Hogsback is a village high up in the AmatolaMountains in the Eastern Cape Province, South Africa. The village overlooks the rivers and slopes of the Tyume valley. It got its name from nearby mountain peaks which resembles the bristles of a hog’s back. Hogsback is also known by its Xhosa name Qabimbola, which means “Red Clay On The Face”, which is used during initiation rites. The area is known for indigenous forests, waterfalls and trout fishing. It sports a rich variety of birdlife (more than a 100 species) which includes the Cape parrot (there are reportedly only 300 left in the world) as well as the Knysna Lourie, Hornbill and many more. See the Hogsback Bird Directory.
Waterfalls in the area comprise the Madonna & Child, The Thirty None Steps, Swalowtail falls, the Bridal Veil falls and the Kettle Spout falls. The vegetation in Hogsback is lush with cherry blossoms, rhododendrons, azaleas and lilies abound. Many Forest walks are begging to be explored and takes one through the mystical forests, past the many waterfalls and streams and up peaks where you can have a magnificent vista over the Amatola basin.
Be warned, you can have all 4 seasons in one day, from sweltering hot to cold and very misty. The nights are always kind of chilly, regardless of season. All the seasons have a particular charm and beauty. Autumn comes with a rich whispering coat of deep browns, oranges, yellows and various shades of brown from dusty to dark. You can roll around in the leaves and enjoy lovely mild weather. Winters are very, very, cold with occasional snow which turns Ilifu into a white wonderland. Don`t forget to make a snow angel (lie on your back in the snow and move your arms to create wings in the snow). Be very careful on the walkway between the cottage and the cabin as well as the stairs as it can become very slippy! See the snow page for more pictures. Summer is the most unpredictable time of the year. It can be sweltering hot, mild to misty and icy cold. The mist can be so thick that you can barely see anything in front of you. It is also the rainy season. This means that the roads are always full of potholes (worse than normal) and the streams and waterfalls spectacular. Every season has its flower and in summer it is Christmas flowers that take your breath away with blues and pinks everywhere. Spring, of course, is the time when Hogsback put on its prettiest clothes and astounds you with flowers and splendour. Lilies grow everywhere and anywhere and the garden is a paradise of colours. This is also the time of the year when we have our annual Spring Festival. Various performers visit Hogsback and entertain everybody with their music and art.
Legend have it….
The AmatolaForest in the Hogsback area is often claimed as Bloemfontein born, JRR Tolkien’s inspiration for The Lord of the Rings and many Tolkienesque names can be found.
Hogsback initially provided home to the earlier English farming settlers after the frontier wars. Among the earlier settlers was Thomas Summerton, who was a gardener by trade. He is said to have planted many apple orchards, hazelnut avenues, berry fruit trees and many colourful flowering plants that have spread throughout the area. For more history of the area, click here