Cape Town is largely considered the cesspit of foul winter weather in South Africa, but those of us who live here know that that is simply not the case. The majority of winter days are mild, sometimes cloudy, but usually sunny affairs. This is a great place to live! With that in mind, we planned our Saturday hike in the great outdoors. What we didn’t take into consideration was Cape Town’s temperamental, often moody countenance. Yes, if Cape Town had a sex, it would be female.
Reports of a gentle breeze on Saturday turned out to be more of a blustery surprise, like finding tomatoes inside your macaroni, it was unpleasant. After being marginally deterred, but deciding we all needed the fresh air, we packed ourselves up and headed out the door, onwards and upwards, we were Little Lions Head bound.
Perched on the ridge between Llandudno and Hout Bay, sits Little Lions Head, so named for its close resemblance to the real Lions Head which overlooks the city and Atlantic seaboard. It is the cute little sister, but with more rocks on her head. This of course suited our children down to the ground. It was that alone that spurred our children on, calling them to the top of the mountain, despite the persistent wind.
This was a first for our family. I mean we have been up it before, but Lincoln was about 7 months old and strapped to the back of his Uncle, while Lola, being just over a year and a half, was securely fastened to her dad. So as far as actually climbing this little nub of a mountain is concerned, it was a first for them.
It is a relatively easy climb, where you can enjoy views over the surrounding valleys and the Atlantic Ocean while not being too out of breath. It isn’t ridiculously high so can easily be managed, up and down, in under an hour and a half. We took longer, we hid from the wind a bit, lingered on the top and soaked up the sun’s rays, so spent about 2 and a half hours playing and shooting the breeze. No better place to do it.
After a nice, moderately steep walk up the side, you have to climb a few, rather rocky ledges to get to the top. They are fairly easy to negotiate, and the children climbed them (under our guidance) on their own. They need help with foot placements sometimes, but usually it’s just for our peace of mind. The entire top of the peak is rock and offers great hiding nooks for the kids to play in. On this particular outing our children were squirrels, and commandeered our entire bag of nuts. While they ate enough to see them through a winter’s hibernation, Shaun and I lay on the rocks in the sun, sheltered by beautiful granite boulders, and counted all we had to be thankful for. This mountain was definitely one of them.
Climbing down the rock was as fun as climbing up it, and I think the kids would quite happily have done it all over again if they weren’t being blown around like dust-bunnies in a vacuum cleaner. After issuing instructions like “bend over so the wind can’t blow you away!” we knew it was time to hasten a retreat.
Hasten we did. Lincoln slipped potentially 10 times while clinging to Shaun’s arm for support. Lola slipped once, but properly, covering about 3 meters, bruising her rump and grazing her hand. Thankfully Shaun and I stayed on out feet, enabling a swift and happy return to the road and thence our car.
It was a great morning out, despite Cape Town’s surprise wind attack, and all the therapy we needed after a rough week.
Would I do this again? Absolutely. It was a quick and easy climb, getting us relatively high up with a great view in minimal time. There was no one else on the mountain and we always enjoy a bit of solitude on our excursions. A big thumbs up, especially for the climbing.
What to be aware of? I wouldn’t recommend the climbing for inexperienced or first time child climbers, but most able-bodied adults should be able to manage without a problem. I remember when we did this with the kids in backpacks I was terrified. I definitely wasn’t terrified this time, but then my experience has come a long way too.