Various walks in the State Forest and Auckland Nature Reserve, ranging in length from 3 km to 20 km, can be done. Permits for the walks can be obtained from the Government Forester at the Hogsback Plantation. There are various publications and maps detailing the area that can be obtained in town.
Attractions include indigenous forest and waterfalls, birdlife and monkeys, wild berries, rock-climbing and tranquil atmosphere.
There are 'piggy walks', 'blue crane walks', peaks to climb and historic sites and waterfalls to visit. The keen hiker can happily combine many short walks into an all-day excursion.
The dense, indigenous evergreen forest, with its primeval atmosphere, is rich in yellowwood, white stinkwood, knobwood, white ironwood, underbush, sneezewood and Cape chestnut. The call of the Knysna lourie and the chattering of the samango monkey echo through the valleys and moist slopes below the Hogsback plateau.
Almost everyone is keen to climb Tor Doon (1 565 m), a minor summit overlooking the forest station, where a panoramic view of Hogsback and its environs unfolds. Below the peak stands a plaque and traces of the earth embankment of Fort Michell, bearing testimony to the border clashes during the 1800s.
Popular hiking peaks include Elandsberg (2 017 m) and the famous Hogsbacks (1 836 m, 1 824 m and 1 937 m). These peaks are responsible for this area's name. The three ridged summits suggest the bristly-backed wild hogs (pigs) which roam the local forests at night.
A 32 km circular trail takes 2 days to complete with a limit of 18 hikers. The trail begins at the Hogsback Forest Station and leads through indigenous forest past the Kettle Spout. On the afternoon of Day 1 the trail traverses the Hogsback mountains in pine plantation; hikers can overnight in the hut at Gaika's Kop. A shorter 'escape route' can be used in an emergency such as bad weather.
The second day leads back to the forest station via the mountains above Cathcart.
The first day's hike covers a distance of 19 km and takes approximately 8 hours; it is not overly taxing but due to the distance a medium level of fitness is required. The easier second day's route covers a distance of 13 km and takes approximately 4 hours.
Hiking on the Hogsback grassland plateau and peaks affords far-reaching views, sightings of jackal buzzard, and also a chance to see the Cape rock hyrax (dassie). The wild flowers in season are exquisite, especially the dainty harebells. Between December and February the ubiquitous Rubus bramble bears its inexhaustible supply of tasty sweet blackberries.
Visitors Information Centre
Situated on the Main road.
Monday - Saturday: 10:00am - 16:00pm
Sunday: 09:00am - 15:00pm
Telephone: +27 45 962 1245 (office hours only)