Elsies Peak Hike
This is a great walk if you are looking for something moderate and not too strenuous.
There are three official starting points
- From the parking on Outspan Road on Kommetjie Road in Fish Hoek, follow the steps up the hillside to Berg Road. Cross Berg Road and take the path up the hill (to the right hand side of the Parks notice board), pass under thick foliage and then bear right up the rocky pathway.
- From the Parks entrance sign almost at the end of Mountain Road and near the Trek Fisherman’s Lookout, follow the path which intersects the Circular Route path in the vicinity of the old Quarry.
- From the Parks entrance sign on Golconda Road,Glencairn Heights, follow the path which leads directly to the summit. The walk is steep in places but well defined with great views of Fish Hoek. The view over False Bay gets better as you reach the summit with panoramic vistas of Simon’s Town and Glencairn. On a clear day you can see past Simon's Town in the one direction, and past Kalk Bay on to Muizenberg in the other direction.
There is a wide variety of Fynbos that you will be passing, with a large amount of pincushion Protea (Leucospermum cordifolium) plants around. Other fynbos plants and flowers you could see are Gladiolus dibilis, Hebenstretia, Geissorhiza and Adenandra, Crassula fascicularis, Nemesia affinis, Serruria villosa, Stilbe ericoides, Cullumia setosa, Erica imbricata, Wachendorfia paniculata and Trachyandra hirsutiflora to name a few.
This hike will take you approximately 2 hours and is very rewarding for the time taken to reach the summit.
Silvermine Nature Reserve Circut Hike (about a 20 minute drive away from us)
This enjoyable, all-seasons hike takes you through rare indigenous forest to the most splendid viewing positions surveying the Peninsula. The route along the central stream takes you to a mountain reservoir which has its own sense of peace and tranquillity. The reservoir is a favourite place to picnic and swim, so bring food and your swimming gear if you feel like relaxing once you have finished your hike.
You can follow these amazing views towards the Constantiaberg into Elephants Eye cave. From Elephants Eye Cave, you can return along the same route, or continue on the circut route around and back down to the reservoir. The circut route has spectacular views of Hout Bay and the Sentinel as you walk surrounded by beautiful views and fynbos.
This hike usually takes at least 3 to four hours, depending on the route you take, and your fitness level.
Peers Cave Hike in Fish Hoek
Peers cave is not strictly a cave in the sense that it is a small opening with a large chamber on the other side, its more like a large overhang in the rock that boasts magnificent views of the Fish Hoek valley, and Sun Valley.
There are two well known routes to Peers Cave, with the easy way being the one most people choose because its faster, and not very steep at all. The easy way involves driving through Fish Hoek and Sun Valley, and driving a little way up Ou Kaapse Weg. As you drive up Ou Kaapse Weg, once the road does its first big bend, you will see the Peers cave sign and a small parking area on the right hand side of the road. The parking area is on your right if you are heading towards Cape Town, and is just before San Michel Estate which will be on your left a little further on.
From the parking area there are well worn paths that take you straight to the cave along the top of the ridge that the cave is part of. Taking this route to get to Peers cave should take you about 20 minutes walk, and is fairly flat the majority of the way.
The harder way to get to Peers Cave is to go over the dunes in Fish Hoek, then hike up to the cave through the fynbos. This route is a lot steeper, and it will take you a bit longer to get to the cave.
Kalk Bay Caves and hikes (about 15 minutes drive away from us)
Kalk Bay has some amazing hiking trails, with wonderful views and beautiful indigenous fynbos and forests. The easiest place to start hiking is directly above Kalk Bay harbour, on the scenic Boyes Drive, look for the Echo Valley sign on the left, which will lead you up to the main paths. You could also start a little further on towards Muizenberg, also on Boyes Drive, at Ou Kraal.
Your fist stop on the hike is Weary Willy's pool, where you can decide if you want to go the route of the beautiful Spes Bona forest with wooden boardwalks, to the ampitheatre, or via Echo Valley, also leading to the ampitheatre. A good idea is to take a circular route, going 'right' at Weary Willy's, on the route through the spes bona forest, then returning via Echo Valley.
This hike should take you around 4 hours depending on your fitness level, longer if you decide to visit the Kalk Bay caves.
What to take if you are going to visit the caves:
Protective clothing, like overalls. Jeans and a jersey will do for short caving trips but will be uncomfortable in narrow caves where crawling may be necessary. Light! Each person on the trip should carry at least two torches, so that if one breaks there will always be a spare. Carry spare batteries and have at least one headlamp-type torch to allow for the free use of your hands. Extra energy food. A small medical kit. Cellphone.
When you are caving Always watch the time. Ensure that you do not exceed your capabilities. If one of your torches breaks, leave the cave as soon as possible. Never leave used batteries in a cave. The chemicals that leak from the batteries could cause serious damage to the environment.
Tartarus Cave is basically a long passageway and series of chambers that penetrate 50m (164ft) into the mountain. It is quite a dangerous cave to visit but, since the entrance is right next to the path on the top of Kalk Bay Mountain, it is tempting to explore. If you insist on going without guidance, be aware that you will find a large, slippery-edged pit at the end. Please take extreme care and ensure that you have several light sources when entering.
Follow directions for Kalk Bay Mountain and, once you reach the beacon on the summit, turn right, along the top of the plateau in the direction of the sea. The entrance is a five-minute walk away, on your left.
Boomslang Cave above Kalk Bay runs right through the mountain for approximately 200m (656ft). The entrance to the cave is a large vertical crack on the Fish Hoek side of the mountain, accessible from Boyes Drive. Park as for the hike up Kalk Bay Mountain and proceed past Weary Willy’s Pool up Echo Valley (your descent route on the hike described). After about 10 minutes you will come to a clump of boulders on your right (often marked as Hungry Harry’s on maps and in guidebooks).
Take a path off to your left and climb until you pass through a short rock tunnel and begin to descend towards Fish Hoek. Keep right, and high, until you see a ravine, just around the corner on your right. Scramble up (there are actually two ravines, both of which are relatively straightforward) and, once at the top, contour for about five minutes until you see three cave entrances on your right just before a grove of yellowwoods. The entrance to Boomslang is the obvious wide crack slightly above you.
The cave is best visited in summer as there is a seasonal pool just inside the entrance of the cave, which makes it quite damp in winter. Visitors are requested not to enter the cave in the winter months, lest they disturb the resident population of Schreiber’s Long-fingered Bats. Further into the cave is a large canyon passage, which has a rock formation known as The Pulpit on one side. A little further on, the passage narrows, the ceiling becomes lower and the floor becomes rocky. After a few twists and turns, you’ll find yourself in a low, round chamber known as Bat’s Chamber. The way out is via a short, low crawl along a sandy floor to the sunshine on the other side of the mountain, and into Echo Valley.
Visitors to Boomslang Cave may glimpse a spider-like creature with long antennae. This unusual and rare specimen is the tiny, long-legged, golden-haired, cave cricket (Spelaeiacris tabulae). It’s found nowhere else in Africa but similar crickets are found in the Falklands, New Zealand and Australia. Given that the cave cricket cannot tolerate sunlight and lives only in caves, it could not have migrated to such distant shores. The distribution therefore provides strong evidence of continental drift – the theory that the continents were once part of one landmass, called Gondwanaland, that broke up around 145 million years ago.