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The Harkerville Coastal Hiking Trail is situated between Knysna and Plettenburg Bay in the Western Cape, South Africa.

This is a two day hiking trail that starts and ends at the Harkerville Forest Station. It is recommended that hikers begin early as the first day is a 15 km hike which will take approximately 6 to 7 hours to complete.

The hike is not a conventional one with little wooden bridges, narrow wooden stairs, ladders and chains and steep cliffs along the way. The trail may begin through the beautiful indigenous forest that meanders to the top of a cliff where the real hike begins! Steep narrow wooden steps will bring you from the top of the cliff onto the shore and here a 4 km stretch begins with a few obstacles along the way which will slow you down a bit. Obstacles include a rock face to clamber around with the aid of ladders and chains and the final ascent to the next cliff top is steep and could giver hikers with vertigo a few problems. From the top there are breathtaking views and the trail continues along the cliff edge for a while before turning inland to the Sinclair Hut for a much deserved sleep over.

The second day begins with a 2 km hike along the cliff top before another steep descent to sea level. The descent once again includes chains, a chain ladder and some rock climbing. After 5 km’s along the coast another steep ascent will bring you to the cliff top and through forest again to the Harkerville Hut where the trail ends.

Be sure to travel light, but with at least two litres of water for each day and a few healthy snacks for along the way. Wear sensible hiking shoes and something warm to wear as the weather is unpredictable.

This is considered one of the most scenic hikes along the Garden Route, but for this trail you would need to be quite fit to take on the many ups and downs. The feeling of accomplishment at the end however, is incredible!

Things to do and see

  • Forest
  • Rock Pools
  • Coastline
  • Cliffs


The hike is approximately R165 per person and includes your permits and accommodation at both huts. Please contact SAN Parks, Knysna Office on Thesen Island to confirm prices and for bookings. Booking is essential.


Summer months, November to March will have average temperatures of between 11˚C and 30˚C with the highest rainfall months being November and March.

Winter months, May to August will have average temperatures of between 7˚C and 21˚C with high rain usually in August.


Commercial Airlines offer flights into Port Elizabeth Airport, Eastern Province and George Airports, Western Province, the closest Airports to this region. The N2 from both the East and West will lead you into the Tsitsikamma region and car hire facilities are located at both Airports.

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