Fish Hoek and surrounds
Basking in the valley between the warm waters of False Bay and the icy waters of the Atlantic seaboard and surrounded by fynbos-clad mountains lies the business and educational hub of the scenic South Peninsula. It is not uncommon for travel writers and copywriters of glossy brochures to gloss over Fish Hoek, focusing instead on the highlights of its neighbouring towns – but what do they know! Fish Hoek and its surrounding residential areas is alive and well and full of passionate, creative, community spirited dynamos of all ages. You just have to look at our community pages to see how much Fish Hoek has to offer. Friendly, fabulous, feisty, freshly aired Fish Hoek – it is a great place to live, to work and to play.
Fish Hoek sportsfields by Phil Smuts Fish Hoek Bay Moon by Phil Smuts Gulls, Fish Hoek Beach by Phil Smuts
Tranquil Clovelly lies tucked in the crook formed by Trappieskop and Cavepeak. And just as the South Easter passes it by, so does the hectic of city living. Clovellyites prefer it this way. Before it became a predominantly residential suburb, Clovelly was a market garden. Later, the land further up the Silvermine Valley was developed by the Ackerman family as one of the first non-racial country clubs in South Africa. The upgrading of the golf course and associated facilities has resulted in a sought after golf experience – its lush manicured landscapes and attendant peacocks contrast with the rugged fynbos surrounds.
The locals are fiercely defensive of the leafy suburban character of Clovelly and have a special relationship with their wild neighbours. Hadidas rouse the community with their raucous dawn chorus and the activities of Leopard Toad, Owl, and Porcupine are regular topics of discussion when neighbours meet. As a small residential community in what is essentially a cul de sac, Clovellyites are particularly neighbourly. Teenagers with surf boards and domestic workers from the community traipsing up or down Clovelly Road are often offered lifts to and from the beach or station. And at least once a year we get together to meet new residents and catch up on news from `older’ residents at a well attended streetparty.
Please write to us about your experience of life and lively characters in the Fish Hoek Valley, so that we can add your accounts to this webpage.
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Fish Hoek with Elsies Peak and Simon’s Town in the background.
Photo by Willie Ingpen of Fish Hoek
Lower Silvermine River Wetlands
Situated between Clovelly and Fish Hoek, just upstream of Main Road, the Silvermine Wetland is actually man–made. The concept of re-establishing a wetland in the degraded and alien infested floodplain of the Silvermine River was conceived by an enthusiastic group of conservation minded locals. Their vision was realized 8 years ago, when the City of Cape Town built a series of flood detention ponds to protect the low lying parts of Fish Hoek from flooding. Members of the (then) Silvermine River Society and Fish Hoek Residents Association worked closely with the City to ensure that the rehabilitation of the lower Silvermine River with its new `ponds’ would mimic a rehabilitated wetland resulting in an ecological and recreational asset cherished by the entire community. Previous attempts at taming the Silvermine River include 100 year old dykes, the remains of which can be seen abutting the wetlands. And on Clovelly Beach, deck plates stripped from the Kakapo wrecked on Noordhoek Beach were used to channel the river as it flowed into the sea. The Silvermine River is the most pristine river within metropolitan Cape Town. The River Rovers, a small but dedicated sub-section of the Friends of the Silvermine Nature Area, work tirelessly to ensure protective management of the Silvermine Wetlands, the only portion of the River which is not within the Table Mountain National Park (TMNP).
There is a self-guided Blind Trail that gives access to half the Wetlands and the entire 1.8 km path around the Wetlands is wheelchair friendly.
HABITATS: The area consists of Hangklip Sand Fynbos, dune sands, aquatic and wetland areas.
PLANTS: A complete inventory of the indigenous plants has been done. Prior to rehabilitation, the vegetation consisted mainly of aliens. New flowers and plants are continually being rediscovered, and a photographic record is available.
AMPHIBIANS:This a breeding area of the Endangered Western Leopard Toad and also the Arum Lily Frog , Cape River Frog and Clicking Stream Frog. It was also the type site of xenopus gilli, the Cape Platanna, which regrettably now seems to be extinct in this area.
BIRDS: Approximately 50 species of birds have been recorded here. Many of the waders have disappeared due to the typha invasion. Painted and Ethiopian Snipe have bred here.
SMALL MAMMALS: Otter, porcupine, water mongoose and grysbok are present but rarely seen due to their nocturnal habits.
REPTILES/INSECTS: As the rehabilitation was only completed 6 years ago, an inventory is still under way.
POND LIFE: A Mini South African Scoring System (SASS) is done twice a year to monitor the water quality. Typically, the SASS findings show a minor impact to its quality, probably as a result of storm water runoff. A local school is studying the river and will be doing regular Mini SASSes for their own interest.
CHALLENGES: Typha invasion, path maintenance, doggie do and inadequate educational signage.
ACCESS: Between Clovelly and Fish Hoek. There is free parking just off the Clovelly Road at the Traffic lights on Main Road. Access can also be obtained by rail, entailing a 15 minute walk from Fish Hoek Station. The wetland is open 24 hrs a day, and has no admission fee, but has no facilities like toilets.
ACTIVITIES: Walking, bird watching, self-guided Blind Trail and cycling. There is an urgent need for more involvement in maintenance of the area by the many who enjoy it.
FRIENDS: The Riverine Rovers, a sub-group of Friends of Silvermine Nature Area (FOSNA) assist with the day to day management of the area. To learn more about the area and to assist with its ongoing protection contact:
Written by Evanne Rothwell
Tel: +27 (0) 21 782 6144 Fax: +27 (0) 86 603 7554 Mobile: +27 (0) 84 711 5413
See it Fish Hoek (http://capepointroute.co.za/seeit-fishhoek.php )