Situated on the mountains of the southern Cape Peninsula between Muizenberg and Noordhoek, Silvermine Nature Reserve covers over 2000 ha of mainly mountain fynbos. There are areas where alien acacias proliferate but the conifer plantation around the dam was burnt out in the wild fire in early 2000.
The elevation above sea-level varies from a few tens of metres in the east at Kalk Bay to about 750m in the west at Noordhoek Peak, and there are many rocky outcrops and peaks. A feature of the reserve is the Silvermine River, which flows through a forested gorge and joins up with a tributary flowing over a picturesque waterfall.
Several walks through valleys and up peaks provide spectacular views, and a variety of habitats makes for worthwhile birding. In spring when many proteas and ericas are in flower it is easy to find Cape Sugarbird and Southern Double-collared, Malachite and Orange-breasted Sunbirds.
Cape Bunting and Cape Siskin can be found mainly in rocky areas which are also favoured by Ground Woodpecker and Familiar Chat. It is also one of the few places on the peninsula where both Sentinal and Cape Rock Thrushes are found together. Other species that can be seen or heard easily are Cape Grassbird, Cape Robin-chat, Cape Batis, Cape White-eye, Southern Boubou, Neddicky, Karoo Prinia, Cape Bulbul and Sombre Greenbul.
Raptors include Jackal Buzzard, Rock Kestrel and Peregrine Falcon. During summer Common Buzzard can also be found.
Up until 2013 there was a breeding pair of Verreaux’s Eagle but, following the disappearance of the male, this species is now seldom seen.
Spotted Eagle-Owl and Fiery-necked Nightjar can be heard at dusk and dawn.
Alpine, Little and White-rumped Swifts have been recorded with African Black Swifts sometimes occurring in large numbers. Rock Martins are regularly seen, and Barn and Greater Striped Swallows are summer visitors.
How to get there:
Take the M3 from Cape Town towards Muizenberg. At the Westlake T-junction turn right and then left onto Ou Kaapse Weg (M64). A steep climb with vistas across the Cape Flats takes you to the top of the plateau. Once on the plateau signs mark the two entry points (one in the north on the right and one in the south on the left) to the reserve.
An entry fee is payable if you do not have a Wild Card, Green Card or Activity Card. The reserve is open throughout the year.