Western Cape Game and Nature ReservesThe Silvermine Nature Reserve
The Silvermine Nature Reserve forms a part of the Table Mountain National Park, a protected conservation area, located approximately ten minutes drive from the city centre. The park straddles the mountain, from the winding Ou Kaapse Weg (Old Cape Road) on the Tokai, Constantia and Westlake side of the mountain, over the peak of the mountain, and into Noordhoek, Sun Valley and Fishhoek, overlooking the ocean.
Approaching the Silvermine reserve from the City side of the mountain, along Ou Kaapse Weg, it is possible to view most of the greater Cape Town area, up to the Tygerberg Hills and beyond on a clear day, laid out like a patchwork quilt below. Continuing further along the road, which winds directly over the top of the mountain itself, takes one on a scenic trip through the Fynbos, where thousands of plants, unique to the Cape Floral Kingdom can be seen.
Attractions within the Silvermine Nature reserve range from popular and well marked mountain bike trails, to bird watching and hiking, and the Silvermine reserve is a favorite destination for locals and tourists alike, particularly on weekends, when many city dwelling families make the short trip to the reserve. Following one of these hikes, a relatively short trail, will lead to a viewing point, where the view encompasses a panorama stretching from False Bay, all the way around to Cape Point, the famed meeting place of the Indian and Atlantic oceans.
Picnic and braai areas are available in parts of the park, and can be located by contacting Cape Nature Conservation, although the possibility, and prevalence during the summer months of veld fires mean that visitors should exercise caution when making use of these facilities.
Another attraction that would be worth visiting while exploring the reserve is the Silvermine reservoir, located on the North side of the reserve, and dating back to 1898, when it was built to supply water to the growing Cape metropolis. For more adventurous adrenaline seekers, the Muizenberg area of the reserve offers rock climbing, as well as sandstone caves to be explored. Also located within the reserve, although restricted to the public, is the South African Naval headquarters which sits lower down the mountain.
If you choose to stay on the road, and having crested the mountain, you are rewarded with a view of the picturesque areas of Sun Valley and Noordhoek, and following the road down the mountain leaves a short trip to one of the excellent beaches in the area. Also within easy reach of the reserve on the Noordhoek side are the small, historic towns of Fishhoek, and further along, Simons Town, steeped in naval history, including the statue of the legendary Just Nuisance, and further still, Cape Point itself.
Each of these towns offers numerous attractions, restaurants, swimming beaches and other activities, and anyone planning a trip to the area would be well served by contacting the local tourism offices, although, the pleasure of an unplanned, leisurely meander through the reserve and surrounds should not be underestimated.
Popular Activities in the Silvermine Nature Reserve
Steenberg Peak Hike
Where? Start in Tokai
Silvermine is divided by Ou Kaapse Weg. Head to Gate 2's parking area on the east side above Tokai, Muizenberg and Kalk Bay. Hiking to the top of Steenberg is not a strenuous hike and offers great views out over False Bay. The access to fynbos...
More info and contact details: Steenberg Peak Hike, Silvermine
Peers Cave Hike
Where? Start in Fish Hoek
Most people get to Peers Cave, above the dunes of Fish Hoek, in a fairly dignified manner, albeit a steep one. There is, after all, a fairly logical and easy to find path hewn for hikers that leaves a parking lot on Ou Kaapse Weg and takes...
More info and contact details: Peers Cave Hike
Elephant's Eye Cave Hike
Where? Start in Constantia
Most of the walk is along well-hewn paths and gravel roads, and the higher you get, the more beautiful the views as Cape Town and False Bay begin to emerge behind you. Even as early as the Tokai Forest there are wonderful views across to the...
More info and contact details: Elephant's Eye Cave Hike
Where? Start in Cape Town
This organised, slackpack hike leaves Cape Town to head up Table Mountain along its many footpaths in the company of qualified mountain guides. On days two and three you will spend time traversing the Constantiaberg (and Silvermine)...
More info and contact details: Hoerikwaggo Hike