There are few things more romantic than watching a full moon rise from the top of a mountain—particularly if you’ve just toasted the end of another fine day in Africa. But all hikes in the moonlight are special, particularly since you see all sorts of nocturnal critters that you never spot in the daytime—and, like them, avoid the heat! So, if you’re in Cape Town for the next full moon, grab your head torch and try out one of these moonlit walks.
Climbing Lion’s Head to watch the sun set and moon rise on the evening of a full moon is so popular that, come nightfall, the peak is lit up like a Christmas tree. Corks pop, the city lights twinkle below and the sheer front face of Table Mountain provides an imposing backdrop. It’s a wonderful tradition but go carefully, particularly on the way down. Although young kids, agile grannies and the occasional adventurous dog make it to the summit, the route involves some rock scrambling so you need a good head for heights. Allow at least an hour each way as the scrambles and chains that are put in place to aid hikers up and down the steep sections can get as congested as Everest’s Hillary Step. Remember also that this is a serious mountain outing so don’t overdo the champagne!
If you’re looking for something more exclusive, the Delvera Hi-tec Full Moon Hike, on the Delvera Wine Farm near Stellenbosch, also offers spectacular views of Cape Town and the surrounding winelands. The full hike to the top of Klapmutskop and back is 9.75km but you can catch a shuttle to the halfway point, so it’s ideal for families with young kids and those who don’t hike often! The season runs from September to April (with sundowner hikes also organised on special occasions like Valentine’s Day). Picnic baskets from the Simonsberg Café can be arranged on request.
Personal safety is inevitably a concern on beaches and isolated spots at night so group walks, such as Safer Together’s Muizenberg Moonlight Meander, are popular options, particularly with families—and dogs. The free monthly stroll along the Blue Flag Muizenberg beachfront in Cape Town’s southern suburbs, takes place on the Saturday nearest to the full moon.