The Perdekop hiking trail and nature Walk, or Horse’s head in English, is an easy leisurely walk through the indigenous Harkerville forest with gentle forest stream falling into a pool, a great picnic spot halfway along the route. It is easily accessible from the N2, only 18km from Knysna and 17km from Plettenberg Bay.
The trail is well established, clearly marked and not undulating. The trail starts from the Harkerville forestry station and follows a easy path along a circular route back to the station. Sections of the walk are shared with the Hakerville Coastal Hiking Trail (White footprints) and the Hakerville Cycle Routes. About halfway through the walk you will reach a small dam, no swimming here please as this is drinking water for the area, the trail turns right and goes down to a pool at a waterfall below the dam. This is a great place to stop, rest, snack and here you may also swim. There are a wide variety of fungi in all kinds of colors throughout the walk in the forest and also many other interesting vegetation.
Take your camera and take your time and enjoy this lovely hike.
Distance: 9.5km, 3-4 hours. Circular route.
Route markers: A yellow emblem of a horse’s head engraved on blocks of cherry wood.
Permits/cost: Permits obtainable from the SAN Parks office at the start of the trail.
Contact Numbers: Harkerville Forestry Station – 044 532 7770
Directions: From Knysna, take the N2 towards Plettenburg Bay. At the Sasol petrol station, about 17km out, turn right and follow the gravel road to
the Hakerville Forest Station (right at the fork about 1km down the road).
Coordinates: S34 02.848 E23 13.851
Other: The water in the streams is drinkable, the dark colour is due to the tannins and humic acids from the leaves on the forest floor.
Perdekop hiking trail at a glance
The route takes you to an enticing little dam in which you are not allowed to swim! Do not despair, as it immediately makes a clever little detour to a waterfall and pool just below the Dam where you can take a dip.
The route shares sections of trail with the famous Harkerville MTB Routes. Hikers have right of way, however, it is probably wise to step off the trail when you hear them approaching as you are more likely to hear them before they see you, and you will have to step off the trail for them in any case.
The route is extremely well-marked; just as well as there are a number of trails crisscrossing in this area. You are following the signs with the horse’s head on them, and remember: the horse’s nose points the direction you must follow.
From the trailhead walk down the gentle hill. After 500m you will see one of the saw-pits to the right of the path.
At 680m the trail reaches a fork, take the left fork.
When you reach 1.5km the trail forks again and this time you will take the right fork. The route now shares trail with the Harkerville MTB Route.
At 2.5km the MTB routes peel off to the right to join the jeep track whilst the trail continues ahead.
Then at 3.45km take a left at the intersection (going right takes you to the Sinclair Hut as part of the Harkerville Coastal Trail).
At 5.3km you will meet the forest jeep track. To your left this road goes over a wooden bridge at the wall to the Harkerville Dam and pump-house. As this is the water supply for Harkerville, swimming is not allowed.
Go right up the road away from the dam for 40m then take the path left. This short section on the road is again shared with MTB’ers.
Ahead you will see the stream across the path. Just before crossing it there is a path down to the right which takes you to a beautiful waterfall which tumbles into a pool surrounded by beautiful giant ferns.
Return to the trail and cross the stream. Shortly after this you will reach the road that has now crossed the Dam, take a left back towards the Dam which you will see as you round the corner, but turn up the trail to the right before reaching it.
This is the only real uphill on the route.
At 6.8km you will once again hit the forest jeep track. Take a left, remembering that you are sharing with MTB’ers once again.
At 7.95km take a left onto trail.
After you have completed 8.4km, you will reach the intersection at which the loop section of the trail began, so it is critical to go right here. From here on you are retracing the first section of the trail which can be confirmed by checking the signs which are now all facing the other way.
A Trip Advisor review about the Perdekop hiking trail
If you need to feel and experience nature at its best you must try the Perdekop hiking trail! It is the most easy, wonderful and fatty hiking nature trail to do in Harkerville…. if you think 9 kilometers is long well with this one you don’t feel it because the footpaths are great and in good shape. Along the way nice stops to have a break, a nice waterfall, great guidance on how far are you on the route. The quiteness sometimes take you away but suddenly you hear noices of birds, baboons. Great outdoor nature activity for the family. Enjoyed this hiking trail. You don’t have to be fit only love nature.
Why not book at stay with us at Bayside Lodge and each day we will give you maps and directions to do a different hike. We can also offer you expert special interest guides as well as transfers and packed lunches.