloofnek Road Tafelberg Road, and walk up, or even better: use Uber
- Bring a torch, preferably a head lamp. Your phone’s torch may not be bright enough and your battery may die en route. Head torches are great because they allow you to keep your hands free in case you slip and have to hold on to something. You can buy them at Cape Union Mart or Sportsman’s Warehouse for the price of a burger and a refreshment.
- Wear proper footwear. The need for proper footwear is especially important in the light of the eroded trails. It may save your ankle. Sneakers/tekkies are good enough.
- Carry enough water, particularly in summer. In summer, temperatures in Cape Town can easily soar to 35 degrees, and it often stays warm until the night falls. Carry enough water (minimum 1.5 liter) to see you down, particularly if you are not used to the heat. Every year, scores of Lion’s Head hikers end up being cared for by Search & Rescue personnel due to dehydration and heatstroke. We recommend half a liter per person for every half an hour on the trail. If you are taking your dog along (which we don’t recommend due to the many people), think of him/her too. Dogs need water as much as humans.
- Stay on the path. Don’t be impatient and bypass people who are waiting at the chains, trees, ladders, and other bottlenecks. This further deteriorates the already severely eroded paths (this is one of the reasons Lion’s Head will close between 7 Jan and 15 Feb 2019). You may also slip, fall, and injure yourself (or step on a snake), possibly requiring emergency assistance. You may also push someone else off the mountain.
- Wally’s Cave is strictly off limits and permanently closed due to the safety risk associated with this severely eroded informal trail. Over the past few years, several people have been airlifted with very bad injuries, and at least one person has died. For this reason the route has been clearly signed posted as under rehab with NO access. Please adhere to the rules. You will face a R5000-fine if you don’t comply.
- Do not litter. Whatever you bring up Lion’s Head should come down. Whilst the Love Our Trails crew is doing a phenomenal job with their post-full moon clean-ups, they have better things to do than picking up after you. So don’t be lazy, please pack a plastic bag in your backpack for your rubbish, and carry it down the mountain (and please tell others to do the same). That also counts for fruit peels and tissues.
- No graffiti! Lion’s Head, or any other mountain for that matter, is not your personal graffiti canvas. Leave those markers at home and take pictures instead. .
- Don’t smoke. The Hikers Network is a non-smoking hiking community, so we kindly ask people not to smoke on the trail. Smoking in Table Mountain National Park is only allowed on designated areas (in the case of Lions Head: at road level). This is because Cape Town faces wildfires every year, some of which are caused by smoldering cigarette butts. If you insist on smoking, please carry your extinguished butts down the mountain. Animals may confuse these very toxic items for food and die as a result.
- Don’t feed the Dassies. Dassies or Rock Hyraxes are super cute, and feeding them may be tempting. The problem is that human food makes them ill, so please don’t.
- Leave your drone at home. The whole of the Table Mountain range is a drone-free zone, meaning drones are 100% prohibited. Please see SANParks’s website for more information. Breaking the law may result in hefty fines and arrest.
- Be considerate. Not everyone wants to hear your music.
- Bring warm clothing for at the top. Temperatures may drop once the sun sets and the weather can change quickly, also in summer. Be prepared for this.
- Know who to call in case of an emergency! Store all relevant emergency numbers in your phone.
- Have SafetyMountain Tracking track you on your hike.
Should you have any questions, comments, or feedback, please contact our content manager and spokesperson Miriam Mannak.
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