Learning About Western Leopard Toads in the Silvermine Valley…

We recently reviewed The Young Explorers Frog App… I am so glad we did, because when the opportunity arose for some of us to go away for the weekend and learn about local frogs and toads we were good and ready to learn a lot more… We didn’t have to go very far to find out more about our local amphibians, it turns out we live in the perfect neighbourhood for them.


Silvermine River Valley


I have to say we drive past this corner of Cape Town so often, and I have always said – wouldn’t it be lovely to stay there… so a bit of a dream come true to stay in this old homestead built over a hundred years ago.


We are very familiar with this neighbourhood, it is somewhere we have done a lot of hiking and exploring, there is so much to see around here.


Camp Life


Of course the weekend we were there… was the weekend of one of Cape Town’s wild and crazy winter storms, which means that whenever the sun shone we all dashed outdoors. One thing about Cape Town is though the storms can be really wild, there is always a a break and the sun comes out to tease us, before the storm continues. Some folk were so excited to be away for the weekend, they didn’t even wait for the little windows in the clouds when the sun to came out.


Gotta say it has been a while since I stood in a long queue for meals…


And even longer since I slept in a dorm… fun times!!!


The Frogs


I was with a group of kids, who were there to learn about frogs and it turned out to be perfect weather for frogs… lots of frogs. And what a variety of frogs …


Night Hikes


And probably the wildest stormy Saturday night we have had all year we headed out on a night hike to meet the endangered Western Leopard Toad… the rain absolutely poured down and the wind howled around us, and I was very glad that my smaller kids were home safe and sound and in bed… because it really was a wild storm. But what an adventure… and then the rain stopped and there we were in the silence on the dunes with the moonlight shining down on us… all pretty magical. Memories are made of this.


The Western Leopard Toad


The purpose of the night hike was to find and rescue the Western Leopard Toads that cross busy roads and learn more about the work the Western Leopard Toad Volunteers do. All I can say is volunteering is not for the fainthearted, and these folks have quite a job on their hands, especially since toads enjoy wet and wintry weather. For a very small time window each year these toads cross major roads in our area, as they migrate to and fro from their typical habitat to their breeding grounds and then back again. The volunteers are there to protect the toads, get them across the roads safely and keep a count of the number and size of the toads they spot. This is real live citizen science in action.


These toads are endangered and desperately need help to cross the busy roads that connect the urban areas of Cape Town… you have salute the folk that head out each night to protect these little guys. You can find out more about the Western Leapoard Toad Volunteers here.


The Dunes


The morning after the mighty storm we were able to catch an hour or two for a walk on the sand dunes… Honestly it is hard to believe that you are in the middle of a city when you are here…



Previous Silvermine Hikes

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