Hiking Lions Head To Watch The Moon Rise

Cape Town Travel Blog

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Another great thing we did was hike up the Lion’s Head to watch the sun set and full moon rise.   This is kinda a big deal around these parts, and if the weather cooperates, it’s an awesome thing to do.  The hike up Lion’s head is not terribly hard and certainly not terribly long.  If I had stayed on the main trail like everyone else, I’m sure we would have made it to the top in under an hour.  However, I saw a smaller more interesting looking trail going off through the fynbos (fynbos is how the locals refer to all the shrubs and bushes around here.  It is Afrikaans for “fine bush” and is also a pretty big deal around here).  Our little off-shoot took us past some really cool wildflowers and away from the crowds, but eventually we walked out to some steep wet terrain and discovered that some of the fynbos has large thorns.

  Luckily, it was fairly easy to get back to the main trail, and we didn’t have to destroy any plant life in the process.

     There were a lot of people hanging out on the top; many of them experienced locals who were smart enough to bring wine.  I’ll remember that for next time.  The sun set was hard to watch because it was so damn bright.  It sets right over the ocean, and the reflection is brutal until it’s just about fully over the horizon.  The moon rise however, is extremely dramatic and awe inspiring.  The moon comes up quickly, and because of it’s proximity to the horizon looks much bigger and redder than it usually does.  Some guys from the Cape Town Observatory hiked up three large telescopes and set them up so we could look at the moon and few planets.

  The clarity through the scopes was fantastic, and I swear it’s the first time that I ever saw the actual rings of Saturn with my own eyes.  The third telescope was pointed at Venus, but it just looked like a big bright ball, much less interesting than Saturn.  Despite the full moon, the hike down was still pretty dark, and fortunately we had brought our headlamps.  People were making it down without lights, but they were going painfully slow and seemed pretty pissed off.  The drunken locals had of course come prepared and stayed at the top much longer than we did.

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