Hogsback is a small town in the Eastern Cape province, not really a town, just a small village with restaurants, art galleries, guest houses, hostel and camp sites. It looks like Shire from Lord of the Rings, a fairy-tale village hidden in the mountains. We went there to hike Amatola trail and we pleasantly surprised when arrive at Hogsback and absolutely loved it! One day we’ll come back! We hope our Hogsback backpacker guide will help you to plan your trip!
Reasons to visit Hogsback. Hogsback backpacker guide
- If you like hiking it’s a place to be; except for Amatola trail (check our articles on the hike HERE) that takes 6 days there are many one or two-day walks around the town. You can visit several waterfalls, walk through indigenous cloud forest and take a dip in one of the many pools.
- For those who want to try something new be it tree climbing, mountain biking, paragliding, abseiling and more Hogsback is a good place to start.
- It’s an ultimate place to go with children; all the magic and fairy tale atmosphere.
- To see real snow and maybe even to build a snowman for these come here in July.
- One more about snow; if you want to have a real white Christmas go to Hogsback in July and take a part in Hogsback Xmas in July Winter Festival. Typical Christmas attributes; bonfire, Christmas lights, carols, dancing, Gluehwein and hot chocolate.
- If you want to chill down from the summer heat and hike in a shadow of the forest next to a waterfall or pool Hogsback is a perfect place.
- For serious trail runners an Annual Fairy run that takes place at the end of April can be a good reason to visit Hogsback.
And many more reasons, we’re sure everyone will find a reason to come here nevertheless his/her age, interests and travel budget.
How to get to Hogsback
The easiest way to travel in South Africa. We drove 900km from Cape Town (actually from Worcester) to Hogsback in one day both ways. If you start early let’s say at 7 am you’ll be at your destination before the dark. It took us a bit longer than normal due to many road works on the way but thanks to it the road is in good conditions with not much traffic. The important thing to keep an eye on your petrol tank sometimes you drive through the middle of nowhere for quite a while. If you see a petrol station and your tank is half full it’s better to fill it up. In total for petrol we spent SAR 1100/US$80 return.
By public transport
You can try but it’s not the best and easiest option to move around small towns. There are several big bus companies e.g. InterCape, that go between bigger cities and towns. From Cape Town or Johannesburg you can get to East London or Sommerset East and from there take local buses and get to Alice (by the way the town where Nelson Mandela graduated). And then from Alice by a local taxi to Hogsback. I’ve never used public transport in South Africa but I’m sure the long distance buses are save and comfortable but I wouldn’t say that about local taxis/mini-buses.
Easy and convenient option for tourists who don’t want to rent a car. Baz-buses go to all main attractions on South Africa. The Baz bus itself doesn’t go to Hogsback but there is a shuttle service from East London – SAR 150/US$11 (Sugarshack hostle) and from Chintsa – SAR 180/$13 (Buccanneers hostel). You can arrange the shuttle with Away with the Fairies hostel. Shuttle service is paid separate to the hostel it’s not included in Baz bus ticket price. For prices, destinations and details on Baz Bus go HERE.
Where to stay in Hogsback?
There are plenty of places to stay in Hogsback from fancy lounges to simple camp sites; the choice is yours.
We stayed in an amazing hostel Away with the Fairies; they have different accommodation options; camp site, dorm beds and private bungalows. The place is stunning, it sits on the top of the hill with beautiful view over the mountains from the view point. A restaurant in the administration building offers breakfast and dinners for good prices. There is a hiking trail that starts right from the view point and goes down through the forest to the waterfall. By the way don’t forget to book a bath! A real bath that you fill with hot water sits outside right on the edge of the cliff so you can relax after hiking day with a bottle of bear or a glass of wine and enjoy the stunning scenery. Prices; camping SAR 90/$6,5 per person, dormitory SAR 160/$12 , double from 400/$30 .
Another budget accommodation option – Swallowtail camp site/caravan park/cottages at the entrance to Hogsback, prices vary depending on a season for details inquire on the website.
What to see in Hogsback?
The town deserves at least one day of walking around and visiting all its secret corners. There are several cozy cafes and restaurants we you can have lunch or just drink a cup of coffee as well as art galleries where you can find local souvenirs and curiosities. Just remember most of the places even some restaurants are closed on Mondays except December and April holiday time.
Madonna and a Child waterfall
Beautiful waterfall especially when it rains a lot about an hour walk from the town. You can drive most of the way and do a short but a bit tough hike to the waterfall. Take you swimming costume there is a pool at the waterfall so you can have refreshing swim. More downhill there is one more waterfall Swallow tail.
Camelot Fairy Meander
A magic garden with unique sculptures of fantastic creatures, dragons, fairies hidden between numeral ponds in the magic forest. Children and grown ups will enjoy its relaxed atmosphere. The meander is opened daily from 9 am till 5 pm, located at the entrance to Hogsback on the right. Entrance fee SAR 35/$US2,5 for adults and 15/$1 for children. More info HERE.
Perfect place for relaxation, meditation and observing the surrounding beauty. One of the main attractions of Hogsback Eco-Shrine is run by its founder Diana Graham whose art; oil painting and mosaique you can see in the gallery. Click HERE for more details.
Hobbiton On Hogsback
Started as an Outdoor Education Centre for disadvantage children (still it is) nowadays The Hobbiton offers activities and accommodation for tourists. The camp site can accommodate up to 150 children. They arrange corporate and school camps as well. If you are between 18 and 30 years old you can become a volunteer. For more details click HERE.
Hidden in the pine forest Starways is more than just a pottery; it’s an art community, cultural center, gallery and a place that hosts all sorts of events from cooking classes to musical performances. For more details click HERE.
Applegarth Gardens and Nursery
This place will inspire you to plant your own garden even if your only available space is a balcony. It’s quite a big garden 4 ha one of the owners takes guests for a tour, shows around and gives some explanation about different plants and flowers both indigenous and exotic. Except for the plants you have a good chance to spot some birds. More details and photos HERE.