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- 22 Sep 2021, 3 nights
- 2 Guests
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Run away with the fairies in Hogsback, a breathtaking village in South Africa's Amathole mountains. Known for its mystical walkways and storybook beauty, it's rumoured to have been JRR Tolkien's inspiration for Lord of the Rings. To experience the magic for yourself, just enter one of the many gardens filled with fairy-tale statues and mirrors. The town's unusual name comes from the three peaks that surround it – known as the three hogs – where you'll find scatterings of hiking trails and nature parks to explore.
Stay at a hostel in Hogsback in a traditional rondavel (a round hut with a thatched roof) that's powered by solar energy and recycles rainwater. Fill up at a place that includes a free porridge breakfast and can introduce you to traditional Xhosa cooking. You'll find an open kitchen to prepare your own bites, and at a hostel with a bar you can easily meet other travellers. If you like to have options in front of you, look for the Hogsback hostel that offers both dorms and private rooms.
Hogsback itself is small, so staying in town puts the local eateries, markets and coffee shops in easy walking distance. Hogsback State Forest is a luscious area where you can spot buzzards and yipping jackals amid colourful wildflowers. Head to Elandsberg Peak for epic hiking trails, while not far away are the shaded paths, creeks and natural streams of Lushington Crown Forest. For a busier atmosphere, head to Fort Beaufort town for museums and the famous tower.
You can feel that Hogsback spirit on the Camelot Fairy Meander, a garden walk in a glade filled with sculptures of fairies, dragons and other creatures. Find your zen at the Eco-Shrine, an open-air space for meditation among mosaics and rock carvings, or get dizzy in the labyrinth at Edge Mountain Retreat. The Madonna and Child Falls is around an hour away if you dream of picnicking beneath freshwater mist, and you'll find both easy and challenging trails in the Afromontane forest.
To fly into Hogsback, you have two local options. Port Elizabeth International Airport is 3 hours away by bus or car, while the journey from East London Airport is 2 hours. Local companies send shuttles from Chintsa and East London Airport into the village regularly, and buses run through on the long road to Cape Town. There are no car rentals in Hogsback, so if you want the freedom to get around by yourself, look into hiring before you set off.