Amatola, Hogsback, Katberg
Hiking in the Amatola Mountains
Considerung the scarcety of indigenous forests in South Africa, one can understand the popularity of the Amatola region with its large pockets of Afro-montane rainforests - interrupted by the ubiquitous pine and bluegum plantations - with South African nature lovers. The Amatola Trail is one of South Africa's best mountain hikes. It goes from King William's Town to Hogsback. The distance amounts to 100 kilometres. For the 5-days hike one should be reasonably fit and not totally inexperienced. The hiker gets rewarded with wonderful landscapes and several chances to go for a swim in mountain rivers and rockpools at waterfalls. Sleeping in overnight huts. The hike requires pre-booking at the Department of Water Affairs & Forestry in King William's Town. It costs about 135 Rand per person and day. Tel 043 6422571.
Hiking in the Katberg Mountain
The Katberg is also a popular hiking destination. The Katberg Trail starts in the Mpofu Game Reserve and ends at the Katberg Forest Station. This relatively easy hike is 42 kilometres long. Sleepover in a mountain hut. The hike must be pre-booked at the Katberg Forest Station. Tel 040 8641017. The ideal base is the Katberg Hotel, which also disposes of a golf course.
Hogsback - Hikes
Hogsback also offers some shorter and easier hiking and walking options which don't have to be booked in advance:
39 Steps Falls and Arboretum
This easy 15-minute walk starts in Oak Avenue and leads through the Arboretum (trees from round the world, including Californian Redwoods) up to the 39 Steps Waterfall.
Easy 40-minute walk, starting in Red Coat Lane.
Easier 45-minute circular hinking trails, starting in Red Coat Lane. Fantastic views of mountains and valley. In spring blooming of Watsonias and Proteas and many other wildflowers.
Madonna and Child Falls
The waterfalls can be reached from Wolf Ridge Road (4 km from the Village Green). The 1-hour hiking trail leads through indigenous rainforest.
The 1-hour hike leads up the Main Road through rainforest to a mighty 800 year old Yellowwood tree. On the way back one can also include the waterfalls "Swallow Tail Falls", "Bridal Veil Falls" and "Madonna and Child Falls", thereby extending the hike to up to 5 hours.
Diana Graham's Eco-Shrine
An esoteric sculpture garden by the local resident artist Diana Graham, celebrating the connectedness of us humans with the earth and the universe. One gets through a tunnel of hazelnut shrubs to a parklike garden. In the centre lies a concrete-cast circle covered with paintings and mosaics. Wedding couples like to tie the knot at this Eco-Shrine.
|Lowestoffe Horse Riding
Robyn Conroy and Neil Evens offer fantastic rides into the mountain world around Hogsback. Game viewing included. Also for children. Tel: 045 8431716 or 083 6545935
Plaatjieskraal Art & Craft Trail
This tour, starting behind the Hogsback Arminel Hotel, leads to the studios of various artists and arts&crafts people in Hogsback: Starways Pottery & Gallery, Mafika Pottery, Wrought & Rustic Carpentry and Metalwork, Somerset Gardens & Art Gallery.