Thursday, 22 June 2017

Hiking Lion's Head

This past Sunday part of our group hiked up Lion’s Head, a mountain in Cape Town between the famed Table Mountain and Signal Hill.  While we haven’t hiked Table Mountain yet (we are planning on it soon!) during our tour of the notable Bo-Kaap neighborhood this past Saturday we spent part of the day on Signal Hill to watch the daily firing of the historic Noon Gun.  In turn, when starting our hike up Lion’s Head I was happy to feel decently oriented to the surrounding areas and enjoyed taking in and identifying other parts of Cape Town our group had already started to explore or were planning on visiting soon.

While most of the path was along a steep dirt trail, the final descent towards the summit did involve a bit of hectic scrambling on my end to get up the sharper steep segments of rocky faces.  Although there were moments where I debated whether or not I should attempt this final vertical ascend, I decided to carry on and the views from the 669 m (2,195 ft) summit were absolutely spectacular and worth the last push.  Growing up in San Francisco, I’d like to say I am accustomed to hills and great views but the outlook from Lion’s Head was unlike anything I had ever seen before. While our group has experienced other stunning views from car rides over passes surrounding Cape Town and through assorted shorter walks that we’ve taken, the 360 panoramic views overlooking the surrounding downtown areas and other neighborhoods of Cape Town, Camps Bay and the Atlantic Ocean were absolutely unique and quite fantastic.

Hanging out on the summit for a bit also allowed for some quality interactions with other hikers and we were happy to get advice from some more seasoned climbers on what route would be best to take for when we decide to tackle table mountain.  We also got to play with quite the cute little dog (still curious how she managed to get up the sheer rocks) and had an interesting time talking to her owner, who was from Cape Town.  It was nice to hear that a good number of locals frequently enjoyed hiking and visiting Lion’s Head along with the thousands of visitors who come each year.  I’m looking forward to our further hiking adventures during our down time here when we aren’t in class, at our assorted internship sites, touring local public health facilities or exploring other exciting spots and can’t wait to see what new views and experiences are to come from our future treks!  

- Toby Harris

Friday, 2 June 2017

2017s are GO!

Good evening, readers, and greetings from beautiful Cape Town where the 2017 students have been in residence now for a very full 24 hours!  Jasmine, Jiyoon, Ben, Isaac, Max, Karina, Tiffany, Toby, Peyton, Arjun, Michelle, and graduate student assistant Meagan all arrived June 1, and today, June 2, we spent as a group getting to know each other and the UCT campus.  We had gorgeous weather for our walking tour, and a great tour guide, Ian (in the UCT sweatshirt in the photo).  Everyone's got a student ID, a local phone, some good maps, and did well absorbing a lot of information quickly on this exciting first day.  Tomorrow - on to the District Six Museum and a visit to a local clinic as we continue to establish some history and context and explore!

Lisa Folda