My knees needed a bit of a break after the descent down Nursery Ravine, so I suggested that we take on the nice and easy Elephant’s Eye trail for the hike this weekend.
At the gate you will have to pay an entry fee of R50 per person as a conservation fee. Just after the gate you will be out of cell reception, so if you are meeting up with others for this hike be sure to either drive together or form a solid plan on which starting point to meet at. We had a bit of an issue here as we parked at the mountain bike start point and the rest of the group parked at the dam.
The two starting points eventually meet up once the gravel path starts climbing a bit. If you don’t mind the extra walk I would suggest starting farther back at the mountain bike starting point. There are lots of beautiful flowers to spot on the initial stretch and it is a nice warm-up to the uphill sections.
Looking back at where the two paths converge
Thankfully once the paths met up we managed to spot the rest of our group and join up with them. Once the path starts climbing you have a choice on how to ascend. There is a stepped path that shortcuts quite a bit of the gravel path or take the longer winding route up. Whichever you choose will lead you to the top of the hill. Here you should be on the lookout for the first path on your right. This is the route marked on the information board and the one I would suggest taking on the way to the cave.
After a sandy section you will cross a small stream and reach a few trees and a fallen log overlooking an amazing view. This is a great place to take a short break to admire the view for a bit.
Continue along the path for a bit and you should see a structure up on a hill up ahead.
This is the fire lookout. Once you reach a fork in the road it is worth it to take the right path up to the lookout itself. The panoramic view from outside the building is outstanding. From here you can see Constantia, Tokai and False Bay.
After admiring the views head back to the fork in the road and continue along the path labelled “Elephant’s Eye”. At this point you shouldn’t really need the path markers though, the cave should be in full view right in front of you.
From here the path starts getting more rocky and tricky to navigate. When you have an eye to spare be sure to cast it over the views below you.
Don’t spend too long admiring these views though – the cave offers even better views. After a bit of climbing you should reach the cave and be rewarded with those views. The cave itself does not go very deep into the mountain, but it is a great place to picnic. The mouth of the cave frames the vista in a rather dramatic way. It’s worth climbing up to the top of the cave for some cool photo opportunities as well.
Retrace your steps back toward the lookout and you should come across a path down to the right. This is an alternate gravel path back toward the dam that I would recommend taking. This path leads you away from the views of the city but it offers some lovely silence, which when coupled with not being able to see the city gives a real sense of tranquility. There are also some amazing flowers to spot on this path.
Eventually the path will join up to the gravel path leading to the parking lots. From here it is quite simple to find your way back.
If you have some time to spare, try and stop by the Silvermine Dam on your way back to the car. Even if you aren’t planning on swimming there are lots of cool things to spot while taking a leisurely stroll around the dam.
Near the parking lot you can even find out a bit more about the history of the dam.
The Elephant’s Eye trail at Silvermine is quite easy without much elevation except for the last 50m or so which has some rocky steps. Taking just over two hours it is manageable and offers amazing views for the time invested. It is a great hike for families to do, after the hike itself the rest of the day can be spent swimming and relaxing at the dam. I would highly recommend spending some time at Silvermine this summer.