Lions Head is a great way to start your hiking experience in Cape Town. Easily accessible and a shorter ascent than Table Mountain, makes a summer’s evening hike a breeze. When I was working the 9-5, I would often take a quick stroll up Lions to watch the sun set. After finding Wally’s Cave I have more reasons to take guests to this piece of heritage.
In recent years there has been a lot of local hype about caves around this ancient geological marvel. Adventure bloggers giving away their secrets to the naive hiker who wonders past the veins to chambers of Sandstone and Granite. However, not all who wander are lost. A happy victim of wanderlust, I decided to go and find Wally’s Cave, for my own memories.
The directions are straightforward (for those who know the terrain) and can be found via a simple Google search. There are actually two routes. The first and the quickest, a straight slog up a path just around the bend on the jeep track. The second, a gentle contour found at the bottom of the first ladder. Don’t be fooled, there are some steep drops so take your time. At 540 million years old, this mountain sure has taken hers.
On my hike up, I utilize both routes. A straight up slog, followed by the gentle contour to the ladder, to continue the rest of the hike up to the summit. The best time to hike Lions Head is when the light is at sunrise and sunset. For the simple reason that the mountain is flooded with golden rays. For best pictures, use a wide angle lens or go pro as shooting from the back of the cave, like Gollum, can be tricky with a precious smart-phone.
So who is Wally, now that we have found him? The Table Mountain Fund published an interesting article this year. British Born, Wally Struthers was an honorary scout who would climb Table Mountain four times a week, until the age of 73. The last time he climbed Table Mountain was at 94 years old!!! The legend of Table Mountain lived to 104 and his famous words were “No complaints, life is good to me.” Wally passed away in 2013 but left a positive legacy in not only his incredible fitness and health but his contribution to Table Mountain National Park.
Sitting in the cave, your skin will be chalked with sedimentary sandstone that forms within and the view will imprint a fond memory. With holes scattered around, it looks like a gouged out piece of Swiss cheese. For Wally’s sake, please do not draw on or break any of what’s left of this natural wonder. Respect to this tomb of the adventurer.
Hikes to Wally’s Cave have been a wonderful experience for myself and every traveler who has found him. If you are looking for something different on this popular peak, then this is for you.