02 July 2014 by Tara Turkington

Silvermine Nature Reserve: Great choice for a family walk in Cape Town

Visit the Silvermine Nature Reserve on the back slopes of Table Mountain for a great family walk.

King pink protea (Protea cynaroides), Silvermine Nature Reserve
Sign to the Silvermine Reservoir Trail

Looking for a good family walk in the Cape Town area?

The Silvermine Nature Reserve, which is part of the Table Mountain National Park (and therefore the greater Cape Floral Region World Heritage Site), is perfect for the very young (think prams), the very old (think wheelchairs) and all ages in between.

Bright colours, Silvermine Nature Reserve

Silvermine is accessed off Ou Kaapse Weg, the pass over the Table Mountain range that takes you from the Muizenberg side to the Noordhoek and Kommetjie side of Cape Town. It’s about a 30-minute drive from the centre of Cape Town, in non-peak-hour traffic.

There are several walks and mountain-biking trails you can do at and around Silvermine, including a hike to the Elephant’s Eye cave, or if you’re fit and adventurous, a hike all the way to the upper cable-car station on Table Mountain (your best bet if you’re doing this is to catch the cable car down and leave a car or get someone to fetch you from the lower cable station).

One of the nicest and most family-friendly walks, though, is the Silvermine Reservoir Trail, which takes you all the way round a large lake-like reservoir. The route is mostly along a boardwalk, though there are bits that are a little more 'off-road' if you are pushing a pram or wheelchair (though it’s all still very pushable).

Typical Silvermine vegetation. Most alien vegetation has been cleared from this area, so the fauna here is almost completely indigenous

This walk is about a kilometre around and offers spectacular views of the reservoir, originally built in 1898. Look out for king proteas and other fynbos species as you go, and if you’re a birdwatcher, be sure to take your binoculars. There are also plenty of spots to picnic around the reservoir, and some braai spots set out by the park for your use.

You can also stay overnight if you like – there are some rustic cabins that are the accommodation for the Hoerikwaggo Trail, managed by South African National Parks (SANParks), just near the entrance to the reserve. 

The origin of Silvermine’s name is not certain – some say it’s named after the Silver River that runs through the reserve, while others say it’s named after early Dutch Governor Simon van der Stel’s search for silver here between 1675 and 1685.

  • Opening times: winter (May to September): 8am to 5pm; summer (October to April): 7am to 6pm
  • Entrance: R40 per adult, though free if you have a Wild Card (get more details on the Wild Card website)
  • Tel: +27 (0)21 780 9002 (SANParks gate)
  • Tel: +27 (0)21 789 2457 (SANParks office)
Silvermine boardwalk
Silvermine reservoir
Black girdled lizard (Cordylus niger)
Egyptian goose (Alopochen aegyptiacus)
Kids will enjoy the boardwalk at Silvermine
King white protea (Protea cynaroides)
Living and dying
Silvermine reservoir wall and walkway
Protea repens
Silvermine boardwalk
Accommodation in the Silvermine Tented Camp
You'll see plenty of fauna and flora if you look carefully
'Walking on water.' A boy standing on a submerged rock makes for a fun photo
The Silvermine Reservoir Trail is pram-friendly and wheelchair-friendly, so makes a great outing for grandparents and grandkids
Dogs swimming, Silvermine reservoir
The road from Silvermine

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Category: Attractions, Health & Wellness, Routes & Trails

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