There are two theories as how the village received its name. Some think it was named for Captain Hogg, Commander of Fort Michell. Others think that it is because one of the three peaks that overlook the village, when seen from a certain angle, resembles a Hog's Back (a hog's back is a geological term describing this rock formation).
The area is known for indigenous forests, waterfalls and trout fishing. The large gardens in the surrounding area also include exotic plants from all parts of the world, and it is a destination and tourist attraction among international and South African tourists. Apart from 'the Hogsback', the tallest peak in the area is the 1 954 m Gaika's Kop.
The Amatola Forest in the Hogsback area is often claimed as JRR Tolkien's inspiration for The Lord of the Rings, in particular for his fictional forest of Mirkwood. This is unlikely to be true because Tolkien left South Africa when he was three years old.
The link between Tolkien and Hogsback would seem to be a back formation from the establishment in 1947 of Hobbiton on Hogsback, a holiday and educational camp for underprivileged children. This was ten years after the publication of The Hobbit which was a huge success and which would have inspired the camp's founders as they set up in such an evocatively forested area.
Fly to East London, rent a car and drive the 140 km via King William's Town to Hogsback.
Fly to Port Elizabeth, rent a car and drive 250 km via Grahamstown, Fort Beaufort and Alice.
From the north, take the N1 to Bloemfontein, N6 to Queenstown, from Queenstown via Whittlesea, Seymour, Fort Beaufort, Alice, Hogsback. Do not take the road from Seymour to Hogsback.
From the east (Kwa-Zulu Natal) N2 via King William's Town to Hogsback. From the south (Cape Town) N2 via Port Elizabeth and Grahamstown, turn off to Fort Beaufort and Alice.
No car rental agencies or public transport. For getting around comfortably own transport is recommended.
- St Patrick's on the Hill is one of the smallest chapels in South Africa
- 1 Hogsback ecoshrine, 22 Summerton Dr, ☏ . W F Sa Su 9:30AM –3:30PM. A sculpture garden with mosaics that are a compilation of ancient images made by San artists and photographs of the universe from the Hubble space telescope. Created by artist Diana Graham at her studio. Adult R30, children free.
Explore Hogsback and surrounds:
- numerous hiking trails and waterfalls in the indigenous forests
- breathtaking views from various locations
- visit spectacular gardens in spring
- enjoy stunning autumn colours
- visit various arts and crafts and pottery
- walk a labyrinth
- horse riding
- watch beautiful sunsets
- enjoy the peace and quiet of the mountain
- relax in front of a cozy log fire in winter
- visit Double Drift and Mpofu game parks
Hiking and walking
There are a number of hiking routes and walks that take walkers through the forests, up mountains, past waterfalls and to viewing points and views of the area. General information on Hogsback such as maps of walks, hiking and mountain bike trails are available for purchase from the Hogsback Tourist Office near the entrance of the village. These trails vary from short easy walks to trails taking 3–4 hours and longer.
Hogsback hiking trails include:
- The Labyrinth at the Edge
- The 39 Steps Falls and Arboretum
- Madonna and Child Falls
- Kettlespout Falls
- The Three Hogs
- Tyumy Pools walk
- The Three Waterfall Trail
- The Bluff Walk
- The Military Path
- The Sunset Loop
- The Big Tree
- The Art and Craft Trail
Hogsback has 2 small grocery stores, a few shops mainly at the different eateries, arts and crafts, paintings, photography studio and local products like jams, soap and body products, and it has azalea nurseries.
- Enchanted Treehouse, ☏ .
- Happy Hogs, ☏ .
- Misty Mountain coffee bar, ☏ .
- Ninas, ☏ .
- Tea Thyme (at the edge), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Have tea and scones in the garden under the old oak trees.
- Arminel hotel, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com.
- Away with the fairies, Bag End, Ambleside Close, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Relaxed backpacker with amazing views, various hikes start right from the garden. Camping R50, dorms R90/R100, twin rooms R240 and ensuite double rooms from R300.
- The Edge, ☏ .
- Granny Mouse house, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com.
- Hogsback Inn hotel, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org.
- King's Lodge hotel, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com.
- Maylodge, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Never Daunted self-catering, 6, Redcoat Lane, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. R175pppn.
- Nutwoods, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org.