Don’t miss the opportunity to visit Elephant´s Eye Cave in Cape Town, the hiking has incredible views and in the end you can swim in a dam!
The Elephant’s Eye Cave is located in Silvermine Nature Reserve; which forms part of the Table Mountain National Park. The name is derived from the fact that this mountain looks like the shape of an elephant’s head and the cave is perfectly located where the eye would be. The ‘eye’ has great views over Cape Town.
1. Why should you go there?
The route is for everybody that loves to hike no matter the expertise level. Experienced hikers will love the great vibes and beginners will be able to easily finish the full route as the inclines are not very difficult.
The roads are additionally mostly made of gravel, which makes it very doable. It is also suitable for children and there are certain areas which are wheelchair accessible.
It takes about 2.5 hours to finish the full tour from the parking lot. Because it is shorter it is perfect for a quick walk during the week or in the weekends!
The ultimate views are definitely breathtaking and some people even call it ’the most photogenic views in all of the Western Cape’. The Elephants Eye Cave is definitely also a great stop, as it is covered in green, which makes it a very magical and a great place for a quick stop. From the cave you can view the wonderful forests and vineyards of Tokai and Constantia.
2. Location and opening hours
Where is it Located?
The Cave is located in the heart of the Table Mountain National Park (TMNP). This is in the city of Cape Town, which makes it ideal for a quick and easy trip to the nature. It is easily reachable by car and there is a car park. You can however also reach Silvermine by train, which is very affordable.
The reserve is split by Ou Kaapse Weg into two areas, having each their own activities.
- Gate One: this is on the right side of Ou Kaapse Weg if you are coming from Cape Town. This section is mostly known for hiking and mountain biking. If you are hiking you can enjoy the Constantaiburg Mountain for wonderful views of Hout Bay. If you are more into relaxing, then you can have a light walk on the boardwalk or have a picnic.
- Gate Two: after passing gate one you can turn left and you will enter this section. This part is known for the Afromontane Forest waterfalls and very interesting geology. You can also hike to Kalk Bay.
For the Elephant’s Eye Hike enter Gate 1.
How to get there?
- By car: you’ll take 20 minutes from Cape Town’s City Center. UBER cost is around $170 ZAR = $15 USD.
- By Train: MyCity Bus doesn’t reach this part of Cape Town but you can go to the train Station located in Civic Centre in the City Center and get a $12 ZAR = $1 USD ticket using the southern line (Cape Flats) either to Retreat Station (the train will take around 30 minutes to get there and then in that station you’ll find taxis that can take you to the entrance) or to Steenberg Station (where you can take an UBER).
Opening hours and fees
- October – March (summer): 7am – 6pm, exit at 7pm
- April – September (winter): 8am – 5pm, exit at 6pm
- Adults: $50 ZAR = $4 USD
- Children under 12: $25 ZAR = $2 USD
- Mountain Bike: $80 ZAR = $6.5 USD
- Dog walking: $65 ZAR = $5 USD
- Climbing: $75 ZAR = $6 USD
3. What to bring
- Hiking Gear: Make sure to bring good hiking gear for the walk, such as good hiking boots and caps for the sun.
- Swimming Gear: Don’t forget swimsuits/bikinis/swim shorts as you can swim in the dam!
- Sunblock: The sun can get very hot on top of the hills, so make sure to bring a lot of sunblock. Also if you tend to burn fast, it is advisable to wear shirts with long sleeves and/or caps.
- Food and Water: There are no shops in the neighborhood so it is recommended to bring some snacks/food. Water is a must however! Make sure to bring lots of it as it can get very hot.
- Garbage bag: Bins are only provided at the car park, so make sure to bring enough bags to prevent littering.
- Camera/Video Equipment: The breathtaking views are asking to be shot! Don’t forget to bring good cameras to film the nature’s beauty.
- Pets: Dogs are allowed at certain routes of the reserve.
- Money: There is an entrance fee, which needs to be paid in cash.
- Braai equipment: In winter you can braai in certain areas of the Silvermine Dam.
- Numbers: Some helpful numbers, which can be brought during the hike during
- Emergency/injury: +27 (0)86 110 6417.
- Questions regarding overnight stay at the Silvermine Tented Camp: +27 (0)21 422 2816
- Braaing facilities for larger groups to rent: +27 (0)21 712 7471.
It’s a relatively easy and short hike to the cave with a few steep climbs thrown in.
The trail starts at the Silver Mine dam at Ou Kaapse Weg. Park your car, and start walking.
The trail is clearly marked and it’s a narrow path to start with but it gets wider and eventually joins the Jeep track.
You can follow the road all the way up but we decided to make a few shortcuts to cut out the loops. The first shortcut is a brief but steep climb.
From the top of this ridge the path descends to a saddle and pine trees . Here you have your first glimpse of the amazing views that await.
We continue to look out to the look-out hut , which is held by a park ranger and there is a lookout point from where you can see the wine farms on the peninsula, the southern suburbs and False Bay.
From here you can see Elephants Eye Cave and the cliff facing above you.
From the lookout point you have a very short and abrupt climb, that will make you sweat quite a bit. Soon you are at the top from where it’s a short walk to leveling ground to the cave. Numerous species grow here and the biodiversity is wonderful here.
The walk down is fortunately much easier than the way up. You can spot the blue daisy which flowers from January to march.
The walk comes with a surprise: a dam! You can refresh yourself from the hike in this beautiful dam. The temperature of the water is relatively warmer than the ocean, which makes it a perfect swim. It is also a great place for picnics with friends and family.
Don’t miss your chance to come to the Elephant’s Eye Cave if you visit Cape Town, South Africa!
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