Silvermine Nature Reserve, Western Cape
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 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.
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.
If you are interested in the Silvermine Nature Reserve see our blog for more info:
"Scaling Steenberg Peak - a 2.5 hour circular route at Silvermine"
"A walk at Silvermine so much more than a breath of fresh air"
"Walking Silvermine the Amphitheatre Route Around the Dam"