Hike South Africa


Harkerville

The 2 day Harkerville is an excellent trail for those wanting a coastal trail experience but cannot afford the cost or time or booking issues of the Otter trail. Situated halfway between Knysna and Plett this trail offers a bit of forest, fynbos and coastal rambling. If you ever been curious as to where the road to Harkeville leads to when travelling between Plett and Knysna, then take a drive, the road will take you all the way to the Kranshoek viewpoint, and give you a glimpse of what the trail is all about. (Or just check the pictures) An added bonus is that is can be added on to the Outeniqua trail as an extra two nights. I did the Outeniqua-Harkerville route about ten years ago, if my alcoholic binged memory serves me correct I think a starting point for a 5 day route is the Diepwalle Forest Station. This also gives you the opportunity to have an extra car parked at the Harkerville hut with extra booze and frozen braai meat in a coolerbox for the extra two nights. Nevertheless, I last did Harkerville as the 2 day option, which was a couple of years ago, so my route memory is pretty much non-existent. Bookings can be done via the Forestry Regional Office in Knysna, Tel: (044) 3825863, or contact SANParks: (044) 302 5606

Harkerville to Sinclaire Hut

The first day is a 15km romp that starts through indigenous forest and winds its way towards the coast.

start forest

After a while you hit the edge of the forest overlooking the coast with a sharp drop onto the rocky beach below. There are wooden sections that aid some of the path down.

The next 4km or so is slow hiking, as generally walking over rocky surfaces is slow, plus there is great deal of scrambling over or around rocky sections and outcrops. In places there are wooden ladders, but in the past we have found them destroyed by stormy weather. There is also a section that involves a chain over drop into the ocean, but it is not as scary as it looks.

chains

chains

Ladder

After walking the majority of the day along relatively flat sections the final ascent towards Sinclaire hut can be a bit of a shock, it is very steep but thankfully not too long.

waterfall

Day 2

The second day is very similar, its starts with a short section along the cliff tops and then drops rapidly down to the coast. There is a nice swimming section at the bottom of this drop.

At the end of the coastal stretch there is another sharp ascent which will take you to the Kranshoek viewpoint and picnic stop. The last part of the trail is through indigenous forests, until you arrive at the Harkeville Hut.

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