Hiking longer trails was totally new to me until 2020.I hiked to Elephant’s Eye, Constantia Nek , Lion’s Head and Devils Peak all in one year. It wasn’t easy and my poor boyfriend/hiking partner was majorly supportive, whilst I huffed and puffed my way up the trails. We started our hike up Elephant’s Eye from the easiest route which is from Silvermine reservoir (there’s a dam you can hike to as well) . We drove up Ou Kaapse Weg and that cut off time from the hiking route. Silvermine is part of the Table Mountain National Park which is well known in Cape Town and consists of beautiful outdoorsy areas. Silvermine also has other hiking trails but, for this blog I’m only writing about Elephant’s Eye.
Elephant’s Eye hike
Elephant’s Eye is a cave located on the slops of Constantiaberg. When you are there you will have a breathtaking view the Cape Flats and False Bay. I’m still not a pro hiker and I have a breathing issue when I exert myself whilst exercising because I’m not fit. But, this is a relatively easy hike. It is mostly a flat sandy and gravel trail. It’s not just a lot of gruelling rocks.
You will pass trees, I love trees, beautiful flowers a small stream called the Prinzkasteel (Princecastle) Stream which totally got my feet wet, and a fire lookout which I went to after I hiked down. It’s closer than the Elephant’s Eye cave but, your end destination is super close so don’t stop there. It’s worth the last bit of hiking to get to Elephant’s Eye.
Call the emergency number if you get lost or injured +27 (0)86 110 6417.
If you want to stay overnight, contact +27 (0)21 422 2816
Braai/barbecue facilities for larger groups are available for hire, please contact +27 (0)21 712 7471.
How much does it cost to hike Elephant’s Eye?
We paid a conservation fee which is minimal. If you are South African you pay less than international hikers. Remember to take your ID with. It’s R35 for South African hikers and R140 for foreign visitors which is $9.40 cents at the moment. The price list is here on the SAN Parks website: https://www.sanparks.org/parks/table_mountain/tourism/tariffs.php
Silvermine became part of the Table Mountain National Park on 1 May 1998. This gives the area protection as it’s now part of a reserve. Silvermine is gorgeous with many plants and flowers along the way called fynbos. Indigenous plants are protected and alien species such as pine trees are felled to keep the area safe and beautiful. The conservation fee therefore helps keep this paradise thriving and pretty.
Why is it called Elephant’s Eye?
The name comes from the fact that the mountain kind of looks like an elephant’s head and the cave is where the elephant’s eye would be. It’s a bit of a stretch in my opinion. But, it is sort of kind of like an elephant’s head and I do love the alliteration of the name. It just sounds good. The trail could have been called Flower’s paradise since there’s so many stunning flowers along the trail just look below.
What should I bring with me when I hike Elephant’s Eye?
- Picnic– I don’t really picnic after hike but, I do take along some snacks to take a short break and then I hike down. It’s sort of the same thing. This trail does have lots of perfect picnic spots. Do pack a picnic if you love picnics.
- Garbage bag– You won’t find bins along the trail. Be sure to bring a bag along for any trash. It is important to keep the trail pristine for the next hiker.
- Hiking shoes – Always wear good shoes with a strong grip. The trail doesn’t have a side barrier and there is a small stream to cross. Be safe and wear shoes appropriate for hiking.
- A hat and sunscreen– The sun can cook you in Cape Town so be sure to have sunscreen. You will need a UV 30 or higher sun screen mine is 50. Be sure to apply every 20 minutes. I applied once before a hike and ended up with horrible sunburn recently. Carry it with you. A hat will help with the sun as well even though I don’t always pack one it is a good idea.
- Camera– Make sure it is fully charged as you will want to take photos of the flowers and the awesome view.
- Water– Trust me it’s essential you will need water.
Opening and closing times
The Silvermine Gate 2 parking area is open at 08:00 throughout the year. The closing times for this gate is 6pm. For the other open access points to these Silvermine trails (6 other access points), entry is still permitted from sunrise, exit by sunset.
Enquiries: 021 712 7471
Distance: 3.2 miles / under 8km
Time: Roughly 2 hours excluding picnic time
Kid friendly: It is a child friendly hike
Dog friendly: Dogs are allowed but they must be on a leash and you need a level 1 permit. Find out more https://www.sanparks.org/parks/table_mountain/tourism/activities.php#dogwalking
The trail is easy to follow just look out for the markers, like the one in the photo below.
Thank you so much for reading and wherever you are I hope you are doing well.