Wow, what another awesome hike this was. I am sure I am not only speaking for myself.
I have broken this hike up into 4 posts, to assist the downloading of the awesome images which go with each of them.
Below is a Google Earth image of the route that we walked.
(Click on the above image for enlarged view)
Name of Reserve / Area: Table Mountain National Park, Silvermine (East)
Nearest Town: Muizenberg, Kalk Bay and Fishhoek
Province: Western Cape
Country: South Africa
Directions to get there: From Cape Town CBD, take the M3 south. At the T-junction turn left. At the next T-junction turn right. Soon you will see a sign for you to turn right into Boyes Drive. Take this scenic road and follow it all the way up the mountain and almost to the end of the road. Use the Kalk Bay Harbour lighthouse as your landmark on your left, which is also where you will see the sign and some steep stone cut steps. This is where you can park your car alongside the road. Make sure you respect the local driveways.
Duration of hike: We started around 9h00 and got back to our cars at 13h00. This included exploring the entire cave and a short mid-way stop for a bite to eat.
Best time of year to go: According to the editor of my secret map (Mike Lundy), there is water inside the caves during the winter months and could be a muddy affair during this time. We had plenty of shade especially down in the valleys and crossed a little stream every now and again during the entire hike.
Fresh Water: There is a little stream but I would not recommend that you drink it.
Difficulty: If I had to rate this hike according to the grading scale of Mike Lundy, I would give it a 2B.
The Mike Lundy rating which is a combination of the following two grades:1 = Easy stroll;2 = Moderate;3 = Streunous excersise;4 = Only for the very fitplusA = No exposure to heights;B = Mild exposure to heights;C = Moderate exposure to heights;D = Very exposed to heights;
Pets: Yes you can bring your dog with you on this hike, but please make sure they are fit enough because it is also hard for them if they are not regularly exposed to these kinds of conditions. The wooden boardwalk inside the valleys could be difficult for their paws to negotiate and is something that you can keep your watchful eye on them.
How safe is it: I would not go alone on any of these open hikes along Table Mountain Reserve, but I felt very safe here. Always make sure you have someone on the hike with you. Keep extra protection such as a mace spray and do not expose your camera and phone too openly. The caves should only be done in large groups, always.
What costs did you incurr to do this hike: none
Pics taken by: Alex Aitkenhead, Juanita Welgemoed, Brian Spratley, Iva Lopes de Sarria.
I would like to invite any of the hikers who joined us on this hike to email me their rating and I will gladly put it into this post.
Juanita: I loved this hike! What an experience to go through such a long cave. The narrow passageways and large chambers were awesome to see. We were fortunate enough to have a very good torch, and could see all the details. Echo Valley and Spes Bona Valley are just breathtaking yellowwood and milkwood forrests. I call them my fairytale forrests. The group that joined us were so much fun too. Its always nice to have a crowd of enthusiastic friends and makes for awesome pictures too. Thanks to Iva for suggesting this route and to everyone who joined us on it.
Rock Art along the way!
As we were walking up, I noticed the most beautiful rock art on the path. Well done to the artist who did this.
Walk for about half an hour up this path and on your right you will find a beautiful stone cut pond known as Weary Willy's.
Do not cross this little stream (yet), but continue to follow the path up the mountain in the direction of Echo Valley Forrest.
Weary Willy's Stone Pool, Latitude 34° 7'17.69"S, Longitude 18°26'46.48"E
Your next landmark is about 15 minutes away, a place called Hungry Harry's (going up) on your right. This is a cluster of boulders forming a perfect hide out where one can take a break or just explore.
(In the picture below you can also notice Ou Kraal Koppie in the middle back ground. We passed this little hill on our return route.)
Hungry Harry's Rock, Latitude 34° 7'9.26"S, Longitude 18°26'34.73"E
Continue past Hungry Harry's up the valley for about 100m where you will find a fork in the path. Take the left fork and walk along the Jolulu Track.
Jojulu Track, Latitude 34° 7'7.87"S, Longitude 18°26'31.41"E
You will find it to be a little bit of rock scrambling on your way up.
Most of the route is easy walking and should not take more than 20 minutes to get to the top.
Soon you will be entertained by the magnificent views of Fishhoek, Simonstown and Cape Point in the far distance.
(Click on the above image for enlarged view)
We ended up stuck in one long row and Iva noted it would make for an awesome team photo (this one was captured by our Head of Photography - Alex).
Thanks Iva for getting such a cool shot of us!
Not even a tough guy like Mitch could resist these stunning flowers. This mountain can bring out even the softer side of a man. I just loved this shot and tweaked it in photoshop to look like a painting. Right click on it and use it for a desktop ladies. It should keep your mind entertained when work sometimes gets too much.
Hikers on this route:
Alex Aitkenhead, Brian Spratley, Camilla Fraser, Elizabeth Oh, Hennie Genis, Iva Lopes de Sarria, Juanita Welgemoed, Justin Groombridge,Michell Geere, Simon Bishop, Rudi Nagel.
Our next stop was the caves less than 2 minutes walk from this spot... keep reading the next post to see what we found in the stunning Boomslang Cave.