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Browsing through my huge collection of South Africa photos I stumble upon a folder called ‘Hogsback’. Hogsback…A smile appears on my face immediately. I embrace Hogsback. It seems that J.R.R. Tolkien spent a lot of time here. No wonder….Something you might not know is that I am a great fantasy books-enthusiast /nerd. Thanks to my parents I read lots of wonderful fantasy books. So I must and will discover this mysterious place in South Africa.
Hogsback is situated in the Eastern Cape Province on the Amatola edge mountains. It’s a small community and a kind of hippie hideaway (which you know I looove). The atmosphere is hard to grab but it does embrace you. A mysterious place with many wandering stories and myths. Many artists and organic farmers live here. It is located in a natural wooded area, something that little is to be found in South Africa. Green forests, rivers, waterfalls and a beautiful flora and fauna. We rent a car and leave our hometown in good spirits towards the mystery. Our favorite activity. In South Africa you can hire a car for nothing, we do this every weekend and the months between and after school.
The road to Hogsback is infinite and suddenly changes in mountains (which seem to appear out of nowhere) with their peaks standing proud, covered in clouds. We don’t know how much we still have to climb, but the magic has already taken us. While we drive the low bushes and tall trees emerge from the Earth. I’m in a forest scene from the Lord of The Rings. Looking for a place to sleep we come across a fantastic whitewashed cottage with a thatched roof that should be in Hobbiton. It seems that the whole community is in contact with the magic of nature.
The next morning I step out of the cottage and I find myself in a world which seems not to be mine. Magic is definitely the good word for this place. Intangible. I see mountains, lakes, rivers and endless forests shrouded in mysterious morning mist. I just don’t know why, but there is a tangible sense of otherworldliness in the air. I wake up in a glorious sunrise and enjoy nature, the panoramic view and the quietness. I take a walk through the adjacent labyrinth. Brings luck, they say. We are going to hike this world today. There are several trips described on a somewhat vague map, and hiking within this nature seems fantastic to be.
Hours later. The map is not correct at all and we are lost. But we walk, climb and scramble, while having the feeling of being in another world. Along centuries-old trees, lianas, rivers and rocks we move in silence, just listening to the animals, the murmur of a brook and the crashing water flood of the waterfalls that just seem to appear out of nowhere. Did I just saw a fairy? The feeling that everything is possible here, that nothing is as it seems. A strange sensation, but a magical one. Like you are equally one with nature. I’m in the world of Tolkien. So we continue for a few days, hiking and wandering and just being one with nature, until it’s time to return to the ordinary world. Bye Hogsback, see you soon. I’ll take a little of your magic with me.
Hogsback is not to be missed during a journey through South Africa. Certainly not if you like hiking and nature. Mysticism, a completely different environment than the rest of the country, nature to embrace, an elusive fine atmosphere and free spirits. This magical place has to be seen to be believed.