We’ve fallen in love with Hogsback - Day 351
What a place. I think Tim and I have fallen in love with Hogsback. Perhaps it reminds us of the best of the UK?
We started off the day walking around the Arboretum, with fabulous views of the three flat-topped Hogsback Mountains. The walk was relaxing and quite magical amongst azaleas in full bloom. I must admit I got a bit carried away imagining the white azalea flowers as being little fairies asleep, coming to life when it gets dark! We wandered between English oak, South African Yellow-wood and Californian Redwoods of over 100 years old, together with arum lilies, foxgloves, ferns and many other trees. Gradually, we came across the 39 steps waterfall, which also had a magical feel about it. What is it about this place?
The walk was supposed only to be about 20 minutes, but we ensured that we walked every path, taking full advantage of this beautiful place. By the time we completed our walk, it was lunchtime. We found a recommended café and sat in the garden after ordering our food. There was a group of mature folk sitting around, and as soon as they heard our English accent, they started chatting with us. People are so friendly here. They all seemed very intrigued to hear about our travels. They were going off to view property here in Hogsback as one couple were thinking of moving here. I don’t blame them. A delightful place to live.
After lunch, we popped down to the Tourist Information to pick up a leaflet of nearby walks. Gloria served us, who we later discovered was in her mid-70s and worked there once a week. Such a spritely jolly lady and so helpful. We followed her advice and drove a few kilometres for a short walk to find the Swallow Tail Falls.
Again, beautiful views and foliage. We must have missed the turning for the waterfalls as we ended up on the cliff edge with a mighty drop that would plunge us on top of spires of the pine trees below. We walked along the verge of the summit on one side and the forest the other. Eventually, we could hear gushing water. We found a path leading down, and there was the Swallow Tail Falls. The stream was meandering over flat rocks, tumbling down natural steps until it came to a natural pool before whooshing down to another pool then plummeting out of eyesight.
We walked over a small manmade stone bridge along a path parallel with the stream amongst the trees. Bird call was all around us, and we wondered if we’d be able to see the Cape Parrot, the only indigenous one in the country, which lives in this area. Tim searched on google so we could listen and recognise the call. What a screech! No “Pretty Polly” here!
Back to the car, we drove to an area high on a hill to visit the Eco-Shrine Centre. Unfortunately, it was closed, something for us to do tomorrow. We strolled along a path with a wide vista of the Amatole Mountains and noticed the edge of the plot for Mirrors Gallery and Crystal Corner, a place we wanted to visit. The back gate was locked, but then we saw a man on his sit-on lawn mower come towards us. It was Ken, the owner of this place who turned out to be English. What a guy! He has led such an exciting life, travelling the world, going to extreme locations. When we asked him what his favourite place was, he answered “Here… I take the O out of Hogsback and replace it with U”, and we had a lovely hug over the barbed wire. We will meet him again tomorrow, so I am sure I will write more about this fascinating man then.
Back to our “home”. Peter and Lyndsay, our hosts, invited us to the Butterfly Bistro tonight. A fabulous place in a triangular red corrugated metal building with flags and other paraphernalia throughout. We were introduced to Peter and Lyndsay’s friends who they know through bowling. It does seem as if most of the village know Peter and Lyndsay, both Gloria and Ken said “lovely people” when we mentioned where we were staying.
What a great night. Delicious pizzas, nice craft beer and wine and conversations flowing with much laughter. We had such a lovely time that we were easily persuaded to stay on for two extra days, so now 5 nights here. We really do love Hogsback.