I was wanting to do the Harkerville Trail next year, but apparently since the 2017 fires the route has changed so the sea-level section is gone. Had anyone had any experience of the new route and what it is like, especially scenery-wise - do you have any ocean views/routes down to the beach along the way, or is it now purely a forest hike?
The route is easier and less impressive than it than it used to be, as the technical coastal section was the core element of the “old” Harkerville. The route never goes down to the ocean. Day 1 is beautiful and forested; Day 2 starts with beautiful cliff edge walking, then reverts to plantation roads towards the end. If you want to go down to the ocean, it would require a timely a detour but is possible. Easiest would be to do it at the start of Day 2 (i think). A better option would be a day hike of the coastal Kranshoek trail as an add-on “Day 3” if you spend another night at Harkerville Hut after the hike.
We did the following hike in Dec 2018: Diepwalle - Fisantehoek - Harkerville (resupply) - Sinclair - Harkerville. This hike was very leisurely, but is still recommended as a “jolly” hike (read: lots of braaiing and very little hiking).