About Tartarus Cave

Right on the doorstep of your Muizenberg accommodation lies a world of adventure and natural beauty. And the Tartarus Cave is, without a doubt, one of the most exciting little gems that is nestled in the heart of this part of the Western Cape coastline, the False Bay coast.

A visit to the actual cave is better suited to the adventurous because it means going through a small hole in the rocky ground and entering a mysterious world that is home to 50 metres of chambers. But, for those that prefer not to descend into the caves, the walk to and around it is really very beautiful too.

The entrance hole lies on the face of the Silvermine Mountain in the Silvermine Nature Reserve, which is part of the Table Mountain National Park. The walk to the cave is an easy one, but the incline is steep. So, hikers are reminded to bring shoes with good grip, plenty of water, and at least two working torches. Spring tends to be the best time for the walk, as most of the mountain enjoys some welcome shade during the months of September to December.

The walk starts at 110 Boyes Drive, looking down on St James. The path begins on the bend in the road, and you will cross a small stream, which is dry in summer, right at the beginning. Then, after 30 metres, you will leave the main path and climb the steep steps (crafted out of stone) on the right. After around 35 minutes of climbing up, you will reach the inviting hole in the rock face. The vegetation along the trail is breath-taking. Then, once you get into the actual cave, you can look forward to an impressive peek into a mysterious world that is quite unlike the one above ground. Cool, damp and dark; these caves are home to an incredible variety of life that is uniquely subterranean.

The first slope leads into a big chamber, with the main passageway leading off of it to the left. This passage soon takes a right swing and becomes increasingly narrow before a two-metre drop. Ten metres after the drop, you will arrive at an impressive chasm, after which the cave was named.

Still, there are some other minor paths around the cave that are well worth exploring, if you’d prefer not to go into Tartarus itself. The views from the mountains are breath-taking, and include the indigenous forest, the ocean, and the charming little towns and suburbs on the outskirts of Cape Town. Afterwards, head down into Kalk Bay or Muizenberg for a well-deserved lunch or a refreshing swim in the waves.

Need to Know

WhereSilvermine Nature Reserve, the walk starts at 110 Boyes Drive, looking down on St James, Muizenberg, False Bay Coast, Western Cape, South Africa

WhenBest during daylight hours.

How muchFree

TelephoneNot applicable.

OvernightStay nearby in Muizenberg, in Cape Town


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