If you are looking for great things to do in Hogsback, look no further.
Hogsback is a bustling little village nestled in the Amathole Mountains in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa. This beautiful part of South Africa is home to waterfalls, forests and is even believed to have been part of J.R.R Tolkien inspiration for the setting of Lord of The Rings!
With so much going on, in such a small village what are the best things to do when in Hogsback? Should you be viewing the Madonna and Child waterfall?
Or perhaps should you be returning a precious ring to Mount Doom in order for it to be destroyed (perhaps it is best we leave this part to Tolkien).
Whichever tickles your fancy, here are some great things to do in Hogsback.
Our List of Things to do in Hogsback
Madonna and Child Waterfall
Hogsback is littered with great sights, great trails, and great hiking spots. The Madonna and Child waterfall is all of those, in one spot. The waterfall got its name from the nearby rockface bearing a striking resemblance to a mother and child, hence earning itself the name “Madonna and Child”.
The waterfall itself is a 460-meter steep boardwalk followed by a 130-meter flat walk to the falls themselves. All in all, not a completely overwhelming hike like can be found at other waterfalls, but certainly enough of a challenge to entice the less experienced hikers or adventure seekers.
Bearing in mind, that it is a waterfall, and the hike might be a little tricky for those not used to the long walks and steep steps needed to reach the bottom. Nonetheless, if the adventurer in you is up for a little challenge, this would be a perfect trip for a well spent day in Hogsback.
The trip down to the bottom is fantastically calm and serene, with the bonus that there is no need to rush down. One can stop and take breaks or even bird watch for a little bit in the forest, all while walking towards the magnificent falls.
The hike may be challenging; however, it is also rather short and does have steps and railings to assist you down. Once at the bottom, there is a pond which serves as a great viewing point to observe the waterfall. The perfect spot for cooling off and regaining some energy to take on the hike back up to the top.
The waterfall is a truly magnificent sight that cannot be put into words, the sheer beauty is something that needs to be seen, as it will truly take your breath away.
The Hogsback Arboretum is a truly beautiful must visit part of Hogsback. The Hogsback Arboretum is one of the best in South Africa, offering a fantastic mix of forest, plants, flowers, and some wildlife. The Arboretum itself includes trees from all over the world including some Californian Redwood trees with many of them well over 100 years old! Which should come as no surprise as the Arboretum itself is 138 years old!
The sleepy forest like something that has jumped straight off the pages of a fairy tale. The beautiful trees, quaint streams and bustling bird life would be enough to make anybody feel as though they are trotting through the setting of a children’s story.
The main reason for visiting the Arboretum would have to be the wide variety of bird species that can be found when visiting.
For all birders, this place truly is a must see. The amazing thing about the bird life is that it varies over the year depending on what the season is, and what the migration patterns of the local birds are. The mountain landscape results in a greater population of raptors and the birds of prey, whilst seeing considerably less waders and ducks (due to the mountains and the fact that it is cold).
The Arboretum plays host to a fantastic array of birds including the magnificent Poicephalus Robustus -otherwise known to us none birders as the Cape Parrot, South Africa’s only endemic parrot species.
The Cape Parrot can be found in the Arboretum, particularly in the large yellowwood trees, where the parrot often makes its homes.
Other than the small yet stunning parrot, The Arboretum and Hogsback in general is also home to even bigger birds. The magnificent African Crowned Eagle calls these forests its home, alongside its much bigger family member – the Martial Eagle.
The Martial Eagle is one of the largest eagle species, however it is not most well-known for its size, but rather its extremely effective eyesight. The Martial Eagle has been known to spot prey from a distance of up to 6 kilometers!
Although the majestic eagles like the Martial Eagle and the Crowned eagle are more elusive and certainly would require a keen eye and a good knowledge of birds to spot them, they can be found in and around Hogsback and the Arboretum.
The plethora of birdlife and a wealth of trees from across the globe would make the Arboretum a must visit for anybody travelling to Hogsback. A birders paradise, for novice and experienced birders alike.
Lowestoffe Guided Horse Ride
Hogsback already comes across like the land of a fairy tale (probably why Tolkien would have used it as inspiration for one of the most well-known tales ever written), nothing completes a fairy tale experience quite like a ride on a horse through the serene forests and beautiful mountain ranges dotted with exceptional views. The Lowestoffe guided horse ride offers all of those in a fantastic two-hour trip, which many locals say is simply the best way to view Hogsback in all its splendor.
The trips up the mountain take you through superb African bushveld and forest. It is not uncommon to see other wildlife whilst on the ride, visitors often sight wildebeest, or blesbok extremely close. Albeit they are fairly common a sight at any African adventure into nature, seeing them whilst on horseback certainly makes the experience better, and allows one to view both species without the rumbling of a game car.
The blesbok is a subspecies of the bontebok – an antelope species endemic to South Africa, Namibia and Eswatini. It can be identified by its distinctive white face – something it shares with the bontebok, however the bontebok is considerably darker in shade and is not as common in the Hogsback area.
Alongside the blesbok, one may spot flurrying herds of wildebeest, but not more prolific and widespread blue wildebeest. This area is home to the slightly less widespread black wildebeest. The black wildebeest is something South Africans see a lot more often than they may realize as it is the animal that is featured on the R5 coin.
The black wildebeest was once nearly hunted to extinction, at one point in time there was only about 600 left. Today they are bountiful, and it is estimated that there are as many as 18 000 today. Should you wish to catch a glimpse of this great creature, the Lowestoffe guided horse ride is certainly a must for you.
The Hogsback Labyrinth is a must-see on anybody’s things to do in Hogsback list. Set on the edge of a cliff, with some of the most spectacular views in the area (and that is a massive achievement as the views in Hogsback are spectacular, yet this place stands out). The valley below coupled with the sight of the Amathole mountains paints a picture of Africa in mesmerizing fashion.
The Labyrinth is one of the largest around with a pathway in the region of 700 meters long and a total walking distance estimated to be in the region of 1 and a half kilometers (similar in design to the well-known Chartres Cathedral in France) this place is certainly worth the trip if you want to get in your daily ‘steps’.
The Hogsback Labyrinth is without doubt, one of the most fulfilling parts of anybody’s stay in Hogsback. The long winding walks in the Labyrinth is like a journey of self-discovery. The walk is so calm and peaceful and being set alongside such breathtaking views certainly helps complete the meditating feel of this special place.
There is no rush to completing the Labyrinth, and everybody does it at their own pace, allowing for complete peace of mind and a relaxing day out.
The Hogsback Labyrinth is certainly something everybody should try, it is fulfilling, and helps to bring a great peace of mind and a sense of calmness in our otherwise hyper driven world.
The Hogsback Labyrinth is a must do!
The Secret Waterfall
Unfortunately, I cannot say more as it is a secret…
Okay, this place is so beautiful that it is nearly impossible to keep it secret!
Hogsback is full of great hiking trails and absolutely magnificent waterfalls – one of them has already been covered known as the Madonna and Child.
Of course, unlike the Madonna and Child, this particular waterfall is much less known unless you are a local or an avid tourist of the area – hence the name ‘The Secret Waterfall’.
The exact location of the secret waterfall is a little tricky to pinpoint, however the locals all seem to know exactly where it is, and it is most likely that anyone of them would be more than happy to assist you in finding it. The location is said to be near the border of the old Ciskei region.
The waterfall itself is a truly impressive sight alone but adding it to the magnificent views of the Eastern Cape Province that can be seen from the top, alongside the breathtaking serenity and calmness boosted by the exclusivity of this particular place, allows for a calming and relaxing feel.
The waterfall is an incredible location to watch the sun set across the rolling hills and mountains in the region offering photographers a great opportunity to get ‘the shot’ of the sun dipping behind the mountains and creating a mesmerizing look on the water as it slides off the cliff face.
Visiting the secret waterfall is an absolute must for anybody visiting Hogsback. If not for the beautiful views and the quiet yet breathtaking nature of the falls, just to say that you were part of the small towns own little ‘secret’ should be enough for anybody to add this on the Hogsback must-do list.
Hogback offers a lot more than the five great things to do on this list, as a matter of fact this list barely scratches the surface of all the wonderful things that can be done in Hogsback. Nonetheless the five aspects chosen will hopefully be enough to inspire a trip to the wonderful town in the Eastern Cape to see it in all of its true beauty that can only really be felt when visiting.
-Great Things to do in Hogsback.