Monday, May 2, 2011

"Surviving" Silvermine

So we were on our way to Cape Point. Having arrived there we saw that the entrance fee to the Cape of Good Hope would rob us from R180. That is R80 per adult and R20 per child younger than 12. My wife and I looked at each other and wondered if we wanted to pay that money to see Cape Point. In the back of the car we had a little boy just wanting to do another survival expedition. We didn't want to disappoint him either, but this was clearly a rip-off. The only place I could think of to do another survival which was not going to cost us an arm and a leg in the process was Tokai Forest. We turned around without shame and headed back to Fish Hoek and over Ou Kaapse Weg towards Tokai. On our way we wanted to stop for water, but my son nonchalantly told us that he doesn't want to stop and that we could find our own water wherever we are going. I wasn't going to take that chance but I did appreciate his confidence. When we crossed Ou Kaapse Weg we saw the Silvermine Nature Reserve turn-off and decided to give it a try instead. Fifty Rands later we were heading towards some unknown destination to do another "Ultimate Survival". Unfortunately this time we were met by more cars than all put together on our previous locations. My son pointed that out very quickly but we persuaded him that we could just check out the place and see what it was that was drawing all these people to Silvermine.

If there is one thing that my son's interest in survival has given me then it is the joy of discovering many hidden gems I probably never would've seen if it wasn't for our continuous search for "uninhabited" destinations. Silvermine Nature Reserve is probably not the best and most beautiful place around the Western Cape, but discovering a new place today was yet again very exciting. I guess there is not much to do other than hiking or hanging round the reservoir with its black water at Silvermine, but the place was popular nevertheless. At first we were feeling a bit weird walking there feeling like total intruders into someone else's secret. I said to my wife that this could've been a well-hidden nudist colony, or at least a very good place to start one. Apart from small kids swimming totally naked, fortunately this wasn't the case and soon we realized that we were probably more surprized by what we've found hidden away in the mountains than by being "intruders".

Practicing rope skills

Building a shelter

Shelter completed :-)
In order to get to a path with less people around, we started with one of the hiking trails but turned around after a short while. Closer to the entrance gate was a shorter trail leading to the river which we thought would be more suitable for a 4-year old adventurer. We eventually walked right around the reservoir while my son was constantly looking for things that he could use for his survival. I took pictures but only when we went to the river trail we actually found a dry river bed where my son had plenty of time to practice his survival skills without having any people around. We spend some time there while he was building a shelter and collecting fire wood. It was amazing to just discover another place I probably never would've seen if I hadn't decide to turn off and investigate for the sake of my son's happiness. With all the braai areas I think this could be a very nice place to have a picnic/braai at some stage. I am thinking of getting a Wild Card so that we can enter all the CapeNature Reserves for free. There are 24 of these reserves and I am sure that we could visit all of them in one year. I don't know when I am going to ride my bike again, but the satisfaction I get from doing this for my son is probably more than what he gets by pretending to be the "ultimate survivor".


  1. Thats the first time I have ever seen the explorer with something on his feet !!

  2. Yeah, it took me a while to convince him that Bear Grylls always wears "survival shoes"....