Thing is, I was hell-bent on being at the top of Lion’s Head at sunrise. After all it is a top rated hiking experience in Cape Town.
I typically enjoy working out right before the first rays of sun hit nearly as much as I appreciate a spectacular sunrise. And although I fall under the category of a morning person-I don’t do cold.
My little ass sits itself in bed hibernating in the hopes that the chilly temperatures will magically disappear. So I’d have to admit that getting out of bed at 4A.M in the cold African Winter was coupled by other underlying motives that day . The excitement to watch a sun unveil itself from a new place and a scenic one at that was much too tempting!
Leaving my heated room was unpleasantly horrifying but I had to get to the uber waiting outside. The first thing I noticed when alighting at the starting point half an hour later was darkness.Pitch black darkness. No moonlight, no reflections ,no lights on the path. Everything on the way up seemed to be super dark. Of ccourse a ‘fortunate’ oversight presented itself. I did not have a flashlight!
I was dressed warm and that needed to enough. After all, I had come all this way, the sun would soon be out and it was listed as an easy 2hr hike. It couldn’t be that complicated. I told myself there had to be other hikers up there that actually prepared for this.
So the climb begun
After the first 15 minutes of stumbling about the darkness wondering what made the sounds I heard , suspecting the origin of the name Lion’s head and whether they’d let people up here despite incidences of being mauled to death.My mind wasn’t at a good place. I started giving myself pep talks while also questioning the level of intelligence a person had, to attempt hiking in the dark without flashlights.
Surprisingly I realized my physique had really gotten into the hike. My pace was increasing , my breathing was great and I was having a nice time in the chilly morning air. I came across some stunning viewpoints that revealed the residences far below and some rocky trails that appeared quite narrow with chains by the mountain. The climb was getting exciting. I could also hear voices somewhere behind me but no one could be seen.
It was when I found hooks and chains vertically lined up the rocks that I questioned if I was lost. They seemed to pile upwards and was excited to try. Turns out it was a fun and completely safe climb. Just before the summit there was a bit of a similar ascend which was a little steep as is natural with the last part of the climb. I had caught up to a few people and we all tried to cover this area fast.
There I was sitting in the darkness with a few other strangers. Panting hard to catch my breath. Beyond the horizon, past all of Cape Towns nightlights, we could see it. Slowly creeping into the day, an array of fiery colors reddish Orange taking over the furthest section of darkness. It was like the perfect painting in motion
The golden hour was here. I fell in love with life. It was far better than I ever would have imagined.
HIKING LESSONS LEARNT:
- Always carry a flashlight for a sunrise or sunset hike.
- Bring enough water to hydrate and snacks.
- Let people know where you are going for safety.
- Dress warm enough.
- Invest in good hiking shoes.
- Bring cellphone incase of emergency.
Interesting resources about Lions Head South Africa: