I have been wanting to do the 13 Peak Challenge with our family for a couple of years now, but there was always some reason not to give it a go. I mentioned, over the holidays, that it was my goal for 2021. And three days later our bags were packed our socks were on and we were off…


The view from Signal Hill is exceptional. On a clear day, and it was a clear day, you can see forever… miles and miles of mountains. In fact, from Signal Hill you can see plenty of Peaks on the 13 Peak Challenge, and when I realized what I had inspired my family to get up and go for I might have been a little terrified. This challenge was way bigger than me. I literally choked… and it would have been a good time to press pause and have a little pep talk. But, I said nothing and on we went.
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Signal Hill is a nice, easily accessible place to start the 13 Peak Challenge, you can literally park there and start walking… only if you are doing the challenge… you really want to be dropped there because at the end of a hike nobody wants to have to walk back to the start of a hike.
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From Signal Hill it is a quick and easy walk over to the base of Lion’s Head…
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Once you get to this landmark, you know your journey is about to take you upwards…
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And here began our first major error of the challenge… you have to start your hikes early in the day… the earlier the better. Especially if you are like us and choose to start in the middle of summer. The heat was oppressive, the fact the we met less than a handful of hikers on this very popular route should have warned us that this was not the best weather to be venturing forth in… but a feisty determination and the fact that we have done it easily before… might have led us to believe we were fine.

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This folks is Lion’s Head and for hundreds of visitors to Cape Town, this is the mountain climb of choice. Often visitors don’t have time to hike up Table Mountain, so they choose Lion’s Head as a short and sweet option, it’s quicker by far and closer to the city center for transport. That being said: don’t be fooled by Lion’s Head, it is not the easier option. It is a mountain and it deserves respect… in fact the first few times we tried it when our kids were younger, we usually got so far, ate our snacks and returned home. This is definitely not an easy hike… (Now that we have done a few more peaks on the 13 Peak Challenge we are realising that it is one of the easiest hikes), if you are looking for a child friendly hike in Cape Town… the pipe track or Newlands Forest are much easier options.

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For most of the hike you wander in a spiral onwards and upwards towards the peak.

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And we were lucky enough to stop and watch this beauty and this endless views opened up below us…

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When the going starts to get tougher there are ladders and hand holds to help you up.

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There is no shade along the way, except at some (oh please may they never cut these alien pines down) trees, at the level of the rungs. So when you get to the trees, you know you just have a steep push up to the top.

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It’s rocky, but it is climbable and the paths are really well marked… and usually (except in a heat wave) there are plenty of people along the way to help and encourage you.

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The top is Spectacular…

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Lots of little friends, even in the relentless heat…
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The gang is unstoppable… Even the pup managed more easly than I did!!!
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The way down, fast and furious…

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Hoppity, skippety… and the promise of shade…
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Extremely happy to be home…
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We defintiley had the right socks, but note to our future selves… we need to take a lot more water on the trails… and sun protection is an absolute must.
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Photo Gallery from the Hike


Click on the image to take a look at photographs from the hike.

And you can follow our entire journey in the blog post at this link…
13 Peaks Segment 1

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