Hogsback is famous for its forests, waterfalls and mountains.

Hogsback is a village on the Amatola Mountain Range that overlooks the Hogsback Mountains.  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.

Away with the Fairies, overlooking The Auckland Nature Reserve.

The Auckland Nature reserve is the oldest forest in South Africa and is one of only 2 grade 1 indigenous forests in South Africa.  The reserve is also pristine and has huge 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

The Amatola Mountains boast 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 and not to mention, the famous Madonna and Child. From our Viewpoint we can also see Kettlespout falls, which this alone is already a natural phenomenon. In heavy winds the water flows backwards and causes a fine spray, resulting in the resemblance of steam from a kettle’s spout and no water going down the waterfall, only up!!!

Hogsback Origins

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, Rivendell and Bag End (the official name of the hostel’s property) to name a few.  JRR Tolkien was born in Bloemfontein, and his family reportedly visited Hogsback in the early 1900′s when he was a child. His nanny came from Hogsback and is said to have told him scary stories of the giant flying snake that according to Xhosa legend, lives in the bowels of Hog Three Mountain and manifests itself as a tornado.

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.

All in all Hogsback is a fantasy world where raw nature meets art and creativity.

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Eating and Drinking at the Fairies

  • Hogsback Fern forests

    Some parts of the undergrowth in Hogsback’s rain forests are covered with wild ferns. There are many different types of ferns to be found in Hogsback
  • Visitor enjoying the view on top of Waterfall

    Hogsback visitor enjoying the view from the top of one of our many waterfalls.
  • 39 Steps waterfall

    39 Steps is the most accessible waterfall from Hogsback town. it takes just a short walk through the gorgeous gardens of the Arboretum to get there.
  • Star Gazing n Hogsback

    Join us around the bonfire of find your own private spot to enjoy the stunning nights skies and infinite stars above Hogsback
  • Hike to the top of Hog One

    When hiking to the top of Hog One you will enjoy some of South Africa’s best view, if not the world. This is a tough full day hike that is only doable in good weather. Please inform at Away with the Fairies reception before doing this hike.

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Our Partners

Rivendell House of Healing

Rivendell House of Healing is a mountainside retreat where we focus on spirituality, meditation, personal growth, permaculture and yoga on a backpackers budget.

Amatola Trails, Hogsback

The Amatola Hiking Trail is a 6 day hike through the Amatola Mountains. The trail consists of several exciting loop trails and the main 6 day trail which is linear. The trail can be started at various points, from 2 to 6 days, with the main trail starting at Maden Dam near King Williams Town and ending near Hogsback.

Coffee Shack Backpackers, Coffee Bay

We have a reputation of being a fun, good-value hostel with excellent facilities and the most amazing, friendly local staff.

Sugar Shack Backpackers, East London

Sugar Shack is spectacularly situated on a sand dune on Eastern Beach, literally within spitting distance of the beach, yet only a few minutes’ walk from restaurants, pubs, clubs, restaurants, shops and East London’s very own Aquarium.

Hogsback Adventures

Hogsback Adventures, the Go-To Adventure company in Hogsback. Experience mountain-biking, abseiling, archery and guided tours with a professional and owner-run operator.