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Harkerville Trail

Eastern Cape, Plettenberg Bay


The Eastern and Southern Cape coastline of South Africa must be one of the most spectacular to be found in Africa. The combination of the beautiful blue seas of the Indian Ocean and the rugged coastline make this a very special area for nature lovers. The Harkerville trail is situated close to the resort town of Plettenberg Bay and within easy reach of Knysna and George. The trail starts from Harkerville hut which is also the ending place of the Outeniqua trail and although they are separated trails, they can be combined together to form a trail of 9 nights.

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Harkerville-The start of the trail

The Trail

First Day-Harkerville to Sinclair

The route from Harkerville to Sinclair is 15 Kms and should take between 6 and 7 hours to complete. The trail traverses beautiful indigenous forest as it meanders towards the shore. There are many fine examples of forest flowers and Fungi to view along the way. Eventually the trail finds its way to the cliff top overlooking the spectacular rocky coastline. The climb down to the shore is steep and is aided, in places, by wooden steps anchored into the cliff face. The hike along the shore is only about 4 Kms but is slow going as there are a number of obstacles along the way that take time to cross. These obstacles include a rock face to clamber around with the help of chains and several ladders. The final ascent to the cliff top is steep and could give people with vertigo a few problems. From the top of the climb the trail follows the cliff edge for a while before finally turning inland to Sinclair hut.

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Path Through the forest The rugged coastline
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The Rocks

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Looking down from the clifftop At sea level
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The Chains Looking back from the chains
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More of the rugged coastline
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Rocks and more rocks
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Some serious scrambling A study in rocks
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An occasional ladder to help The climb to Sinclair hut

Sinclair

Sinclair hut is situated on high ground overlooking the coast. Bunk beds and mattresses are provided as well as a veld toilet. Plenty of firewood is available for braaing and warmth. The hut sleeps 12 people.

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Sinclair-The end of a great day of hiking

Second Day-Sinclair to Harkerville

The second day of the trail starts with a 2 Kms walk along the cliff tops before another steep descent to sea level. More chains, a chain ladder and rock clambering follows. After 5kms, the trail climbs steeply one again to the cliff tops and then takes the hiker inland, through more indigenous forest, until Harkerville is again reached.

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Some of the beautiful Fungi and Plants along the way

Click on an image to see an enlargement

Kranshoek Coastal Day Walk

This is a nine kilometres day walk from Harkerville Forest can be classed as fairly strenuous and involves a 200 metre descent and ascent to the shore. The walk traverses coastal forest and some spectacular coastal scenery.

Perdekop Nature Walk

This is a single day walk of 9,5Km starting and finishing at Harkerville Forest Station. It is a fairly easy walk and should be easily accomplished in three to four hours. The route is predominantly through indigenous forest and passes a beautiful natural swimming pool at the bottom of a waterfall and surrounded by Ferns. Permits must be obtained from the booking office.

Conclusion

The Harkerville trail is a very spectacular trail and the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry have done a fine job in its construction and upkeep. It is not an easy trail and people with a fear of heights may have some problems. It is a trail to take at an easy pace and enjoy the scenery. The Perdekop route is ideal for hikers finishing the Outeniqua Trail early and sleeping over at Harkerville, wishing for a short walk during the afternoon.

Bookings for this trail should be done through the Knysna office of the

SANparks

PO Box 3542 Knysna, 6570

Tel.+27(0) 44-302-5606

Fax +27(0) 44-302-5627

e-mail cathyv@sanparks.org

or

Jacana Travel Marketing and Reservations

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Telephone  0861Jacana (0861 522262)

Direct phone: Port Elizabeth 041 378 1439

Pretoria: 012 803 9109

Direct fax: PE 041 378 2548

Pretoria: 012 803 4144

 PE e-mail  bookings@jacanacollection.co.za

Pretoria e-mail: rosa@jacanacollection.co.za


Footprint Hiking Club

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