One of Those “Moments” – The Full Moon Hike Up Lion’s Head

I had been in Cape Town a month and while I was in love with the city, it’s culture, food and vibrancy nothing had screamed at me yet. My fellow flatmates kept saying “what is my life?”, in astonishment at something we did or saw but nothing yet had struck a chord.  Then I did the full moon hike up Lion’s Head and my sleepy traveller self re-awoke and to think I almost didn’t do it!

I was hung over. We had all gone out the night before to Long Street and danced the night away and although the cobwebs had been slightly lifted by jumping through the waves at Muizenburg Beach I was still knackered. The prospect of clambering up Lion’s Head at a fast pace wasn’t exactly on my list of priorities by the end of the day. Thankfully my friend Noemie was more gung-ho than me and got me moving albeit a bit late. We jumped the train from Muizenburg to Observatory, sprinted to the house to throw on walking shoes, warm layers and grab some mountain top snacks, ordered a cab and told him to go as quickly as possible to Lion’s Head. It truly was a race against the sun. We had about 20 min to get to the top if we wanted to catch the whole sunset so taking a deep breath off we charged. The walk itself isn’t a difficult walk. If you are in good health and don’t mind the last bit where you use chains and ladders to scale the final few meters you’ll be grand.

Pulling ourselves up through the last crevice on the top of Lion’s Head we were met by a slightly packed mountain top. Everyone sat blankets, taking photos and eating the picnics they had put in their rucksacks. We found our friends and set up our camp over looking the Twelve Apostles and Camps Bay for the sunset. As the sun began to set, a bubbling feeling of awe started to fill my tummy. Watching the table cloth, the thin cloud cover which hovers over Table Mountain, fall over the Apostles, the ocean turn from blue, to purple, to green and gold and the city lights start to twinkle – it was breathtaking!

Once the sun set we all turned to face Table Mountain and the rest of Cape Town to watch the large harvest moon begin to rise. The day Cape Town, busy streets, mini busses, and concrete buildings disappeared under a sea of twinkling lights guarded by the mountain. I felt like I was in a National Geographic Magazine and wished that I had a tripod and a better camera.

We stayed until the moon was half way up and the wind was beginning to go through our sweaters. As we both only had our phone flashlights, we decided to take advantage of the people who hadn’t forgotten that half the walk would be in complete darkness and brought head lights and follow them down the path. Thankfully, this was obviously a regular occurrence as everyone willingly helped everyone else to get past the trickier sections with flashlights and shouts of “to the left, almost there and you got it.”

By the time we reached the flatter part of the path the moon was out in full, the fireflies dancing and the light of the city filled the sky. My eyes adjusted to the dark as we were guided down the path by the light of the moon and the fireflies.  My sense of wonder and awe came rushing back and I had my “I am in Cape Town and this is unbelievably amazing” moment, realising I had made the right choice.  All I could wish for was a Port key or a Tardis so I could whisk in my family and friends and share that moment with them.


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