Signal Hill – the first of 4 Cape Town climbs

The Table Mountain area has four significant ‘hill’s or mountains depending on your definition. Signal Hill, Devil’s Peak, Lion’s Head and the big fella – Table Mountain. Being a non fit, old person, living in such close proximity to these babies, I feel I am obligated to tackle them all while I am here, so last week I went public on Facebook stating I would start my mountaineering exploits by taking on Signal Hill…It is the smallest of them all and looks pretty easy, so surely my super non fitness could make it…after not attempting on the Saturday, Sunday arrived, and it was a case of do it, or face the self punishment of being ‘all talk’…so I took on the task…no planning, no checking out how to get up there (it is just in front of me, so surely I could just walk up the side from the road) but I did wear proper shoes and take a bottle of water, so all sorted!

My walk started from home at the Waterfront, so first I had to make it to the base. This took some effort, as I headed towards the base, but faced several back and forth paths before I could actually get to any form of access. Roads where blocked, paths heading to the entrance where gated with electric fences and I began to get frustrated (wasting all that energy) and not heading up.

After eventually finding a road, and asking some locals (which is a bit challenging as people seem to react a bit strangely when they are in a car and you approach them asking how to get up). I was told there was a path at the end of the road, so I eventually found a dirt track, but this started simply going around the base…again my logic and thought process was ‘this is not going up’ and something needed to be done.

It was at this stage I made the decision to get off the track and ‘just go up’. I grabbed a stick – in  case i saw a snake, as surely this will help me against a deadly animal, and started the steep, upward track through the bush!

It was tough, but not too bad and my old legs (and lungs fuelled by shisha) were coping ok. after what felt like about half an hour I came across a track and was about half way up the hill…the view were getting amazing overlooking the Cape, and back down towards my start point.

It was at this point I saw ahead of me some old ruins so I headed to them, a little apprehensively if I must admit, as where they home to some locals who you read about who rob and attack hikers, so I cautiously approached them, but they were not only empty, but incredibly clean and decorated with graffiti murals, and provided a great view back down the hill. The top was now in my sight and I could see signs of life as tourists surrounded the roadside above me, so if I collapsed here all would be ok…but alas I was still doing ok…

After about an hour of climbing the 350m hill in a mostly straight up direction, I reached to road…and what a view! Awesome panoramic views of the city and coastline of Cape Town and surrounding beaches. Definitely worth the effort to get up here..

I wandered around for a while, watched what can only be described as a resemblance of a hang gliding/ parasailing ‘airport’ where parasail after parasail launched tourists off the top for a flight down to the awaiting Sea Point beach for the landing (all this costs about R1100 I was told).

Whilst on the top, I did get a glimpse at what logically will be climb number 2 – Lion’s Head….might need to psych myself up for that one…as this is 669m above sea level, so I may not be able to dash straight up that one!

The next challenge?

The decent started off with me heading down the road, but again I became impatient and jumped the guard rails and went straight down…in about 10-15 minutes…would be a great MTB ride, and I am dreading how sore I may be tomorrow, but definitely a great walk/ climb I’m glad I made myself do!


To see the visual of the climb check out the Relive Video below.

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