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Alternative Trails to Lions Head

Alternative Trails to Lions Head

Jan 2019

Pics by Shaen Adey

Lion’s Head will be closed for maintenance from 7th January 2018 to 15th February 2019. So, hikers and trail runners, you’d better start thinking about alternative routes. SANParks offers this advice, and some alternative trails.

If you wish to hike in an alternative location or plan to hike elsewhere on Table Mountain please note the following:

Please ensure that you
• depart with adequate time for your hike: Both UP and DOWN before sunset
• always walk in group. We do not recommend hiking alone or in small groups
• have told somebody about the route you plan to follow, and when to expect you home 
• leave all your valuables at home before commencing a hike
• do not leave valuables in your car

... and ensure that you have:
• a map and information about your route (Recommended Maps: Slingsby Maps
• proper protection from the sun, including hats and sunscreen
• a supply of water with you: At least 2L of water on hot summer days 
• a warm and windproof jacket as the weather on the mountain changes very quickly.
• if you are likely to likely to return close to sunset time, a small torch
• proper footwear: closed shoes with firm grip. No sandals or flops. 

Note: Heatstroke is an incredibly dangerous phenomenon in our summer months, and hikers are advised to plan accordingly. We suggest that all first-time visitors to Cape Town hike with a knowledgeable guide to ensure that you do not get lost or injured on the mountain. There are locations across the mountain that have been the site of criminal activity and we request that you observe the warning signage that is in place across the park.

Suggested alternatives:

Pipe Track Walk: (30mins – 2h)

Fitness required: Moderate
Park: At the Kloof Nek information centre, or the access point at Theresa Avenue, Camps Bay.
Description: Walks of various lengths can be done on the level contour path, with fantastic sunset views. Return the same way.
Notes: Numerous ravines lead from the Pipe Track and upwards. Many are dangerous, or are dead-ends. Please observe signage, and do not attempt ravines beyond your skills. Remember it is more difficult and dangerous to climb up, than it is to climb down.

Contour Path Walks: (1h – 1.5h)

Fitness required: Moderate
Park: at the first ‘Water Treatment’ access on Tafelberg road, at the Cable Car, at the Platteklip Gorge Trailhead or the Devil’s Peak Trailhead.
Description: Various combinations to explore. Ascend the short steep paths to the contour path, and then explore the level contour path. Return the same way, or descend a similar, signposted path to Tafelberg Road.
Notes: Numerous unmarked ravines lead up the mountain. Beware, as many of these become increasingly steep before becoming dead-ends.

Other moderate walks: (30mins – 2h)

For other moderate walks, users are encouraged to explore various circular walks in:
Cecilia Forest
Tokai Forest 
Silvermine Nature Reserve (swimming options)
The SeaPoint Promenade is also popular for walking, running and cycling with stunning seaside views
Constantia Green Belts

Platteklip Gorge : (2 hours one-way, 3.5 hours total)

Fitness required: Strong
Park: On Tafelberg Road at the ‘Platteklip Gorge’ trailhead.
Description: This trail takes a steep and direct hike up the mountain. Return the same way, or ride the cablecar down. 
Alternative trails while Lions Head is closed for maintenance  Remember the cablecar charges a fee (R190 one-way) and may close without warning, so hikers MUST be prepared to walk down. The gorge is in direct sun for most of the day, so start early.

Kasteelpoort Hike (3hours)

Fitness required: Moderate to strong
Park: At the access point at Theresa Avenue, Camps Bay.
Description: Follow signs to the Pipe Track, and then the clearly marked ‘Kasteelspoort’ path that ascends the twelve Apostles. (NB Use the correctly signed path –many others are dangerous)
Notes: About 1hour up the trail hikers will find a level terrace named ‘breakfast rock’ – a fantastic place for breakfast or sundowners. Another 1h of hiking leads to the historic reservoirs. Return the same way. (3h total) If hikers start early, from the top of Kasteelspoort hikers can hike to the upper Cable Car station, but this is a significant undertaking to be planned in advance. Remember the Cable Car may close without warning.

Devil Peak Summit, or Saddle ( 4hrs; or 2.5hrs for the Saddle) 

Fitness required: Strong
Park: On Tafelberg Road, at the parking before the chain barrier.
Description: Follow the zig-zag path that ascends to the saddle between Devil’s Peak and Table Mountain. At the saddle, turn left and climb the steep slope to the summit.
Notes: Please stay out of erosion ditches. This hike becomes very hot in the midday and afternoon, so start early.

Constantia Nek Jeep-Track to Reservoirs. (4 hours)

Fitness required: Moderate
Park: At Constantia Nek
Description: A long jeep-track meanders to the ‘back table’ and to 5 historic water reservoirs (no swimming). Return the same way. Other descents are possible, but prior knowledge of these routes is essential.

Emergency numbers:

Wilderness Search and Rescue:  021 937 0300
City of Cape Town Emergencies: 086 110 6417

Note that cellphone coverage is not available everywhere on the mountain. Hikers are encouraged not to endanger themselves unnecessarily, and rather call for help when in trouble.

Nightjar Travel