It’s not often that Seth and I drive into a new town and have the same thoughts about it. Either I don’t like it for some reason (too humid, lacking character, not enough vibe) or he doesn’t dig it for some reason (too built up and busy, not enough nature).
Like, for example… Out of all the places that we visited in Italy last year, Rome was my favourite and I’d stay there in a heart beat, but if you ask Seth (which I did, for the purposes of this post – don’t think I don’t put effort in here guys), he said “The place with all the huts”…
I looked at him like huh? We’ve clearly been travelling South Africa for too long, I’m not sure the people in Cinque Terre would like their houses referred to as huts, but there you go.
Totally different places.
But guys, we drove into Hogsback and we knew, we both just KNEW we could make a life there. I could wax lyrical about it. The views that literally blew my mind. We drove up through the Eastern Cape hills in golden hour watching them light up in shades of the rainbow that I don’t even have names for, wound our way up the mountain through trees that were so tall they touched the sky. So green and lush. So tranquil. The town small enough to have enough of the essentials without it being killed by the generic stores and typical spaces you’d find in a million other places in South Africa. It had it’s own, very unique vibe and we were hooked.
We know Cape Town is home for us, but we loved Hogsback so much we looked at property prices to see what we could make happen, and guys… SO much. I suppose that’s just because Cape Town prices for property are just so ridiculous, but that’s a story for another day.
WHERE WE STAYED
We looked at a couple of options for camping sites and this was the first time that we opted to go to a back packers. I think we contacted 3 places in the area, two came back to us and it was only the backpackers that were chill and accommodating enough to be keen to make anything work. I like that. I’ll pay people like that to stay in their space.
Anyway, we set up at Away With The Fairies which is really well know because they have a bath on the edge of a cliff. It’s insane! It makes me feel weak at the knees just standing next to it, nevermind getting into it. But I’m sure you can guess which one of us did have that bath? Yup, Seth couldn’t resist.
On the same day Seth took the girls out for an epic bike ride to check out the 39 Steps Waterfall because Knox was man down with some or other bug. (We have gotten so sick on this trip, or well the kids have, it’s insane. I think we’re currently on a tally of 5 rounds of tummy bugs! Ugh!)
Seth took some rad videos of the time going to the waterfall and then also of his bath. It’s worth a watch just to see how much it really is on the edge of the World!
WHAT WE DID
I heard some seriously mixed reviews on this. Some folks kids had found the sculptures a bit too scary. Others had loved it. So we gave the kids the option and they really wanted to check it out. So we did. They really enjoyed the winding path through the woods, checking out all the sculptures and reading all the signs. They aren’t what some have created fairies to be, you know, like the tooth fairy. They are different to that but not in a bad way, for us, it was just different.
Anyway, the amount of work and effort that the artists puts in to making it an experience is notable. There was an entire cave!! It was great!
MADONNA AND CHILD WATERFALL
One day we decided to take the short hike down to the Madonna and Child Waterfall. It’s easily accessible and well marked from the Away With The Fairies site. The kids were troopers, they walked so well, especially Knox. He did the whole way there on his own. I guess it helped that there was soo much to see (biggest tree, loads of cool things in the forest – we could literally see fairy houses that were there on their own, cow poop – these beats go everywhere!). The only thing is that we kind of misjudged the amount of time it would take us to get there and back. Which meant that it started getting dark on our way home!
An experience I will NEVER forget.
THE EDGE – RESTAURANT, CURIO SHOP AND LABYRINTH
We also spent some time checking out The Edge. I think you can stay there (in some awesome looking spots with incredible views) but we just popped into the restaurant, check the view from the edge, screamed at the sight of the biggest locust we have ever seen, ran around the labyrinth until we had a stitch and couldn’t breathe. Basically it was a freaking great afternoon out!
The rest of the time we spent warming up in the van. Man it was cold. It was our first feel of minus degree weather and we felt it. (Also selling point for Hogsback – IT GETS SNOW!!! Enough said right?!) It must be said though, once Optimus warmed up (using our gas stove as a heater) it was snug in there and we were totally fine. It was just stepping out the van to shower and the like that was difficult.
We met so many interesting people while we meandered through the town. It really did feel like a place we could one day call home. I wonder if that day will ever come?!
DAILY INSTAGRAM POSTS WHILE WE WERE IN HOGSBACK
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Day 35 – Hogsback 1. Is it weird to thoroughly fall in love with a town after one day? There’s just something great about the friendliness of the people, the things to do and the amazing natural surroundings at every stop that just pulls you in. Half way through the day and we were already checking property prices in the area ? 2. Kicked off the morning taking a slow stroll through the town, starting where any good stroll should – The Chocolate Shop 3. After that we headed over to the Butterfly Bistro which is a must every Saturday for the market. Sadly we just caught the tailend of it but still stopped for coffee and milkshakes. The kids couldn’t get over all the butterflies on the grass and I couldn’t get over the shape of the building. We picked up a locally brewed kombucha on our way out 4. The kids really wanted to hit up the fairy garden. We only had R100 cash on us but the artist was gracious enough to let us in anyway. It was fun taking the walk through, I’ve always wanted a fairy garden. We’ve heard from others that some seem scary but we didn’t think so, our kids loved them all 5. We then hopped back into the car and headed for The Edge. Some cool (but CT priced) vintage stores. The food was lekker though 6. We checked out the view point there as well as did a run around the labyrinth. These mountains have such an incredible view it’s just insane! 7. We headed back to Fairies as we had booked a bath. In the forest! Seth and Knox were going to enjoy it but there was an issue with the plumbing that will hopefully be resolved before we leave 8. The girls and I used the chance to try and sketch the view. We didn’t do it even the slightest bit of justice! 9. Bumped into two people that follow along on our journey and it was so cool to connect, even though it blows my mind that we’d run into these people on the top of a mountain! I mean, what are the chances?! The one family even bought us a bottle of Muscadel to keep us warm which was really generous – thank you again!! 10. Over all we had a great, but busy day. My way of dealing is snuggling up with a good book. Seth is sitting outside looking at the stars. I can’t bring myself to join him – far too cold
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Day 36 – Hogsback 1. We had a late start to the morning which was great because on flipping cold mornings all you really want to do is stay in bed as long as possible. 2. While Seth rode his bike to the shop for supplies, we rode bikes at the camp site. The kids were stoked that I rode their bikes and remembered how haha. Knox is also back to riding again after his face smash, which is great! 3. Even though we had a late start we decided to head to Madonna and Child. At 2pm. The walk was great, really scenic and just beautiful. We past the Big Tree which really is the Faraway Tree, I’m sure of it. The waterfall is also worth the walk! 4. We stopped at the bottom for some lunch which Seth cooked for us on our little gas thingy. 5. By the time we wrapped up lunch, the clouds were rolling in and with it the rain and darkness. I’m not going to lie. I knew how long it took us to get there… I didn’t think the kids would maintain the gusto to get back. Being stuck in the forest in the dark was not my idea of fun. 6. We missioned back and yoh, it was getting dark quickly. Luckily there’s nothing (that I know of) in the forest to be scared of, so we just kept going. Riya at one point had a full meltdown but we rallied. We did get a bit of a kick in the pants when we heard the first (and only) crack of thunder though. It freaked the kids out enough to move it. 7. We got back and had some warm food and hot chocolate while watching Bear Grylls. Because after what we did today, it was like watching ourselves. Aside from eating the grasshoppers and snakes. 8. I’m so proud of the kids – we did 12km and they hardly complained. Our bodies are defs going to feel it tomorrow. 9. I tried to take a picture of how beautiful the leaves are, how varied in colour, but this doesn’t do it justice. Like, at all. 10. After our fun day, we had one of those evenings where everything went wrong. About a dozen eggs fell onto Knox’s bed, then just after cleaning that up, the chocolatey hot water fell onto his mattress! It was Hella frustrating but one day we’ll laugh at it. When we are back in the hot summer weather and things dry with ease. So like, not for another couple months.
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Day 37 – Hogsback 1. Decided that it’s so lovely here (despite the bone chilling cold) that we’re going to stay another night. Our next few weeks of stops are all coastal so we’re soaking up the foresty mountain goodness of Hogsback for another day. 2. Last night was a bit rough, Knox woke up at 2pm freaking out about a blocked nose and being scared. Ended up bringing him into our bed for a bit so we could sleep. I do miss these snuggles but I don’t miss him punching my in the face in his dreams. ? But look at that face man. I just can’t with this face 3. Kyla decided that she was in charge of all meals today. Started out with smoothies and then for supper was pasta with braaied chicken. Obviously. Because any chance to make pasta right?! 4. I can get behind the kids making food thing, so we’re giving them each a day to choose everything. But need to do a grocery shop first as there’s some special requests. 5. We debuted our smak talk when we play Uno. I’m sad that Knox didn’t fully unleash himself. He has the funniest little quips that keep me giggling for ages. 6. Seth removed the very, super annoying curtain and put it at a much better height to block light from the front windows. Still working on our bell curtains though, but so far so good. There is sufficient, undetected action (those folks who read the blog will get that one ?) 7. Weirdly still able to picture myself living here. Thought it would sorta fade as we enjoyed it or got cold but it hasn’t at all. It’s such a rad area and we didn’t even leave our van today (work and school got in the way) 8. My body is sore from our hike yesterday and I think the kids were feeling it too. They begged to not go for a hike again today haha
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Day 38 – Hogsback 1. Is that gorilla’s in the mist or Cindy in the smoke? It was a glorious -3° at some points today with a real feel at -2°. Translation – it was flipping cold bra. I am basically wearing every piece of warm clothing I own in this picture but still sporting jeans with holes in them because for some bizarre reason, I don’t have any pants without holes. ?? 2. Knox woke up this morning with another tummy bug – the second on this trip so far. Poor dude woke up to puke then slept again till 4pm. He couldn’t believe it when he finally woke up and we said it was almost supper time. His reaction -> ? 3. The girls and @moderndaddiy (for those new to our set up here, this is my husband Seth, he takes a lot of funny Instagram stories) went to the 39 Steps waterfall on their bikes while Knox and I stayed at the van. Knox slept and I worked while I simultaneously lost some toes due to frostbite. 4. Riya was in charge of food today so we had smoothies for breakfast and then wraps for supper. The wraps had carrots, lettuce, boerewors and braaied potatoes in them and it was actually good! Dessert was “deconstructed apple with chocolate sauce and a dusting of Milo” (Ga, you’ll be happy to know we aren’t completely depriving them ?) 5. Knox perked up completely when he’d woken up from his nap, which is great because we move locations tomorrow. Having a vomity kid in a van is bad enough, but having a vomity kid in a moving van is worse! 6. I already have a business idea of what we’ll do when we one day move to Hogsback. I’m still sold on this little town in case you’re wondering. 7. Did a little bit of updating to our table map this evening while the kids were going to sleep. It’s coming together nicely. But knowing our lucky, will smudge like a chop when we next wipe down the table. 8. Tomorrow we head out to just outside East London. Excited to get back to the warmer coastal towns but sad to say goodbye to Hogsback. 9. We have two vlogs that have finally been uploaded on our YouTube channel, if that’s your thing. Link in my Instagram bio. You’ll see things like how we convert our bed for sleeping and what we do on a rainy day. That kinda thing.