Activities in Hogsback
There are a variety of activities and things to do at Away with the Fairies and in Hogsback.
At Away with the Fairies itself we have a large variety of hiking trails starting right from the garden. You can choose whether you would like to hike alone, or with our own in-house FGASA registered guide.
In Hogsback you can choose from Abseiling, Mountain-biking, Combo-Tours, Horse riding or one of many other things on offer in the area
Hogsback’s very own adventure and outdoor activities center! Come and enjoy archery, abseiling and mountain biking while enjoying Hogsback’s fresh mountain air. Visit their website here
If you enjoy less strenuous activities, then choose to abseil 35m down the Madonna & Child Waterfall into the indigenous forests below, one of Hogsbacks most popular activities.
Looking for family fun fit for all ages? Try your skill at archery. A budget deal with gear rental included, one of the less intense activities in Hogsback
If you’re visiting Hogsback with your own bike, then don’t forget to stop by to stock up on everything you need to keep your bike running smoothly or to pick up a free map and some helpful advice. Don’t have your own bike? Rent one for the day and explore Hogsback’s numerous biking trails
Hogsback is famous for its forests, waterfalls and mountains.
Hogsback is a village overlooking the 3 Hogsback Mountains (or 3 Hogs) of the Amatola Mountain Range. You will find Away with the Fairies located at the lowest part of Hogsback, at an altitude of 1200m. Gaikas Kop is the highest point in the area, at 1963m.
From Away with the Fairies you overlook The Auckland Nature Reserve.
The Auckland Nature Reserve is the oldest forest in South Africa and one of only 2, grade 1 indigenous forests in the country. The reserve is pristine and has huge indigenous trees, such as Yellowwood, Iron Wood, Stink Wood and many, many others. As a result of this pristine environment, extremely rare species such as the Cape Parrot , Knysna Lourie and Samango Monkeys are still flourishing here.
Flora and Fauna is abundant.
There are species of bamboo and butterfly which are only found on Hogsback’s mountains. All sorts of fungi and mushrooms add to the magical feeling. The presence of delicate mosses and Old Man’s Beard indicates extremely pure air, as only a small amount of pollution will kill them.
Waterfalls are prolific
Within the Amatola Mountains there are more waterfalls per square km than anywhere else on earth. Hogsback alone has dozens of waterfalls. In front of Away with the Fairies there is Swallow Tail falls, Bridal Veil Falls not to mention, the famous Madonna and Child. From our Viewpoint we can also see Kettlespout falls. This alone is already a natural phenomenon, as in heavy winds the water flows backwards and causes a fine spray, resulting in the resemblance of steam from a kettle’s spout.
The name Hogsback was taken either from Captain Hogg of the British army based here in the 1880′s, or more likely, from the shape of the 3 mountains which overlook the village. These stunning looking mountains are topped by rocky ridges which resemble the bristles on a hog’s back.
The Tolkien Connection
With its gorgeous forests, waterfalls, flowers and mountains, Hogsback has an atmosphere of pure fantasy. As a result there are several place names derived from Tolkien’s books – Hobbiton-On-Hogsback and Bag End (the official name of Away with the Fairies property) to name a few. Tolkien was born in Bloemfontein, and his family reportedly visited Hogsback in the early 1900′s when he was a child. His African nanny came from Hogsback and is said to have told him scary stories of a giant flying snake. This snake, according to Xhosa legend, lives in the bowels of Hog 3 Mountain and occasionally manifests itself as a tornado before going back to sleep within the mountain.
While serving in the RAF, Tolkien’s son Christopher was stationed in nearby Queenstown and visited Hogsback several times. He sent back sketches and descriptions of the mountains and forests. These are more than likely to have contributed towards the J.R.R Tolkien fantasy creation, Middle Earth.
Hogs and Horses – The Picasso Connection
If you take a walk through the village, you are bound to meet a roadside Hog seller. They sell unique, painted clay figurines. These have been made in Hogsback for many years to the same design. South African artist Walter Battis (creator of Fook Island) kept up a long correspondence with Pablo Picasso. And in the early 1960′s visited him, taking along some hogs & horses. Picasso is said to have been most impressed, asking, “How does an Etruscan horse end up in Africa?” and pronouncing them the most interesting artifacts to have come from the continent. If one looks at some of the artist’s work of the period, it is easy to believe that the Hogsback figurines had a strong influence on him.