Table Mountain and Lion’s Head are the iconic mountains to climb in Cape Town but Silvermine Reserve has many more advantages for me. It takes me just a few minutes to reach, it’s big so has a large variety of paths short and long, fabulous fynbos with masses of proteas, a dam in which to cool off at the end of a hike, and the views change constantly as you change direction and climb – one minute you’re overlooking Muizenberg and the Cape Flats and a few minutes later you see the whole of False Bay to Simonstown. But keep walking a little longer and higher and you’ll have views of the Atlantic seaboard all the way from Kommetjie to Hout Bay with The Sentinel far below looking almost insignificant, and Chapman’s Peak Drive winding its way around the mountain like a narrow ribbon.
I also like Silvermine because it’s only frequented by picnickers, hikers, climbers and other like-minded folk. Vida even has a special permit – she loves the fynbos, I’m convinced she reacts to it differently to the plants elsewhere, must be the scent.
Silvermine has two entrances with the main one being the most popular because the area is larger, and one can braai (wind depending) or picnic around the dam, whereas the other entrance (Silvermine East, on the left after the first gate when coming up from Tokai) is less well-known but just as lovely and it has an amazing waterfall. The main entrance is also home to tented accommodation that forms part of the famous Hoerikkwago Trail, a trail of 3 to 5 days, depending on how much you want to do.
On the day these photos were taken we were 7 adults, one 3 year old and 2 dogs. The child and one of the dogs were carried most of the way. The hiking books and maps call this a 2-3 hour walk but we took almost all day because we dawdled and stopped many times to appreciate our surroundings and take in the views, especially the highest point which is Noordhoek Peak. Coffee, tea and several well-earned rolls later we were ready for the descent which was a piece of cake after the slow ascent. A barefoot paddle in the dam ended a perfect day!
Just writing this has made me want to do it again, soon!