Opinions differ as to the origin of the name of this picturesque little town, situated at the western end of the great Amatola Mountain Range and surrounded by enchanting indigenous and pine forests. Some say the town may have been named after Capt. Hogg of Fort Mitchell, the first European settlement in the area but most believe that it was named after the nearby Hogsback Mountain Range with its three distinct mountain peaks, resembling a bristled-backed wild hog.
Adventure And Sport
Forest walks: Various colour-coded, one-day trails are marked through the forests surrounding the town. Some lead to beautiful waterfalls with magical names such as “Madonna and Child” and “The 39 Steps”, while others continue high up the mountain to sites such as the 1 565-m-high Tor Doone Peak, from which the town and the surrounding areas can be surveyed.
Hogsback Hiking Trail: Follow this 32-km, 2-day circular trail through the beautiful indigenous and pine forests of Hogsback, augmented by natural mountain fynbos vegetation.
Mountain-biking: There are several well-mapped-out mountain biking trails in the vicinity of the town and the Hobbiton Mountain Bike Race is held every year. Trout-fishing: The area with its many pools and streams, is an ideal spot for trout fishing. Trout Lake is one of the most popular sites.
Art And Crafts
Hogsback Arts Festival: Voted one of the ten best art festivals in the country, the Hogsback Arts Festival, hosted every September (Spring), is renowned for the way in which the barrier between audience and performers is broken down by employing the medium of interactive workshops.
Local art: The town is renowned for its community of artists whose works are exhibited and sold in the shops and galleries in town.
Fauna And Flora
Auckland Nature Reserve: This 218-ha reserve with its indigenous forests, lies on the road to Hogsback along the Tyume River Valley.
The Buff Picnic Site: The site offers peace and beauty and is the perfect backdrop for a relaxing barbecue or picnic.
Forests: Sparkling streams meander through the forests, their banks covered in white arum lilies, ferns, mosses, edible berries and bracken. Do not be surprised to find azaleas, rhododendrons, daffodils and other “European” plants and fruits growing profusely alongside their indigenous cousins. This variety is thanks to the efforts of one Thomas Summerton, a British market gardener who settled in the area more than 100 years ago. The forests resound with the sound of birdsong and, if you listen carefully, you may be able to recognise the song of the elusive Knysna lourie. Cape parrots and many other birds also hide in the branches of huge yellowwood and other indigenous and pine trees. As for the famous “mystical forest atmosphere” – just wait until the late afternoon mists come up to shroud the forest in their grey blanket!
Hogsback State Forest: Various walks and trails afford visitors the opportunity to enjoy the beauty and protective shade of the Hogsback State Forest. Trout-fishing, picnicking and camping are allowed in certain areas.
Little Timbers Garden and Arboretum: The beautifully laid-out gardens of the Little Timbers Garden and Arboretum and the nearby Trout Lake have a profusion of plants from all over the world. They form beautiful surroundings among which to enjoy some refreshments at the tea garden and are definitely worth a visit.
History And Architecture
Gaika’s Kop (Hill): This was the former home and headquarters of the fierce Xhosa chief, Ngqika(Gaika). A popular story told about him is that he sentenced offenders to “death by jumping” – in other words, they were thrown from a high hill. The Hogsback area was a mountain stronghold for the Xhosa people during the Frontier Wars.
Historical Route: Follow the road from Hogsback to the Amatola Basin and Fort Cox and to other sites connected with the Frontier Wars and the history of the area.
Saint Patrick-on-the-Hill Church: Many modern couples choose to commit to each other in this charmingly cosy thatched-roofed church on the hill.
Eastern Monarch: The monarch is a 30-m-high, 9-m-wide tree that has survived for many years. It is on the way to the Madonna and Child Waterfall.
Waterfalls: There are many waterfalls in the area, each with a very descriptive name, such as “The 39 steps”, “Madonna and Child”, “Kettlespout”, “Swallowtail” and the Bridal Falls. As the names indicate, each waterfall has some unique features and characteristics.