The last 24 hours in the small town of Hogsback have had a quite magical, fairy tale feel to them. Let me explain why.
First, the town of Hogsback is in the Amathole Mountains in the Eastern Cape of South Africa and is surrounded by centuries-old indigenous Afro-montane forests. Supposedly it got its name from the 3 signature mountains that (if you use your imagination) look like hogs. I was interested in learning that Hogsback today was known as “Qabimbola” long before white people named it Hogsback – in an era when Xhosa people had no say in the official naming process. But- it is now officially in the process of changing the name back to Qabimbola. Don’t ask me how to pronounce that! There are many rumors that J R R Tolkien, author of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, created his stories around the beauty and magic of the Hogsback forest. Whether that is true or not, when you walk through this place- you can see that it doesn’t seem far from the truth.
Second, we stayed at a place in the trees called “Away with the Fairies” and our room was Frodo’s Den. It was freezing cold, dark, and smelled like hobbits had lived and died there for centuries!
Third- this was the view from the place. I really wish vistas translated in pictures. The panoramic camera option was made for places like this but until you use all you senses…
It can’t be captured. I need you all to come to these places with me!
We went on a hike to explore the forest right away…..wanting to see what was on the inside of the lush forest below us. It did not disappoint. If I had to summarize it with one word it would be GREEN. So many shades of green. Green on trees, green on the ground, green growing on rocks and in the water. Green sparkling in the sun….It made everything look alive.
Shane practicing his outdoorsman catalog modeling. 🙂
Fourth, on our hike, a magical forest dog appeared! Meet Joey.
A few steps into our hike, this little guy came running towards us. We thought he would walk with us a bit and then leave, but no. He stayed with us for 4 hours! Running along the path, sometimes leading and sometimes following, chasing birds and baboons, and just being plain adorable. We named him Joey and he came when we called his “name”. When we were all done with be whole hike….he kind of just disappeared!
Aren’t convinced he’s magical? Look at this. See the blue spots in these pictures? There are like 8 pictures we took with these mystical blue spots swimming around Joey and me. No clue what they are, but I’m guessing Joey’s forest fairy friends.
Fifth, waterfalls. There are SO many dreamy waterfalls in Hogsback. This was the “Madonna and Child” hike. They say that the two jutting rock structures in the waterfall look like a mother holding her baby up. Do you see it?
Joey has spunk! He saw a cow standing on the side of the road and went right for it; He scared the pants off the cow and he ran away fast!
Sixth- we walked the biggest and most beautiful labyrinth I’ve even seen at a place called “The Edge”. Before we walked- they gave us information on the labyrinth, which made it seem even more special.
Me standing in the centre.
After walking the labyrinth, we walked to the edge of The Edge and took in the view. It was cool to look down on the forest that we were exploring hours before.
And seventh- maybe the most magical of it all…the next morning, we took a bath outside in the fresh air.
Like just about everywhere else we’ve been- we would have loved more time there. But that morning it was time to leave the forest and head somewhere a little more wild.