Things to do in Hogsback

Posted on 8 July 2023 By Tsoku Maela

Hogsback is renowned for its remarkable sights, trails, and hiking spots, including the striking Madonna and Child waterfall. This waterfall earned its name due to a nearby rockface that bears a resemblance to a mother and child, making it a captivating sight.

The waterfall itself consists of a 460-meter steep boardwalk, followed by a 130-meter flat walk to reach the falls. While the hike is not overwhelmingly challenging compared to other waterfalls, it still provides a suitable level of difficulty to entice less experienced hikers and adventure enthusiasts.

It’s important to note that the waterfall hike may pose a challenge for those unaccustomed to long walks and steep steps required to reach the bottom. However, for adventurous individuals seeking a challenge, this trip offers a perfect way to spend a fulfilling day in Hogsback.

The journey to the bottom of the waterfall is serene and peaceful, allowing ample time for breaks and even bird-watching in the forest while approaching the magnificent falls.

Although the hike may be demanding, it is relatively short and features steps and railings to assist hikers. Once at the bottom, visitors can enjoy a pond that provides an excellent vantage point to admire the waterfall. It serves as a refreshing spot to cool off and regain energy before embarking on the hike back to the top.

Describing the waterfall’s beauty is beyond words—it’s a breathtaking sight that must be seen to be fully appreciated.

Hogsback Arboretum

Hogsback Arboretum, located in Hogsback, is a captivating destination that showcases the region’s natural beauty. As one of South Africa’s finest arboretums, it offers a delightful blend of forests, plants, flowers, and wildlife. The arboretum boasts trees from various parts of the world, including majestic Californian Redwood trees that have thrived for over a century. With a history spanning 138 years, the arboretum presents a serene forest reminiscent of a fairy tale setting. Its enchanting trees, babbling streams, and bustling birdlife transport visitors into a magical world.

Magical forest path with wooden bridge and stream. Beautiful nature scene. Hogsback Arboretum, Eastern Cape, South Africa.

The primary attraction of the Arboretum lies in its diverse array of bird species. Bird enthusiasts will find the place a true haven. The birdlife varies throughout the year, influenced by the seasons and the migratory patterns of local birds. The mountainous landscape fosters a higher population of raptors and birds of prey, while waders and ducks are less common due to the colder climate and mountainous terrain.

The Arboretum hosts a remarkable assortment of birds, including the magnificent Cape Parrot (Poicephalus robustus), South Africa’s only endemic parrot species. These beautiful parrots often make their homes in the large yellowwood trees of the Arboretum.

In addition to the charming parrots, the Arboretum and Hogsback are home to even more majestic birds. The African Crowned Eagle and its larger relative, the Martial Eagle, inhabit these forests. The Martial Eagle, known for its exceptional eyesight, can spot prey from distances of up to 6 kilometres.

While spotting these magnificent eagles requires a keen eye and bird knowledge, they can be found in and around Hogsback and the Arboretum. With its abundance of birdlife and an array of trees from around the world, the Arboretum is a must-visit destination for anyone travelling to Hogsback. Whether novice or experienced, birdwatchers will find this place a paradise.

The Lowestoffe guided horse ride

The Lowestoffe guided horse ride is an enchanting experience that perfectly complements Hogsback’s fairy tale ambience. Amidst serene forests and breathtaking mountain ranges offering exceptional views, this two-hour trip is hailed as the best way to appreciate Hogsback’s splendour.

As riders ascend the mountain, they traverse magnificent African bushveld and forests. It’s not uncommon to encounter other wildlife during the ride, such as wildebeest or blesbok, in close proximity. Observing these animals while on horseback enhances the experience, allowing visitors to appreciate both species without the noise of a game car.

The blesbok, a subspecies of the bontebok, is identifiable by its distinctive white face, a feature it shares with its larger counterpart. However, the bontebok is darker in shade and less commonly found in the Hogsback area.

In addition to blesbok, visitors may spot herds of wildebeest, although the black wildebeest is more prevalent here than the more widespread blue wildebeest. The black wildebeest is commonly seen in South Africa and is featured on the R5 coin. These majestic creatures were once nearly hunted to extinction, with only about 600 remaining at one point. Today, their population has thrived, estimated to be around 18 000. Observing these magnificent creatures makes the Lowestoffe guided horse ride an absolute must-do activity in Hogsback.

The Hogsback Labyrinth

The Hogsback Labyrinth is an essential addition to anyone’s list of things to do in Hogsback. Perched on a cliff’s edge, this location offers some of the most spectacular views in the area, standing out even amidst Hogsback’s breathtaking scenery. With the valley below and the Amathole mountains in the backdrop, the Labyrinth paints a mesmerizing picture of Africa.

The Labyrinth in Hogsback, South Africa. This is a popular tourist attraction and landmark.

One of the largest labyrinths around, it features a pathway stretching approximately 700 meters in length, with a total walking distance of about 1.5 kilometres. Its design bears a resemblance to the well-known Chartres Cathedral labyrinth in France, making it an ideal destination for those seeking a meditative and contemplative experience.

There is no rush to complete the labyrinth, allowing visitors to walk at their own pace and immerse themselves in the tranquillity and beauty of the surroundings. The long, winding paths of the labyrinth provide a journey of self-discovery and a peaceful retreat from the fast-paced world.

The Hogsback Labyrinth is a deeply fulfilling experience that brings a sense of peace and serenity in a world driven by constant activity. It is truly a must-do activity for all visitors.

“The Secret Waterfall” holds a special place among Hogsback’s hidden gems. While its exact location may be challenging to pinpoint, locals and frequent tourists are likely to be familiar with it. The waterfall remains relatively unknown to the broader public, earning its secretive reputation.

The waterfall itself is a magnificent sight, enhanced by the breathtaking views of the Eastern Cape Province visible from the top. Its exclusivity and tranquil ambience add to the sense of serenity experienced in this secluded place.

The Secret Waterfall provides an incredible setting to witness the sunset over the rolling hills and mountains of the region. Photographers will find great opportunities to capture the sun dipping behind the mountains, creating mesmerizing reflections on the water as it cascades down the cliff face.

Visiting the Secret Waterfall is an absolute must for anyone exploring Hogsback. Apart from its stunning views and serene atmosphere, being part of the town’s well-kept secret is a unique and rewarding experience that should be included on every Hogsback must-do list.


Pictures: Getty Images

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