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Harkerville Coastal Hiking Trail

Please note. Sections of this trail can be treacherous especially when wet. Some sections of the trail or walkways might also be under or require maintenance.

This is not your conventional two day hiking trail. If little wooden bridges, ladders, chains, steep cliffs, narrow wooden stairs and soaring heights are not your cup of tea, rather try another hike. But, if these words excite you; do it! You won’t be disappointed, the feeling of accomplishment at the end is incredible.

Start out right:

Travel light.  Don’t pack any unnecessary items but do take at least two litres of fluid per day. There’s no drinking water along the way and it can become extremely hot.  On the other hand, always take warm clothing too as the weather is pretty unpredictable.

Do wear suitable shoes or hiking boots.  There are plenty of loose marble shaped stones and large rocks to negotiate and shoes which supports your ankles are advisable.

You need to be quite fit as there are many ups and downs.  Day two ends with the difficult and seemingly never ending climb to the Sinclair Hut.  Stop to rest and snack regularly and enjoy the spectacular views. Please do not litter.

Be aware of cyclists as the route shares certain stretches of the initial paths with the Harkerville Mountain Bike Trails.  On day one the route crossed is the Perdekop Hiking Trail and on day two the Kranshoek Hiking Trail. Ascertain to take the correct route. 

Start early!  It’s a good idea to sleep at the Harkerville Hut prior to the start of the hike.  This is included in your costs in any way.  The 14 km hike on day one is diverse – indigenous forests, stream crossings, the coast, chains along the cliffs, caves, etc.  All this is time consuming and can take 6 hours or even longer.  The 12 km on day two may sound shorter but isn’t less daunting.

Be sure to have the following emergency numbers on your phone
Harkerville Forestry Station 044 532 7770
NSRI Plettenberg Bay 082 990 5975

The seas on this part of the coast can be rough, and freak waves can occur at any time.

The Harkerville Hut at the start has separate rooms with bunk beds and mattresses, a braai area with wood, toilets and hot showers.  Cars are relatively safe there but don’t leave valuables in vehicles.

The Sinclair Hut consists of two rooms with bunk beds and mattresses which sleep 12. There are flush toilets with wash basins but no showers.  There is also a very inviting covered braai area with wood.  Be sure to pack something to braai and while peering into the fire reflect on the day’s hike, very relaxing. Be aware of the baboons and be sure to close up all windows and doors and please clean up.

There are ample rock pools to explore and taking your goggles and snorkel is not far fetched at all.  Don’t be in a hurry on this hike.  It’s astonishing that between the bustling towns of Knysna and Plettenberg Bay and an untouched portion of coastline exist that shows no signs of development or civilization.  Appreciate the privilege.

Need I remind you to take your camera? The route is incredibly scenic.

Distances: Day 1 – 14.6 km, Day 2 – 12 km

Route Makers: Black signs with white boot prints on. There are also ample white painted footprint and arrows painted on the rocks along the coast.

Managed by: SANParks

Permits & Costs: Inquire from the SAN Parks office on Thesen Island. You need to be in possession of your permit at all times.

Bookings: Bookings are made through the SAN Parks office on Thesen Island in Knysna.
or by mailing

Contact Numbers: SAN Parks Knysna 044 302 5600 or 044 302 5606, Harkerville Forestry Station 044 532 7770

Directions: The trail is situated between Knysna and Plettenberg Bay. Turn off the N2 at the Sasol petrol station. Follow this gravel road until you reach the Harkerville hut on your left. About 1.7 km from the N2.

Harkerville Hut: S34 02 53.0 E23 14 04.9
Sinclair Hut: S34 04 46.5 E23 11 27.7

Other: Take enough water, there isn’t any along the route. The water at the hut is drinkable.

For those who like Geocaching, there are also a geocache on this trail…

Please preserve our environment for our posterity by not littering.