Hiking, Trails and Routes

ID #2943

Perdekop Nature Walk, Harkerville Forest, Plettenberg Bay, Garden Route, Western Cape.

In the Harkerville indigenous forest between Knysna and Plettenberg Bay. The composition of the forest varies, depending on height above sea level, rainfall, soil type, slope and other factors. It is thus classified into eight different forest types, from very dry to very wet. The classification is done according to the combined assessment of moisture regime, ground, shrub and tree flora as well as factors such as tree form and canopy height.  Some trees are labelled. Species encountered include ironwood, yellowwood, white pear, stinkwood, cherrywood, Cape beech and fine examples of Cape ash. Onderbos (black witch-hazel) abounds in the understorey and in the wetter parts you will encounter tree fens.  Various climbers (e.g. wild grape), epiphytes (such as old man’s beard and tree orchids), ferns (maidenhair fern), lichens and colourful fungi are also found.

The indigenous fauna forms an integral part of the forest. The animals are not often seen but their tracks and droppings are often seen on the walk. Larger mammals include bushpig, bushbuck, blue duiker, baboon and vervet monkeys as well as leopard and caracal.  Bushpig are omnivorous and are found in sounders of 6-20 individuals while bushbuck are either solitary or in pairs. They are nocturnal but are occasionally seen when disturbed during the day. 35-40 species of forest birds are found here, while more are found in areas adjacent to the forest. Species include Knysna lourie, narina trogon, olive thrush, chorister, cape and starred robins. Sound takes priority over sight in the forest, and the birds thus have loud, penetrating calls. Snakes such as the very poisonous boomslang occur but are seldom seen. Its favourite diet is the Knysna dwarf chameleon.

 9.5-km circular walk is relatively easy and can be completed at a leisurely pace in 3-4 hours. Just after entering the forest, you will pass through an opening once occupied by eucalyptus trees.  This area is being converted back to indigenous forest. The direction of the horse’s muzzle shows the way ahead. You will encounter white footprints between the Harkerville Forest Station and the 4-km marker.  This section forms part of the popular Harkerville Coast Hiking Trail.  A few sections share track with the Harkerville Cycle Route. Please note:

•    Yellow emblem of a horse’s head are the route markers
•    Majestic stand of hard pear (Olinia ventosa) between the 2 and 3-km markers.  They are one of the fastest growing trees under forest conditions.
•    Natural swimming pool below a waterfall between the five and 6-km markers. Please do not swim in the dam – it is Harkerville’s water supply.
•    Parts of the forest were heavily exploited in the past. See an old sawpit after the 9-km marker.
•    Entry by permit only
•    Visiting hours from 06h00-18h00.
•    Protect the flora and fauna.
•    Respect warning signs and keep clear of any forestry operations.
•    Self-issued permits are available at the start of the walk.

Harkerville is on the N2 west of Plettenberg Bay, which is on the N2 east of George, which is at the intersection of the N2 with the N12. BKPerdekop

Contct:            Diepwalle State Forest
            +27 (44) 382 9762 telephone
            +27 (44) 382 9764 fax
            Forestry Office, Knysna
            +27 (44) 382 5466 telephone
            +27 (44) 382 5461 fax

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Last update: 2014-06-05 20:41
Author: Alan McIver
Revision: 1.3

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