Sunday, July 16, 2017

Running in Cape Town #1: tricky and steep hike on the Lion's Head

I landed at 1 pm in Cape Town on Friday, after leaving Paris at 7 pm the day before (connection in Frankfurt and Johannesburg) and, by 4 pm, I was ready to explore one of the key hills or mountains above the Mother City. I had actually no idea what this run was going to be but I could see some traces along the mountain which looked like trails and the neighborhoods looked wealthy and safe enough.
I had heard about the famous Table Mountain but that first one was called Lion's Head, and looking over a very nice area of the city including Sea Point and Green Point where we were staying.
The first steep climb was actually in the direction of Signal Hill, entering the park through the entrance at the end of Springbok and Glengariff Roads.

Looking back already gives you nice views of the city, for instance the stadium built for the recent Soccer World Cup.
And other users were enjoying these aerial views as well while paragliding!

The rocky and steep trail reminded my of last week's Montagn'Hard. The sharp rocks made running too hard actually and I was already missing my new Leiki poles!
Going around Signal Hill, I reached Signal Hill Road and was impressed with what remained to be climbed to get to the top of Lion's Head. I took the trail going straight to the top on the North side, still quite a rocky path.

The end was more climbing than hiking, with ladders and chains.

Short of time, I didn't quite make it to the summit, it wasn't worth the risk of falling, I already had enjoyed rather amazing aerial views of the city and the beautiful sunset.

Signal Hill:
 Downtown and the harbor:
 Clifton and Camps Bay:

Here is the Lion's Head casting its huge shadow on the nearby Table Mountain.

I took the South route/trail to go down, a very smooth one which most of the tourists use. But that led me on the other side of the park, at the entrance of the Table Mountain National Park. From there, I took the road back to downtown, with a reasonably good sidewalk on the right side.

The overall route and profile on Strava:
And, more interestingly, look at the 1-minute 3D flyover animation on

Again, more a hike than a run, but a great way to get some perspective on the Mother City!

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