The Perdekop Trail is another true Knysna Forest hike, complete with a waterfall into a giant fern lined pool and plenty of tall Yellowwoods.
Getting there: on the N2 between Knysna and Plettenberg Bay; coming from Knysna, turn right onto the dirt road at the Sasol Garage [-34.03735, 23.22606]. Harkerville Hut and Forestry Station is 1.4km down the road.
GPS Coordinates: -34.047278, 23.230824
Distance: 9.5km loop
Difficulty: well-marked trail on easy terrain
Permits: R24 adult
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.
At 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.
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.
At 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.