Visiting Hogsback for the first time (see our post here), after living in South Africa all my life, was honestly like stepping into another country- A greener, lushious region where forests and mountains took up nearly all of the space and left tiny areas for houses and roads. Even without names around town such as Lothlorien, Middle Earth and Striders, this green oasis immediately took me back to the Lord of the Rings and the Shire.
The cottage we stayed in at Away with the Fairies Backpackers had paintings of little gnomes and fairies beside the fireplace, next to the tiny doors and near the little bath. The cottage was aptly named ‘The Hobbit’ with other rooms named Frodo or Bilbo’s Rest. Even before we set off outdoors, we were surrounded by large trees, gardens filled with bright blooms, a 15m tree house and large logs used as benches.
In the morning, we set off with our guide, Vuyo, who obviously knew what damp and wet conditions lay before us in the forest and wore gumboots. The rest of us wore hiking boots or walking shoes and even these were no match for the forest who had just recently seen a lot of rain. We started at the Hogsback Arboretum filled with red Japanese Maples, oaks and bright, pink flowers.
We slid across wooden poles knocked together to form bridges, dug our feet into wet earth that led up slight inclines and tried to keep dry in the light constant rain. My broken rain poncho helped somewhat but the persistent rain ensured that I play hide and seek with my camera and take shots whenever I could get them.
I was in absolute awe at how green and fresh this mountainside was, having come from the dry Wild Coast which hadn’t seen rain in a long time, this seemed to be the place where God displayed favouritism and ensured that all things grow in abundance. Forests of pine trees grew tall and lined the pathway we walked through.
Vuyo showed us a tiny Yellowwood, South Africa’s National Tree, which could grow to be very old and tall. Lichen grew on trees and branches throughout the forest showing signs of clean air and healthy conditions.
We pushed branches aside, walked between dead trees that had to be sawed to clear the pathway and stopped to eye the Poisonous, apples which are said to be able to blind and kill you.
After hopping across a few gently flowing streams, past little waterfalls along the path, we walked uphill for a little bit longer before we reached the top. And there bubbling over the mountainside at full force, was the Kettlespout waterfall. Even though Vuyo warned us against standing near the edge of the cliff, everyone especially the guys seemed to have the strong desire to peek over to see it falling down below.
It gets its name from the wind which moves through the valley and lifts the water up to resemble the spout of a kettle. Down below we could see the entire ‘shire’ below. A few houses and buildings were scattered below but mostly just varying shades of forest, emerald and jade green.
Going back down the mountain was even more interesting. We slipped and slid along the bridges, down hilly parts and held hands to one point to avoid one hiker losing their footing and crashing into all the others below. Soon we were back down at the bottom, but thank goodness we were still surrounded by trees, flowers and the ever-beautiful green.
To do guided hikes in the area including the Hike to Kettlespout Falls in Hogsback, enquire about Hogsback Adventures through Away with the Fairies. This hike takes about 2 and half hours and is fairly easy for those of a reasonable fitness.
Away With The Fairies:
Bag End, Ambleside Close, Hogsback, 5721, Eastern Cape
Telephone: +27 (0)45 962-1031
Useful Hogsback Links:
- Hogsback Attractions
- Hogsback Self Catering
- Eastern Cape Self Catering
- South Africa Self Catering
- South Africa Accommodation