One of the strangest news stories I saw last week was the announcement by SA National Parks that Lion’s Head will be closed to climbers from 7 January to 15 February 2019.
The popular hiking trail will close completely, but its Signal Hill end will continue to be accessible. The closure is motivated on the grounds of ‘much needed intervention’, according to SANParks.
Traveller24 reports that SANParks aims to ‘improve the longevity of the trail, safety of hikers in the area and the environmental protection of the Lions Head and Signal Hill’, having conducted a Trail Audit Report on the Lion’s Head and Signal Hill footpath network. Minor upgrades that did not interrupt trail access have been done since the Trail Audit Report was completed in 2017. The closure allows for ‘one of the more intensive phases of the project where the condition of the trail will be addressed’, according to the media report.
‘No access will be permitted to hikers or runners via the track entrance along Signal Hill Drive. This includes the restriction on access after sunset and before sunrise. Due to the maintenance in progress we cannot guarantee the safe passage of visitors along the path way and hence the entire trail will be closed’, says SANPark.
The five-week timing of the closure, whilst after the Christmas/New Year period, will be questioned, as February usually is one of the most popular tourist months for Cape Town. The Lion’s Head hike is not without its safety challenges, with even experienced international mountaineers having fallen and been injured, and some even lost their lives. In April this year I hiked up Lion’s Head for the first time, walking in my brand new walking shoes in preparation for walking the Camino in Spain, and I am very proud of this achievement, getting to the top at 669 meters above sea level.
Chris von Ulmenstein, WhaleTales Blog: www.chrisvonulmenstein.com/blog Tel +27 082 55 11 323 Twitter:@Ulmenstein Facebook: Chris von Ulmenstein Instagram: @Chris_Ulmenstein