This two day, 24 km hike, starts and ends at Harkerville Forest Station. It passes through some prime examples of high-forest, crosses sections of coastal fynbos and takes the hiker along some breathtaking natural scenery along a cliff coast with low water pools and pebble beaches. Hiker sleeps over at two huts, called Harkerville and Sinclair hut, with basic facilities, including ablution, single bunks with mattresses, water, fire wood and an axe. Hikers are spoiled with sceneries over the forest and Indian Ocean after a day of hiking. The hike accommodates a minimum of two people.
The section provides for everyone, from old and youth, to the fit and physically disabled. Stop at Garden of Eden and learn the marked indigenous trees by name as you stroll the forest on a comfortable 800m boardwalk. Picnic, water and ablution facilities are available. The facility is situated between Knysna and Plettenberg Bay, on the N2.
Other short walks included the scenic Kranshoek day walk and picnic site, with spectacular views over the Indian Ocean, and transects through Afromontane Forest, Coastal Scrub Forest, low tide pools and Coastal Fynbos. This walk is 9km long and takes you 4 to 5 hours of walking. The Perdekop day walk is also 9km long and provides the hiker with a shady forest walk, ideally for educational and spiritual fulfillment.
- Perdekop trail
Distance: 9.5km; 3 - 4 hours; circular route
GPS Coordinates: S34 02.848 E23 13.851
Description: The trail starts from the Harkerville forestry station and follows an easy path along a circular route back to the station. Sections of the walk are shared with the Hakerville Coastal Hiking Trail. Green flag accredited hike by the Hiking Organisation of Southern Africa (HOSA).
- Elephant trail
- Black: 9km; easy circular route; starts at the Diepwalle office
- White: 8km from forest station or 6.5km from Diepwalle picnic site; easy circular route
- Red: 7km; moderate circular route; starts in Diepwalle close to the office
Description: All three trails add up to just over 18 kilometres, Black (9km), white (8km) and red (7km). Green flag accredited hike by the Hiking Organisation of Southern Africa (HOSA).
- Terblanche trail
Distance: 6.5km; circular route; also known as Wandelpad
GPS Coordinates: S33 56.716 E23 03.244
Description: It starts and ends at the Grootdraai picnic site, ideal for a picnic before or after the hike. From the Grootdraai picnic site the trail heads in to the forest sharing the path with the Outeniqua overnight trail so be sure to keep right at the fork shortly after the start.
- Kranshoek trail
Distance: 9km; circular route
GPS Coordinates: S34 04.702 E23 13.672
Description: It starts at the Kranshoek picnic site at the top of a tall waterfall, then winds it's way through the forest down into the gorge through which the waterfall's stream flows. It follows this stream towards the coast and then leads along the coast before going up the slopes to the plateau and back to the picnic site via the Kranshoek viewpoint.
- Flora trail
Distance: 1km; circular
GPS Coordinates: S34 04.696 E23 13.671
Description: The educational walk starts in the Kranshoek picnic site. Check info boards for a flora guide of the trail.
- Garden of Eden
Garden of Eden walk is approximately 500 m and starts and ends in the Garden of Eden, accessible from the N2.
The Harkerville forest is the ideal location for recreational mountain-biking. The relatively easy gradients and diversity of the rides offer some of the finest cycling in the Southern Cape.
Four distinct routes have been laid out through the indigenous forest, plantation and coastal fynbos and have been colour-coded Yellow - 14km; Blue - 12km; Green - 15km and Red - 24km. All routes are circular and permits are available at Garden of Eden and Kranhoek Road entrances.
Cultural and Historical Sites
The Diepwalle Teagarden and Guest house building dates back to 1880. It previously served as a forester house and is basically unchanged. The old aged architecture reminds you of the rich history of the area especially when you can still see the yellowwood floors and beams. The facility presents a lot of articles and photographs of the forest history, dominated previously by the Woodcutters.
The Big Tree, also known as the King Edward VII tree, is a famous landmark and visitor attraction near the Diepwalle Forest Station. This giant Outeniqua yellowwood (Podocarpus falcatus) tree is more than 800 years old and is one of the few giant trees left after the unsustainable method of tree harvesting was stopped in 1939.
The Diepwalle Forest is home to the widely spoken Knysna Forest Elephant (Loxodonta africana). Today, only one of them is left in the forest and evidence of spoor, dung and sometimes video footage give evidence of its existence.
The Knysna Forest not only offers a natural wonderland, but also abounds with history. In the midst of the forest you will find the last remains of a bygone gold rush at the Materolli Mine, Coffee Shop and Museum. You can also explore old prospecting tunnels and adits on the Jubilee Creek walk. This facility is situated along the Rheenendal road 30km north-west of Knysna in the Goldfield Forest.
Kayaks can now be hired directly from the SANParks Thesen Island office: +27 (0)44 302 5600.
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