Lower Silvermine Wetlands

Situated between Clovelly and Fish Hoek, the Lower Silvermine Wetlands are a rehabilitated floodplain featuring Hangklip Sand Fynbos, sand dunes, and aquatic and wetland areas. The rehabilitation took two years to complete. The floodplain was initially planned to be canalised due to the flooding of nearby houses during the winter season, but a group of nature conservationists managed to ensure its rehabilitation instead. Remains of over 100 year-old dykes are found next to the wetlands as well as on Clovelly Beach. The nearly pristine Silvermine River is unique, as its natural state is almost intact, running from its source in the Silvermine Mountains to the sea in False Bay.

A plant inventory has been compiled, and since the vegetation consisted mostly of alien plants, many indigenous plant species have been reintroduced. However, more species are still being rediscovered, and a photographic record of the species that existed in the area before it was developed has proven very useful for the rehabilitation.

The area is a breeding ground for the Endangered western leopard toad (Amietophrynus pantherinus), the arum lily frog (Hyperolius horstockii), the Cape river frog (Amietia fuscigula) and the clicking stream frog (Strongylopus grayii). It was also the type site for the Cape platanna (Xenopus gilli), which now unfortunately seems to be extinct in the area.

Around 50 bird species are seen here, although many of the waders have disappeared due to the Typha (commonly known as bulrush) invasion. Painted snipe (Rostratula benghalensis) and Ethiopian snipe (Gallinago nigripennis) have bred in the area, but are no longer seen.

The area has a small mammal population of otter (Aonyx capensis), porcupine (Hystrix africaeaustralis) and Cape grysbok (Raphicerus melanotis). Water mongoose (Atilax paludinosusis) has also been observed.

Typha, although indigenous, is overstimulated due to excess nutrients in stormwater runoff, and becomes a threat to other species. Also, despite plastic bags being available for dog-walkers to clean up after their animals, not everyone cooperates. The dog-walkers, however, contribute greatly to making the Lower Silvermine Wetlands a safe area for the enjoyment of young and old. A minor decline in the pond’s water quality has also been observed.

ADDRESS: Clovelly Road, Clovelly
SIZE: Not applicable
PUBLIC TRANSPORT: Train or taxi. A 15-minute walk from Fish Hoek Station, or free parking just off Clovelly Road, at the traffic lights on Main Road
ACTIVITIES AND FACILITIES: Walking, birdwatching, self-guided trail for the blind, cycling.
FRIENDS GROUP: The Riverine Rovers are a subgroup of the Friends of Silvermine Nature Area (FOSNA)
CONTACT: City Parks Tel 021 701 1233 & The Riverine Rovers tel 021 782 6144; fax 086 603 7554; e-mail: terry@marques.co.za (The Riverine Rovers)


Source: City of Cape Town (2010) City of Cape Town nature reserves: A network of amazing biodiversity. City of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa.