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Thursday, January 1, 2009

Silvermine Elephants Eye Cave

Hiking Trail: Silvermine Elephants Eye Cave
Name of Reserve / Area: Table Mountain National Park, Silvermine (West)
Nearest Town: Constantia, Kommetjie
Province: Western Cape
Country: South Africa

Duration of hike: 2 hours

Directions to get there: From Cape Town CBD, drive south down the M3. At the end of the M3 turn right. 2nd Traffic light thereafter, turn left onto Ou Kaapse Weg. Go all the way to the top. As you reach the top, you will see the entrance to the Silvermine Nature Reserve on your right.

Best time of year to go: Any time is good.

What costs did you incurr to do this hike: Im not sure about the costs of overnighting here, but I did see a tented camp facility if you are interested inside the Resort. Our day rate was R15-00 per person.

The Silvermine lake provides a perfect opportunity for a swim and a pic-nic on a good weather day.

I was lucky to enjoy a awesome snack with my friends before I ventured off into the hills.

Its always good to have friends that are excellent pic-nic caterers!

How safe is it: I felt very safe in this reserve.

Fresh Water: Yes at the lake there are taps and a toilet facility. There is a stream that you cross, I expect the water to be very clean as this is the location close to the source of the Silvermine River.

Difficulty: Mike Lundy 2A. There is little shade available during the hike, the inclines are very minor and a unfit person could do this route and enjoy it too.

Start from the car park, and follow the sign which indicates the direction of the Elephant Cave Walk. The single track passes the lake on the right as you head up the mountain. As soon as you reach a T-junction, turn left onto the Jeep Track (which is also used by the mountain bikers).

The road will wind itself up the mountain and as soon as the zig-zag of the path ends, look out for a path to your right with another sign Elephants Eye.

Take this stone cut route untill you reach the next landmark which is a forrest.

You will notice how high up on the mountain you really are from this point and see the Tokai forrest below. Soon you will also have your first sighting of the Lookout Hut in the pic below.

Cross over a small stream.

During this time of the year (Summer) the entire Table Mountain National Park is covered in these beautiful flowers. (Im not sure what they are and invite anyone to pls tell me).

When you reach the hill of the Lookout Hut, you will notice behind you the forrest and the path you have just come from.

This Lookout Hut is for the forresters to keep a lookout for fires. There is a guard sitting in this little hut all the time.

The Lookout Hut provides you with the most stunning views of the Cape Peninsula.

Pets: Pets are not allowed by the pic-nic area directly next to the lake and they are very strict with this rule, but otherwise you can bring your dog on this hike.

From the hut, you will notice the path indicating the route to the Elephants Eye Cave. The name is derived from the fact that this mountain is the shape of an elephants head and the cave is perfectly located where the eye should be.

The pic above shows you the view from the Elephants Eye Cave towards the Lookout Hut and the path you just came from to get to the cave. Muizenberg is in the far back ground.

The path towards the cave also enjoyes the view of the Tokai forrest which is situated directly below.

The cave is a massive hole in the mountain and a perfect spot for a pit stop before you retrace your steps back down the mountain.

The pic above indicates the route you should follow back. The path on the right is the route you have just come from after the cave, and the Jeep Track on the left is the route you need to take to get back to the lake and your car. From here you will be walking along a different route which you actually have come from. Follow the Jeep Track to another T-junction and turn left down towards the lake.

This path in the picture above is a short-cut down to the lake. Follow this path and retrace your steps back to your car.
Hikers Ratings: Juanita: I enjoyed this relaxing and very safe hike and could have gone further, but due to time constraints, I only managed to do the Elephant Cave Route.
I was pleasantly suprised at the stunning pic nic and braai facilities that is being offered around the lake. Everyone swims in the lake. Mountain biking is also available in the reserve.
The cave is nothing much but a big hole in the mountain, but it was still really awesome to see it and the views it had to offer. This is also a very popular route and I saw many people along this walk.


Anonymous said...

Hi Juanita – I agree this is a lovely hike. If you want to make a longer trip out of it you should try it from the Tokai Arboretum. It is quite a long climb up to the cave but it makes a more challenging hike. The red flowers are Watsonias and are always very prevalent when there has been a fire on the mountain. Hope you had a good Xmas and New Year


Anonymous said...

Hey, great blog! I hope to make it to South Africa someday soon.

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