Lion's Head

One of the ladders o a main hiking trail has seen better days – Photo: Dave D’Aguiar / Twitter

Lion’s Head: MEC vows action as several “safety issues” flagged by hikers [photos]

Hiking groups have advised visitors to Lion’s Head to be aware of “unsafe conditions” up the mountain. Here’s why locals are so concerned.

Lion's Head

One of the ladders o a main hiking trail has seen better days – Photo: Dave D’Aguiar / Twitter

The popular routes around Lion’s Head may have re-opened to the public this week, but several visitors and local hiking groups have reported some serious concerns with the infrastructure at the iconic venue.

After fire ravaged the mountainside in January, a six-week maintenance programme was undertaken by the city. However, it seems like attention to detail has been left wanting in some places:

Lion’s Head – hikers claim some routes are “unsafe”

Some of the repairs are yet to be finished – Photo: Dave D’Aguiar / Twitter
Hikers aren’t happy with the quality of the ladders – Photo: Table Mountain Watch / Twitter

Table Mountain Watch, an official safety group who report on both the eponymous landmark and Lion’s Head, issued a safety warning to all visitors on Sunday. They have advised everyone to avoid the “possibly unsafe” conditions pending a professional assessment.

Lion's Head
Photo: Table Mountain Watch / Twitter

Government promises “urgent” action

Elsewhere, the concerns have already been acknowledged by the Western Cape government: Minister of Economic Opportunities, Tourism & Agriculture Beverley Schafer confirmed she would be writing to Table Mountain National Parks (TMNP) to urgently address the matter.

Routes that are still closed

The footpath on the north facing slope from the Kramat leading up to the spiral trail will remain closed for further rehabilitation as a result of January’s fire. On social media, some hikers have suggested that visitors are straying onto paths that are still closed for maintenance – but nonetheless, a clear and present danger remains in place.

The red line indicates the closed footpath, whereas the yellow circle indicates where work is still being carried out on Lion’s Head – Photo: SANParks

Releasing a statement on Friday, South African National Parks (SANParks) management warned those who are planning to hike the popular routes that they must strictly adhere to the instructions in place.

Park officials and city representatives are now investigating the issue and may be forced to clarify their official guidelines for hiking up Lion’s Head. For the meantime, all visitors are advised to take caution on the trails.

Lion’s Head update for Monday 4 March

Speaking on Cape Talk on Monday morning, a representative for SANParks revealed that the section displayed in some of the pictures are of certain areas that are still closed. However, they agree that the workmanship is not acceptable and are waiting on a certificate of compliance from the contractor.

But the photos that were shared online also depict shoddy workmanship on parts of the trail that are open to the public. The group will now bring in an independent engineer to assess the hazards.