Lion’s Head is a mountain that rises between Table Mountain and Signal Hill and peaks at 669 m. The peak forms part of a dramatic backdrop to the city of Cape Town and Table Bay on one side, and the scenic Atlantic coastline on the other.
The suburbs that surround Lion’s Head and Signal Hill have been restricted to keep the development of housing off the higher ground, to preserve its fauna and flora. There are also numerous historic graves and kramats (shrines) on the lower slopes.
Lion’s Head is known for its spectacular views, especially of Robben Island and the vicinity is a photographer’s dream. There is an hour long walk to the top that winds around the head until you reach the chains that will assist you to the very top. Further than this point is not recommended for the elderly or young children. There is an alternate pathway that misses the chains but it is still quite steep and caution should be exercised. Performing this walk in the full moon is popular.
Lion’s Head has three main vegetation types, all endemic to Cape Town, that can be found nowhere else:
- Endangered Granite Fynbos
- Critically endangered Peninsular Shale Renosterveld
- Endangered Sandstone Fynbos
In the 17th Century the peak was known as Leeuwen Kop (Lion’s Head) by the Dutch and Sugar Loaf by the British. Signal Hill was known as Leeuwen Staart (Lion’s Tail) by the Dutch, since the shape resembled a crouching lion or sphinx.