Hogsback, a small village situated on the top of the Amathole mountains in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa, is often claimed to be the inspiration behind J.R.R Tolkiens Lord of the Rings.
Driving up the narrow road into this mystical village it feels like you are transported into Middle Earth.
We spent two nights in Hogsback back in December and we are already planning our next trip there. If you get a chance to visit, here are 5 things you have to do:
1. Chase Waterfalls
Hidden in the oldest forest of South Africa are some spectacular waterfalls.
There are beautiful hiking trails through the thick indigenous forest that will take you to these cascading waterfalls. Some hikes are easier than others, so make sure you check the routes or visit the Information Centre in town. We hiked to the top of Swallow Tail Waterfall and this was a tricky climb, however I think we somehow got lost and managed to find ourselves on the “difficult route”. Nevertheless, the view in the end made it all worth it.
The most popular waterfalls to see are: Swallow Tail, Madonna & Child, Kettle Spout and 39 Steps in the Arboretum.
2. Spot the Cape Parrot
The Cape Parrot is Africa’s most endangered parrot and is South Africa’s only endemic parrot. They can be found in small patches of the Amathole Forest. If you manage to spot one of them it will be a fortunate sighting as I’ve read that only 1600 remain in the wild. Contact the Cape Parrot Project, who is based in Hogsback, for best tips to see them in the wild.
If you don’t manage to see a Cape Parrot, the forest is home to many other special species such as the Knysna Loerie, Olive Woodpecker, Orange Ground Thrush and many more.
3. Take a clifftop bath
After a long days hike you can treat yourself to a relaxing bath. Perched on the edge of cliff this unique bath overlooks the pristine forest and the 3 Hogsback mountains. Best of all, its free for anyone.
As you can imagine this world famous bath is very popular so be sure to book your 30 minute slot at the Away with the Fairies Backpackers Reception.
4. Big Tree
Visit the largest tree in the Eastern Cape, called Big Tree. This yellowwood tree is 800 years old and stands 36.5 meters tall. I suggest you start your walk from the Away with the Fairies platform overlooking the forest, then make your way down into the forest to Big Tree which takes about 30 minutes.
5. Grab a Pizza at Away with the Fairies Backpackers.
We stayed at Away with the Fairies Backpackers and it’s a great place to meet like-minded travelers from around the world. They make the best pizza and serve ice cold craft beers. Chill around the bon fire and take it all in.
Hogsback is a popular destination during winter and summer months. You won’t regret adding this little village where time stands still to your travel calendar.