The name for Elephant’s Eye in Cape Town was given based on the shape of the mountain side, which resembles the side of an elephant’s head. As you may have guessed, the eye section is the cave, which is the main destination of the hike. In terms of history, the cave used to belong to a Hottentot Chiefteness, who held great power according to the legend. Now, it’s one of the many beautiful hiking trails Table Mountain has to offer.
What to Expect from the Elephant’s Eye Cape Town Hike
There are two starting points for the Elephant’s Eye hike, the Silvermine Nature Reserve and the Tokai Forest. From the start the trail (Silvermine Nature Reserve) is fairly easy to pace, and the amazing view of Cape Town as you move up the ridge is already a great reward so early on the hike. Even If you start the hike from the Tokai Forest, a clear day should provide a breath taking view over the Hottentot Holland Mountains. After you reach the top of the ridge you’ll find the trail descending into a patch of pine with a river running through it. Consider this a cool-off station if you’re hiking on a hot summer’s day.
From there it should be about thirty minutes until you reach the cave itself, where the view is spectacular. The cave has a high ceiling that’s covered with moss and fern, which will most likely make you feel like you’re upside down. The lighting inside the cave is great and there is plenty of space to just sit and relax.
Of course you can expect to see the fynbos plant species that Table Mountain is so famous for, along with the animal life, such as lizards and an extensive range of birds. All the way up to the cave you can expect a well-walked path the whole family should be able to clear. However, nearing the top, it might get a little steep. So we suggest choosing shoes with enough grip for the hike.
Level of Difficulty
The Elephant’s Eye Cape Town hike is popular with good reason. It doesn’t require a high level of fitness, the trail is fairly straightforward, and just about anybody can make it. In fact, this is the type of hike the whole family can enjoy, regardless of age. Even the kids should be able to keep up.
The Length of the Hike
The overall hike distance is just under 8km, so you can look at a timeframe of anything between 4 to 5 hours. This takes into account the hike to and from the cave, giving about an hour to enjoy the cave itself and the view.
Who will Enjoy it?
If you can appreciate nature, especially the beautiful sights Cape Town has to offer and the whole other life on Table Mountain, you’ll enjoy this hike. It’s easy enough so that you can invite several friends and family of all fitness levels, and what better way to spend the morning or afternoon?
Over the summer weekends the Elephant’s Eye hiking trail is very busy, so if you want to see the cave when it’s not too crowded, we suggest booking a hiking tour during the week. But whether you live in Cape Town or you’re just visiting, this is a trip you have to take.