Located in the central section of the Table Mountain National Park (TMNP) Silvermine offers some of the best hikes in the Park with beautiful fynbos landscapes.
There is plenty to take in: a short and wheelchair-friendly boardwalk around the dam, a beautiful river walk, a light walk to the Silvermine waterfall, bird spotting, picnics, dog walking and mountain biking, to name but a few. The area is a significant conservation area for the indigenous fynbos vegetation which is of the montane cone-bush type at this location.
Stretching all the way from the Tokai side of Table Mountain to the Noordhoek and Sun Valley area overlooking the sea, the Silvermine Nature Reserve has trails ranging from easy-peasy to brutal, mountain-biking routes and bird-watching opportunities around every fynbos-bedazzled turn.
Adrenaline addicts are sure to get their kicks at the rock climbing area near the Silvermine reservoir and the sandstone caves ready for the exploring. The picnic and braai areas offer the easy way out for those wanting the fresh air and panoramic view without all that wearisome walking.
The reserve is divided by Ou Kaapse Weg into two sections. The Western section, contains the Reservoir and there is a boardwalk which leads around the reservoir.
Things to do
Most popular Silvermine Hiking routes:
- Picnics: Bring your own as there are designated spots all around the reservoir
- Braai during the winter months only due to fire risk in summer – make use of the built in braais
- BirdWatching: Twitchers can spot swallows,orange-breasted and malachite sunbirds, rock kestrels, kites, buzzards and peregrine falcons. One may also be lucky enough to spot one of the resident black eagles.
- Swimming: The reservoir is a fabulous body of water to cool off or train!
- Mountain Biking: (you need a permit) These are on the west side. The most popular is the Silvermine mountain bike trail. Trail starts near the bathroom at the parking lot, passes the reservoir and goes up Noordhoek Peak before circling back. Approx 7.5km circular route
- Hiking: Both the east and the west side of the reserve offer lovely walks - pick up a map at the entrance, the routes are well illustrated and there is everything from a short stroll around the reservoir to longer treks past panoramic viewing spots.
- Reservoir Circuit: 20 minute following the wooden boardwalk.
- Elephants Eye: 2.5 hour out and back hike from the parking lot at the reservoir. The 'eye' is a wide cave with great views over Cape Town
- Silvermine River Walk: 1.5 hours both ways. Park near the gate on the west side and follow the gravel path past Hennie's pool and Uthango picnic area up the stream to the reservoir.
- Noordhoek Circuit: Approx 3 hours following the track below the dam wall onto the gravel road. Go past a lookout, with fantastic views of Noordhoek Valley and Long Beach, continue along the gravel road and take the path to the left, marked by stone cairns, that leads up to the beacon with views of Chapman’s Peak Drive, Hout Bay and the Sentinel.
- Steenberg Peak: approx 3 hours walk from the East Side. Follow the gravel road up to Steenberg Peak. The path then descends to Wolfkop and circles back to the parking lot. Junction Pool is a good break before you reach the peak.
Entrance Fees: valid until 31 Oct 2018
- Gate One: Turn right off Ou Kaapse Weg coming from Cape Town. This area offers mountain biking tracks and a selection of hikes ranging from easy to challenging. Hikers can walk to the top of the Constantiaburg Mountain for perfect views of Hout Bay or simply stroll around the reservoir's wheelchair friendly boardwalk. There are also picturesque braai/ picnic sites available.
- Gate Two: A few hundred metres past Gate One, turn left into the car park. From here you can hike over to Kalk Bay or simply do a circuit route. This section of the Park includes Afromontane Forests, waterfalls and very interesting geology.
History of Silvermine:
- R50 per adult per day
- R25 per child per day
In 1675 it was thought that these mountains contained silver and so shafts were sunk to try and find it. There was, in fact, no silver to be found but the name has stuck and today we can enjoy the fynbos unspoilt by the mining.
In 1898 the reservoir was built to be used as a water supply, but since 1912 this beautifully still body of water, surrounded by picnic spots and trees, is home to a couple of Egyptian geese, schools of fish and happy human swimmers.
In 1998 Silvermine was declared part of Table Mountain National Park which ensures that its natural beauty will be preserved. There are over 900 species of fynbos to be found in the reserve, made up mainly of proteas, ericas and restios. Stop by the main gate on the west side to see their display of the flowers currently in bloom.