Hogsback, land of the fairies, hobbits, butterflies and pure relaxation, a hidden gem nestled between the Amathole mountains in the Eastern Cape. After a beautiful drive through a dense forest up a winding pass we arrived at Hogsback, a sleepy hollow filled with creatives, hippies and those just trying to escape the hustle and bustle of city life. You will feel lost in time in this enchanted forest escape and will be spoilt for choice when it come to hikes and walks, places to eat and things to do and see.
We checked into a self-catering cottage called Gracchus Cottage which is owned by hosts Clair and Shane. They built this beautiful cottage on their property with a small stream running by and views over the forest. The cottage feels like something out of The Hobbit with attention to detail and all the necessities to make you feel comfortable.
The cottage sleeps 4 people, 2 in a double bed in a private room and 2 in single beds in the loft area. It has a huge kitchen with a beautiful long solid wood counter that doubles as the dining room table. The living room has an oven type fireplace for cold winter nights. Outside is a large timber deck set in a beautiful garden overlooking the forest with a Weber braai and a bench and table for seating.
We had a huge hail storm one evening while we were braaing dinner which left the garden looking like it had snowed. Luckily we had a lid on our Weber braai whilst we were cooking otherwise we would have gone to bed hungry.
Gracchus cottage is a great place to relax and is perfect for couples or a family. Clair and Shane were fabulous hosts and make sure you are comfortable and enjoy your stay.
There are plenty of restaurants to choose from in Hogsback, we were only there for 2 nights and only managed to try one place – The Edge Mountain Retreat
We had dinner at The Edge Mountain Retreat, which like the name says is set on the edge of the mountain. We went early so we could experience their labyrinth, take a walk around their beautiful gardens and stop for photos and admire the amazing views at the edge viewpoint. It was a beautiful evening, so we sat outside for dinner and had the most delicious meal, everything was delightfully tasty and the staff were lovely.
There are plenty of long or short walks to choose from in Hogsback. The lady at the information centre will give you a map and tell you about a couple of the walks in the area.
39 Steps Falls and Arboretum
We did two walks, one to the 39 steps waterfall, the walks winds through the arboretum where you will see 5 massive Redwood trees that are over 100 years old.
The other walk we did was to Kettlespout Falls, an easy walk that took us to a beautiful natural pool at the top of a waterfall through a forest following a small river. There are lots of little spots to stop for picnics and a couple of cute little benches carved into their surroundings.
We woke up on a very misty Friday morning which was our last day at Hogsback and the only day we were able to go to the Eco Shrine. The shrine is an art installation done by Diana Graham, consisting of carved cement structures, oil paintings and mosaic work with spectacular views of the Hogsback mountains. Diana will walk and talk you through all the artwork and explain the meanings of each piece. Unfortunately it was so misty when we were there, we couldn’t see the views of the mountain, but it still created a great eerie effect.
Away with the fairies bath
Away with the fairies is a lovely backpacker in Hogsback, we did not stay there but we did go and visit just to see their famous bath. The bath is set at the edge of a cliff with some of the best views of the Hogsback mountains, water is heated with a “donkey” and you need to book your bath time at reception.
The edge labyrinth and viewpoint
The labyrinth at The Edge is set close to the edge of the mountain with more spectacular views, it is one of the largest labyrinths in the world and the entire length from start to centre is about 1,4km. A variety of plants are planted between the paths of the labyrinth, so be sure to take in all the scents and watch the bees and butterflies at work.
A short walk from the labyrinth, towards the edge of the mountain you will find “the edge” viewpoint which is right on the edge of the mountain, a great place to admire the view and take a few photos.
Hogsback was amazing, we left feeling totally relaxed and hoping to return soon one day!