With our amazing stay in Chintsa over it was time to board our shuttle to Hogsback. When I say shuttle I mean a car and this car was full to the max. It had space for up to eight people, two inh the front, three in the middle and three in the back. Every seat was taken and with the back seats being used it didn’t leave much of a boot for eight large back packs. We managed to squeeze five in the small boot space and three on the roof rack then finally we were off. As you can imagine this car was hot, it was about 27 degrees outside and of course there was no A/C so we were sweating. We had a two and a half hour journey up the mountain to Hogsback with one stop at a supermarket for supplies. When we finally stoped at the supermarket we all kind of just fell out the car rushing for the drinks section of the shop. Our driver said we had fifteen minutes so we all used every second of those fifteen to walk around and buy snacks and drinks ready for the remainder of our drive. Luckily once back on the road I fell asleep and before I knew it we were pulling down the driveway of the backpackers (Away With The Fairies) towards buildings that look like something from lord of the rings. The Amatola Forest in the Hogsback area is often claimed as J. R. R. Tolkien’s (who was born in South Africa) inspiration for The Lord of the Rings, in particular for his fictional forest of Mirkwood.
Once out of the car and in reception we were quickly given a grand tour, dumped our bags on our beds and headed straight to the bar. The bar area was relatively small but there was a great atmosphere, the bar manager Garth was an awesome guy. He was super talkative and got everyone chatting away about different random things, travel mostly. He was originally from South Africa but had worked in England for a few years so us being the only English people we had a lot to talk about. He said he had visited the Peak District a number of times and loved it so that had Rosie talking and he also lived and worked in Newquay for a couple of years so naturally we spoke about Cornwall for a while. The bar served draught beers from a local Hogsback brewery so I had to try them of course. A few beers down we both decided we were hungry and headed out to dinner at a restaurant Garth had recommended. Around a fifteen minute walk and we reached The Lighthouse Pub and Restaurant it didn’t disappoint. We went all out, starters and everything, the food was amazing when we left we kind of waddled out full to the brim. we definitely needed the fifteen minute walk back to let the food go down. We headed back to the bar for a few more drinks before hitting the hay relatively early ready for a big hike the next day. We agreed we would wake up early to get this hike started before it got really hot. So up at eight and straight to the bar area for breakfast. The night before I had already eyed up the breakfast menu behind the bar and knew exactly what I wanted, ‘The Fairy Fry Up’, so there was only Rosie to decide and she ended up going for the same thing. When it arrives there was a huge smile on my face as I looked at a plate full of bacon, eggs, mushrooms, beans, tomatoes and toast, sorted! While that all washed down with a cup of tea we bought two bottles of water and acquired a map and headed off down the forest path to the start of the hike. The hike was to be around four hours long depending on how fast you walk. The majority was through dense over grown forest and a mass of spider webs towards the main attraction (Madonna and Child) a big waterfall. Although we finally set off around 9:30 once on the forest floor at the bottom of the valley it was disgustingly humid. You only had to take one step and sweat would begin to pour off you. Around the two hour forty five mark we reached the waterfall surprisingly Rosie’s boots were straight off and she was paddling in the water pool just below the cliff. We chilled in the shade for almost half an hour before making our way up a steep incline make to the top of the valley and the long road walk back to the backpackers. Once on the road and out of the shade of the trees we realised how hot it actually was. There was zero shade on the road so we had to take repeated water breaks to try and stay hydrated. We realised that the road eventually brought us out just a bit further on from the restaurant we had been to the night before. Luckily for us closer to a small shop where we bought drinks, chocolate, pies and of course an ice cream to cool us down as we made our final walk back to the backpackers. Once back I had to get straight in a cold shower and change I was so hot Rosie did the same and then we headed to the bar.
One very unique thing about the place we stayed was that they had a fully working bath tub on the side of the cliff in a secluded area over looking the valley below. You could book hour long time slots in the bar. I had booked us in for five o’clock so we had a couple drinks and head down for our bath. Unfortunately it had before grey and cloudy and once on the cliffs edge there was a chilly wind but we gave it a good go anyway. You had to create a fire to heat the water which we managed to do and before we knew it the bath was full, bubbles and everything. We took it in turns as the bath wasn’t big enough for the both of us but the cold got the better of us so we took a few cool pictures (check my Instagram for the best one) and decided we were done, dried off and head inside for some food. We just grabbed a pizza from the bar as we had heard everyone talking about them of the night before. I thought the breakfast was good but this pizza was great. Once that was devoured we spent the remainder of the evening with drinks at the bar chatting the night away.
The following day we had a lay in until around ten ish. There wasn’t the same bright sun shining through as the day before and we soon realised that was because there was think fog everywhere. All the windows were open so a lot of our clothes felt damp. It was one of the days where you just wanted to wrap up and lay on the sofa, so that’s exactly what we did. We spent almost all of the day relaxing in the common room watching films and planning future travel like Cambodia and booking flights to America. We grabbed pizza from the bar again in the evening and just chilled all day.
Before we knew it it was our last day in Hogsback. The shuttle was due to leave at 8:30 so we had to get up early if we wanted breakfast. Up, showered and checked out by 7:30 that’s a good effort for us. Straight to the bar for food. We ordered the same as the past two days and kept our fingers crossed it came in time as the chef didn’t start work until eight. Luckily it did we ate and waited outside for the shuttle. We couldn’t believe it when the five people we had been in the shuttle with previous were waiting for it with us. We all immediately knew it was going to be the same sticky journey as before. We had a warm two and a half hour journey back to Cintsa to board the Bas Buz for our three hour journey to Mthatha. Then once in Mthatha we had around a twenty minute wait before our final one hour and half shuttle journey to Coffee Bay for our next few days of excitement.