Things To Do in HarkervillePerdekop Hiking Trail
Where? Harkerville Forest Station, Harkerville, Garden Route
When? Best during daylight hours.
How? Call +27 (0)44 532-7770
How much? Price on request
Start: Harkerville Forest Station
Finish: Harkerville Forest Station
Duration: 9.5 km, roughly 4 hours, a circular route
Fitness: you need to be able to finish the hike, but it isn't difficult
Our tip: there are pale yellow horse's heads engraved into cherry wood blocks at regular intervals as trail indicators
Permits: these are self-issue at the start of the trail; carry them with you. When the office is staffed you can also pick up a map
Contact: Thesen Island SANParks office in Knysna
Perdekop (horse's head) Nature Walk is one of two trails through Harkerville Forest. The other is the more popular Harkerville Coast hiking trail, marked with white footprints – you'll come across a few of these where the two trails share a section of the trail (from about 1.5 km in).
Perdekop heads through leafy green indigenous forest to a waterfall. En route it passes a dam that is not for swimming, despite its apparent invitation. This is the water supply for Harkerville so don't even feel tempted.
The distance from the dam to the waterfall is not long – a short section of road shared with mountain bikers, a stream crossing and you're there, surrounded by giant ferns.
At about the 3 km mark is a stand of hard pear trees.
The initial part of the walk is through pristine environment, a truly beautiful area, mostly on footpath that is not difficult to follow. There is only one real climb involved, and no scrambling or rock climbing.
Look out for the pink leaf Blechnum fern, common in the forest understory, whilst you walk alongside the brown river streams (drinkable – the brown is merely the tannins from leaves on the forest floor).
You will probably not manage to spot any of the shy creatures of the forest, but they include bushbuck, bushpig, vervet monkeys, caracals and blue duiker. Evidence of the odd leopard has also been seen in these forests.
Follow signs to the end of the trail.