Cape Town’s southern peninsula is packed to the gills with natural beauty. If it were possible one would get quite tired of green mountains and blue oceans. As it’s not possible, however, residents count their blessings and quietly feel sorry for all those people who live anywhere else.
All of the mountains quite naturally lend themselves to hiking, so it’s no surprise that hiking is one of the region’s more popular activities. There are plenty of trails to keep avid walkers busy, starting with:
- Elephant’s Eye Cave. This is not a strenuous hike by any means; in fact it’s rather gentle and ideal for those who can only spare the time for the occasional nature walk. It starts in the Silvermine Nature Reserve (off Ou Kaapse Weg), which has a nominal entrance fee (R20 last time this lazy schmo went). You follow the trail past the reservoir (to your left) and head towards the Constantiaberg. As you walk you’ll see jaw-dropping views of Fish Hoek, Noordhoek and the Tokai Forest. When you come back down you can take a dip in the reservoir to cool off.(Elephant’s Eye Cave is also accessible from Tokai Forest, but the walk is longer and slightly more challenging than that from Silvermine.)
- Silvermine River Walk is a circular trail that lasts between 1½ and 2½ hours. Once you enter the reserve and have parked your car you’ll need to make your way down to the river. The trail is well-marked so it isn’t difficult to follow. You’ll follow the river for about 2km until you reach the dam. Some of the walk is sheltered beneath Keurboom trees, but a lot of it is exposed so you definitely want to take some sun block. Near the dam you’ll pass a waterfall, which is a perfect place to stop and catch your breath. At the dam you can choose to take the 1km route that circles it or you can go on to the picnic area. The walk around the dam is wheel-chair friendly and well worth the extra effort.
Intuition Walks lists another three Silvermine hiking trails:
- Silvermine Circuit to Noordhoek Peak and the Panorama Path.
- Silvermine Valley to the waterfall, which is similar to the Silvermine River Walk, but which includes Nellie’s pool and Muizenberg Cave.
- Silvermine Valley (from gate 2) past Steenberg Peak to Maidens’ Pool and Mimetes Grove.
If all of that sounds like a lot of effort, however, you can always head down to Fish Hoek beach and try Jagger’s Walk. The walkway along the edge of the sea is perfect for ambling. If you go at high tide you’ll get to feel the spray of the waves breaking over the rocks and if you go during whale season you’re almost guaranteed to spot some great Southern Rights playing in the sea. There are benches all along the walk, so you can stop and admire the view whenever you please.
(image by China Crisis (Own work) via Wikimedia Commons)