Escape to a mythical world in Hogsback
Although it seems that most of the world is getting ready for summer, in South Africa, people are gearing up for winter. One of the most magical places to spend time in this winter is the quiet little town of Hogsback in the Eastern Cape.
Named after its famous 3 flat-topped mountain peaks and hidden on the slopes of the Amathola Mountains, Hogsback, or as some of the locals like to call it “the Middle Earth Tolken wrote about” is a nature lover’s Eden with indigenous forests, cascading waterfalls, spectacular birdlife and breathtaking vistas.
Although there is no official record of JRR Tolkien ever visiting Hogsback (having been born in Bloemfontein in South Africa), it is quite evident that there are incredible similarities between the world he created in his legendary works The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit and the sleepy little town of Hogsback. His son was a commander of Royal Air Force troops in the region and he visited Hogsback regularly. He sent his father a number of sketches and descriptions of the forests and surrounds, so it is not too farfetched to conclude that those contributed to Tolkien creating Middle Earth, the setting for what amazon.com users voted as the “book of the millennium” in 1999. Quite a few guest houses and lodges are named after places in these books like Hobbiton, Away with the Fairies and Middle Earth.
Hogsback offers a wide variety of things to do and see, to entice even the most seasoned traveller. Take some time during your visit to walk through the indigenous forests to countless beautiful waterfalls, or if you are a serious walker, set your sights on the 3 Hogs or Gaika’s Kop Mountains. You can also engage in some rock climbing on bolted routes at the Madonna & Child Waterfall, the Robinson Falls and Hog 1. Hire a mountain bike and explore some of the stunning forest trails and dirt roads or mount a steed and explore the sights at a more leisurely pace.
Apart from being an artist’s dream canvas, Hogsback has an Arts & Crafts route that includes a Shrine, Potteries and a Labyrinth to keep travellers entertained.
Winter is so much fun in Hogsback, there is even a Winter Celebration festival taking place from 27-29 July 2018 themed “Let it snow” with exciting events like the Chill Dip where the brave take on the icy waters for a swim (however brief it may be). With craft stalls, live entertainment, themed dinners, local beer tastings, cooking demonstrations, a creative writing workshop, scavenger hunts and a whole lot more, the winter holidays are looking much brighter.
AJT Cook summed it up perfectly when he said, “There is a magic about Hogsback which cannot be reduced to cold print; but which steals away the hearts of those who visit it so that they come back year after year to recapture their first love”.
A winter holiday needn’t be a dreary one spent indoors in front of the television binging series upon series. It can be a magical journey to a place you know well from the pages of a book brought to life with adventure, fireplaces, fun, romance and snow.