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The mountain village of Hogsback is about an hour's drive from Grahamstown. The area is a mixture of indigenous forest, plantation and other exotic vegetation (with brambles prominent), montane grassland, rocky peaks, and streams and waterfalls in the valley.



The contour path early in the morning is a good route for forest birds, which may include Knysna Turaco, Olive Woodpecker, Grey Cuckooshrike, Terrestrial Brownbul, Chorister Robin-Chat, Yellow-throated Woodland-Warbler, Olive Bush-Shrike, Dark-backed Weaver and Forest Canary. Mountain Wagtail are found along the streams, while Lemon Dove flush from the paths, seldom providing a good view. Others include Bush Blackcap, Brown Scrub-Robin, White-starred Robin and African Emerald Cuckoo in summer, while Orange Ground-Thrush are seen occasionally. Barratt's Warbler favours the bramble thickets, and may be found in the gardens of some of the hotels. Cape Parrot are now uncommon, only seen flying overhead at dawn and dusk. Above the canopy raptors include Forest Buzzard and African Crowned Eagle.

On the grassy slopes Ground Woodpecker, Cape Grassbird, Cape Longclaw and Yellow Bishop are regular, with Jackal Buzzard and Alpine Swift overhead.

Monkeys in the forest are Samango monkeys, at the southern limit of their range. Bushbuck may forage on the forest floor below a party of monkeys, collecting fruit dislodged by the primates.



To get to Hogsback from Grahamstown, take the Kingwilliamstown road out of town, then turn north onto the R67 to Fort Beaufort. Go through Fort Beaufort and head east to Alice along the R63. Continue through Alice and after 4km turn left onto the R345 to Hogsback. Approaching from Kingwilliamstown, head west on the R63 for 60km and turn right onto the R345 to Hogsback.

At Hogsback there is accommodation in hotels and other guest houses; the forest camp site is no longer operating. Snowfalls may occur in winter. Walking trails are marked with hogs of different colours; a map is available from the shop or at the guest houses. There are also horse trails, primarily for experienced riders.

Hogsback Website or Hogsback Information Website

Adrian Craig 2007.

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