THE HISTORIC HOGSBACK: A place where the magic of hospitality is real
One place that seems to pull me back every year is the magical Hogsback area which owes its dramatic natural beauty and landscape to the Amathole Mountain range whose peaks resemble a hog’s back. If you have never experienced true enchantment, you really have to visit this area!
The small village of Hogsback is nestled in lush indigenous forest as well as commercial forestry plantations, hiding several stunning waterfalls and boasting spectacular winter views of snow-covered peaks, valleys and misty meadows. Come springtime, the village is transformed into a floral heaven.
When driving to Hogsback, I always sense time slowing down and feel my nerves unclench and my body synchronising to the area’s noticeably chilled pace.
This time round, my fiancé and I decided to stay at the historic Hogsback Inn after hearing wonderful things about the place. The Inn with its is old English-style Tavern, was one of the first establishments on the mountain, being originally established in the 1880’s.
The management and staff of the Inn have maintained its country charm and elegance. One can experience its old world feel in the passages and corridors, at the Hogshead Tavern and in its beautiful gardens.
We opted for one of their Standard Rooms, which had everything one would need for a comfortable stay including a double-bed, electric blanket, DSTV (selected movie channels) as well as en-suite bathroom. All rooms retain many of the original 1880 Inn’s features, charm and character.
Our room had doors that opened onto the most gorgeous view of the garden with large, bare, oak trees, lawns blanketed in orange leaves and a bubbling stream that runs through the property.
The Inn also boasts 5 Luxury Suites for those wanting a more modern & luxurious feel as well as 3 Self-Catering units for those on a tight budget.
After settling in, we could not resist a walk into the enchanting forest nearby. You have never experienced magic until you walk into Hogsback’s forests! In the total seclusion and serenity of the woods, I felt like I had been transported into a mythical world.
With the sun setting, we decided to head back to the Inn where we enjoyed a quick nap before making our way down to the dining room for dinner.
I found the Hogsback Inn dining room intimate, cosy and a great place to mingle with the jolly locals. A warm wood-fire was blazing in the centre keeping the winter chill outside. We ordered their Madagascan Fillet, served in a cream, brandy and peppercorn sauce, with chips and veggies. Our meal was perfect - the meat was tender and juicy, the chips and veggies as fresh and tasty as can be!
Our tummies full, we made our way to bed.
The following morning, we woke up to a delicious breakfast of juice, cereals, fruit and yoghurt as well as a generous serving of bacon, eggs, mushrooms, sausage and tomato, toast and an assortment of jams. What a fantastic way to start the day!
We ventured off to see the surrounding attractions the area has to offer. Activities in Hogsback include forest walks, mountain biking, mountain climbing, bird watching (there are more than 100 species, including the Cape Parrot and Knysna Lourie), and trout fishing.
Whilst in this delightful area, make sure you also experience the longest labyrinth in South Africa, the Hogsback Labyrinth, as well as the Eco-Shrine mounted in a dramatic setting overlooking the valley and the Hogsback Mountains.
Exhausted, we made our way to the Tavern at the Hogsback Inn for a relaxed lunch. We ordered what turned out to be the most delicious toasted sandwiches I have ever had. Lazy, relaxed and full, we decided watching movies in our room was the best option.
For dinner, we ordered ribs – and what a good choice that was! The meat fell off the bone with barely a touch of the fork. The food at Hogsback Inn is so good, that, on its own, it makes the visit worthwhile! I would come back again if only to try our host’s suggestion of their Sweet Chicken Curry.
Unfortunately, the following morning we had to say good bye to our winter comfort. I can highly recommend Hogsback Inn for couples, honeymooners, girl’s weekends and anyone just wanting to escape to a place of magic.
The Hogsback Inn is also perfect for weddings, conferences, events and corporate retreats as adequate accommodation is available at the Inn and in the village and the Inn has a modern, fully equipped conference centre on the premises.
To book your stay at Hogsback Inn, call 045 962 1006 or email [email protected] or visit www.hogsbackinn.co.za today.