Discover the South African village that inspired The Hobbit

discoverafrica 12 December 2017
Part of the South Africa Safari Collection
Back to the Our Blog

“As their eyes became used to the dimness they could see a little way to either side in a sort of darkened green glimmer. Occasionally a slender beam of sun that had the luck to slip in through some opening in the leaves far above, and still more luck in not being caught in the tangled boughs and matted twigs beneath, stabbed down thin and bright before them. But this was seldom, and it soon ceased altogether.” J.R.R. Tolkien

J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and subsequent Lord of the Rings epic trilogy is considered by many critics to be one of the best fantasy novels ever written. Bilbo Baggins, Frodo, the wizard Gandalf and Samwise Gamgee all have a place in our hearts, along with the elves, the dwarves and even the sons of Men. It was the sheer number of well developed characters and strong landscapes that makes The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings appear so vividly in our imaginations.

What most people do not know is that locations in the books were inspired by a real place. Yes, there is somewhere as magical and breathtaking as The Shire and as deep and leafy as Mirkwood Forest. This place is known as Hogsback and is located in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa.

What is it about Hogsback that inspired Tolkien?

Tolkien was born in the South African town of Bloemfontein to British parents. Although he lived most of his life in England, his time in South Africa was a formative experience where he took inspiration for many of his fictional landscapes. Almost a century later, Hogsback still retains most of its magical feeling.

This hidden gem rests on a peak in a mountainous region at the center of the Eastern Cape. As far as natural resources are concerned, Hogsback is gifted with everything from breathtaking waterfalls to woodlands and grassy plains. The Amatola Forest, with its majestic towering trees, thick undergrowth and wide variety of flora and fauna, it’s not hard to see why Tolkien fell in love with the region.

What you can do here

There are plenty of craft centres and galleries in Hogsback that could easily be mistaken for the set of Lord of the Rings | Credit: thepessimiss.com

Today, Hogsback is thriving as a tourist hub, although it still retains its authentic and rustic charm. In addition to the allure of visiting a place just like The Hobbit’s Middle Earth, there is a lot for visitors to see and do. Below is a list of activities you can look forward to should you decide to visit:

- Hikes on the Hogsback and surrounding peaks

- Nature trails through the Amatola Forest and other very scenic routes

- Breathtaking views of surrounding plains, mountain ranges and grasslands

- A tour of the Hogsback eco-shrine

- The majestic 39 Steps Waterfall

Plan a visit

With the rich culture, great weather and amazing environment to look forward to, it goes without saying that Hogsback, South Africa should be on your travel bucket list, Lord of the Rings fan or not. This quaint corner of the world is a very inexpensive destination for your bespoke safari and who knows, perhaps you’ll end up writing your own epic fantasy.  

It’s easy to see why Hogsback should be your next destination


Some related info

Family friendly hotels in the Cape’s Route 62

Travelling with children may not always be easy, but there are many occasions when sharing the memories with your family is the only way to travel. Here are four of the top child-friendly hotels on the Cape Route 62. Robertson Small Hotel     Sometimes all you need is a porch to sit on. #therobertsonsmallhotel #stayatthesmall #thesmallthings A post shared by The Robertson Small…

South Africa’s third largest twitch - the Temminck’s Stint

Written by Neil Ebedes On the 26th November last year a very special find was made at one of South Africa’s most popular birding areas – Strandfontein sewage works in Cape Town  –  a Temminck’s Stint! The Temminck’s Stint. Image by Neil Ebedes. This was only the seventh time it has been located in Southern Africa and the third in South Africa. Very rare indeed, with breeding ranges…

Surprising Eats: Three unusual bushveld foods

Stinkbugs, worms, and termites are good examples of things that most human beings wouldn’t tolerate inside their kitchen, let alone on their plates. However, the African bushveld is home to plenty of protein-rich foods that have enabled our ancestors to survive during tough times. Africa can be unrelenting in its landscape, changeable weather patterns and often hostile ecosystems. The…

Who are the Eastern Bank male lions?

Kruger National Park is the largest park in South Africa. At 20 000 square kilometres, the park is dedicated to giving South Africa’s wildlife a save refuge from the pressures of urbanisation. The park is famous the world over, seeing 950 000 visitors a year; most of which are South Africans who consider the Kruger National Park to be their safari destination of choice. If you’re going…

Lodge Review | Lion Sands Tinga Lodge

Lion Sands Tinga Lodge forms part of the world renowned private reserve of Sabi Sands in the south of Kruger National Park, which means first-class luxury, excellent wildlife experiences and sublime views over the Sabie River from a private balcony. If you’re looking for a luxury South Africa safari experience, you’ve come to the right place. Modelled on an old frontier-style feel,…

Durban tourist attractions: KwaZulu-Natal without a budget

Finally got your ducks in a row? It's time to dust off those travelling shoes and discover a beautiful part of South Africa's, KwaZulu-Natal (KZN). Durban, the largest city in KZN, not only boasts some of the most prime beaches in the world, it is also brimming with exciting activities. Here are five tourist attractions in Durban you have to consider when money is not a problem. Top 5…

You Might Also Like

 | Kruger to the Mozambican coast

Kruger to the Mozambican coast

Combining the bush and the wildlife found in the famous Sabi Sand in the Kruger National Park with a tropical stay in one of the sublime lodges of Mozambique's Ponta Mamoli...

 | Luxury South Africa to Zimbabwe safari

Luxury South Africa to Zimbabwe safari

Spot the Big Five in Thornybush Private Game Reserve and enjoy the majesty of Zimbabwe's roaring Victoria Falls ...

 | Blissful 4-day Kruger Safari

Blissful 4-day Kruger Safari

Experience luxury in the Kruger Park ...

 | Luxury Cape Town and Kruger Safari

Luxury Cape Town and Kruger Safari

Explore two of South Africa's most desirable locations in this whirlwind safari tour...