As a Joburger, I have admired photos of and from Lion’s Head for a number of years, believing that it was an easy stroll up the leo-shaped rock sitting adjacent to Table Mountain. I was very mistaken…
There are two parts to this post, first to describe how Lion’s Head should not be taken lightly. Secondly, I want to talk about the importance of the right tools for the job, aka my new Hi-Tec hiking shoes.
Sunrise as we began our trek up Lion’s Head.
Climbing Lion’s Head
Getting up super early on a sunny Cape Town morning and heading out the door in the direction of Lion’s Head was nobody else’s idea but my own. I’m trying to be more outdoorsy after my winter slumber and I thought there really wasn’t a better way to get it done than this during a recent trip to Cape Town.
So basically I have nobody to blame but myself here…
The path at the start is so wonderfully deceptive!
While the path to the top of Lion’s Head is generally described as relaxed and easy, what isn’t mentioned is that after about 2,5km, the only option of getting to the top includes some intense rock climbing, and you’re not expecting it. The path essentially curls around the peak for a full circle before it comes to a distinct end, and with no worn way forward in sight, we started to climb.
About halfway up and looking down on Cape Town.
By we, I mean myself and a few blogger friends Heather Mason, Di Brown, Jane Kilian and Cassandra Twala (all have excellent blogs you should take a look at by the way) that opted to join me that morning. I am not ashamed to say that I am not a super fit hiker, but reality struck when I realised I was right at the back. Lion’s Head was getting the better of me after all.
Thanks for reminding me I was at the back 2Summers ;)
All in all, I was super happy to get to the summit of that lion, but man was it hard! I would definitely recommend doing it, but go early before it gets too hot and be prepared for the rock climbing. Capetonians are probably going to think I’m such a sissy when they read this!
The view from the top of Lion’s Head was perfect!
Thank goodness for great shoes!
I haven’t considered myself a hiker for a very, very long time. But once upon a fitter time, I did in fact hike the Otter Trail, twice. Long story short, after an injury to my back, carrying backpacks up mountains was not really an option for me anymore and I stopped.
A little while back though, Hi-Tec sent me a pair of their rather attractive Ladies Tundra shoes to review. Other than a few walks around the park, Lion’s Head was the first time I’ve been able to really give them a run for their money, and I can honestly recommend a pair, particularly if you’re not an avid hiker and you’re just looking for something for the occasional trek.
I have weird feet in that I’m somewhere in between a European size 5 and 6, but I know with running shoes, you need to take a size bigger so I opted for larger in this pair of Hi-Tecs. My first impression of the Ladies Tundra is that they are extremely high quality, and therefore good value at their R899 price tag. The finishings are excellent, the shoe itself is comfy and works well on a broader foot, and I love that it comes in a charcoal and salmon colourway, a rather uplifting scheme compared to the usual khaki green and poo brown you find in hiking shoes.
I’m super happy with my new Hi-Tecs and I sense a long and meaningful relationship with them going forward, but just to help you find the right pair of hiking boots or shoes for yourself, I asked the product team over at Hi-Tec a few questions about making sure you get the perfect fit:
How do you know whether boots or shoes are better for you?
In short, boots will give you better ankle support. This is essential when covering rough terrain. Shoes are great for day hikes.
How does sizing work, should you get a slightly bigger size?
It is often better and recommended, to purchase a boot one size bigger than your current shoe size. This allows for thicker socks, as well as accommodates when your feet start swelling.
How important are proper socks when trying on hiking shoes or boots?
Socks are crucial. Hiking socks are thicker than other socks and, having socks that absorb and then wick away your sweat is imperative. Hi-Tec socks are 85% cotton and this is much better for moisture wicking. You generally want a higher percentage of cotton to polyester.
(Side note: I learnt this the hard way by wearing terrible socks the first time I tried my Hi-Tecs on an easy walk. I ended up with a massive blister under my foot, but after switching out for better socks, I had absolutely no discomfort at all)
What is a common mistake people tend to make when buying hiking shoes?
They buy the wrong shoe for the use that they require them for. Buy at reputable stores. Tell the salesperson your requirements and buy the right size. Try on both shoes in store and walk in them before purchasing.
Thanks for the shoe shot, Heather!
Thank you to Hi-Tec for sending me an exceptional pair of shoes to review, I can honestly say that I love them and would recommend them to all my female readers. And thanks for letting me pester your team with some newbie questions too!