Round Lion’s Head

Tuesday was again a perfect outdoor day in Cape Town and I ventured back onto the mountain slopes in a small way by taking the trail from Kloofnek round the base of Lion’s Head, an undemanding bird’s eye view tour of the Cape’s salubrious suburbs. The vegetation on the slopes of Lion’s Head is recovering well from last year’s blaze, and again we can look forward to a spectacular Spring display from our incredible fynbos kingdom. The visual rewards of this hike are many, and it is a popular one with residents who are fortunate enough to live on the Atlantic seaboard. I live on the Atlantic seaboard, but so far out in the sticks in Kommetjie that it doesn’t quite qualify for the salubrious tag, although it is infinitely desirable to live there.

The number of dogs that traverse the trail could quite rightly earn it the title of Poop Trail, as little effort is made to flick offending landmines into the undergrowth, and in fact some dog owners are still labouring under the misconception that a plastic bag tied up and dumped at the side of the path is the correct disposal method. This practically guarantees it will still be there in 500 years, rather than being decomposed in the natural way a few metres out of harm’s way. I don’t know if the message will ever get through. The point of this is to draw the would-be hiker’s attention to the need to keep an eye on the path rather than the view!

A number of benches are strategically placed for weary travellers, and I cannot think of too many lovelier places to idle away an hour enjoying the proximity of Table Mountain, the Twelve Apostles, the pristine white sands of Clifton and Camps Bay and the faraway dunes of the West Coast. Tankers wait patiently in the roadstead (I love that word) and pleasure craft cruise the coastline. Robben Island fills a space in Table Bay, and ancient shipwrecks, visible and invisible, litter the coastline of the Cape of Storms.

This is a trail to be taken many times over the seasons, although it is to be avoided in the heat of summer, as the section above Clifton and Fresnaye is sheltered from the southeaster and gathers the heat of the day into its embrace, creating ideal conditions for baking eggs on rocks. Along the way, you can look at the rooftops of the mansions, and it’s not too difficult to spot Squirrel’s, judging by the proliferation of Men in Black on the forecourt. At least it casts a long shadow.

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