Great Trails of SA: Silvermine, Western Cape

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WHY GO
Excellent running right on the Mother City doorstep comes to you courtesy of Silvermine Nature Reserve, a protected area set along the south-eastern slopes of Table Mountain. If you’re down in this neck of the woods for the Two Oceans Marathon, but still enjoy dabbling in a touch of trail, Silvermine is less than half an hour from the city centre, with stunning views across both False Bay and the Atlantic, and even has a remote tarmac strip for those not keen to get their shoes dirty!

WHAT YOU GET
A whole network of circular and return routes spider-web through the Fynbos vegetation blanketing the Reserve. Options include the full gamut, from a gruelling gravel road climb up Ou Wapad, to a punchy and technical 4.5km River Trail looping from the Northern Gate. The southern section combines meandering gravel road loops with excellent single-track booming up onto the trails traversing Steenberg and Muizenberg Peaks.

WHERE TO RUN
Silvermine boasts so many options, with a total trail distance of well over 50km. If you’re looking for a quickie workout for a couple of hours before or after work, thump onto the River Trail from the Silvermine North entrance gate. Get ready for a combo of gravel road and hiking trail, with some wooden boardwalk and a touch of tarmac on the side. Expect rocky ascents, loose gravel and looping Fynbos singletrack, with a workout bordering on hardcore if you plan to take on the complete route.

Keep to the left of Silvermine River, following the rocky River Trail up to the concrete dam wall for 3.5km and then keep right. (A River Trail return run would be a good start for beginners). Keep left past the dam onto the concrete dual-track, then look for a single-track forking right to wind its way towards Elephants Eye Cave before dog-legging left to cross over the gravel road and ascend up Silvermine Peak. A twisty-turny trail brimming with rock-hopping and tight Fynbos bends drops you back down towards the dam, from where you can double back to the start, either via the River Trail boardwalk or the rough-and-ready loop above the Ou Wapad and back to the gate.

Fast Facts: SILVERMINE
MAP: Available at Silvermine entrance or download at www.mtbroutes.co.za.
ACCESS REQUIREMENTS: SANParks Wild Card, or a fee of R40 per day (adults).
TRAIL MARKINGS: Limited signage at main trail junctions.
FACILITIES: Secure parking, ablutions, picnic spots, swimming in dam.
CELL RECEPTION: Relatively good.
BEWARE: Mountain bikers, hikers and dogs.
TIME OF YEAR: Trails may be sandy in summer; waterproof gear is a must in winter.
LOCAL INFO: www.sanparks.org.za

GETTING THERE
Follow the M3 from Cape Town towards Muizenberg, then keep right along the M42 onto the M64 (Ou Kaapse Weg). Silvermine Nature Reserve (North) is on your right just as you reach the top.
GPS: 34º 05’ 135” South / 18º 25’ 144” East

STAY HERE
Check out www.capepointroute.co.za.

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