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  • Writer's pictureClare Travis

Peaceful New Year at The Edge

Part 6: Summer Holiday '23/'24

Another favourite place, maybe even our most favourite, is Hogsback. This was a bit of a longer drive, as the roads are not good. Google Maps says 8 hours, but that is if you are a speeding taxi, for us it was over 9 hours. The roads are not good and there is nowhere to stop, I have made a mental note not to travel this road again, rather pop another stop in-between. Anyway, we arrived safely and we know the place, so didn't need to explore before dark. This was our 5th stay in Hogsback and our 4th at The Edge. Since I had booked late they only had one self-catering room for our dates, which included New Year's eve. We don't celebrate, so this is the perfect place to stay with it's peace and quiet. We were in Pin-Oak cottage, which is next to The Cabin that we stayed in last year. It is a bit larger and therefore more pricey, but really lovely. You drive through a little gate in a hedge to the cottage and it is surrounded by lovely old trees and beautiful gardens. The only sounds are the birds and bugs, just heavenly. The cottage is a big single room with a double bed and bunk beds. There is also a lounge area with couches and a fireplace. The kitchen is open plan and fully equipped with a full fridge, small stove and microwave. The braai area is just outside the kitchen door and under cover. There is a large bathroom with a shower. The place has recently been renovated, but not perfectly once you look at the finishes, which is sad. It was wonderful to have so much space after the last cottage. The Edge has lots of cottages and they are all very far apart from each other, so you don't notice your neighbours. It is very dog friendly, but no fences, dogs must be trained to stay with you. Most of the cottages seemed to have dogs in them, who you only heard if they were left behind while mum went on an outing. We had a visit from a really ancient jacky who we think can from next door and just wanted some love and to make new friends. He chilled with us for quite a while before wobbling on home.

The grounds are huge and you can walk around in the beautiful gardens, visit the labyrinth or the cliff walk. They have just cleared a new path which seems to be linked to the park run, which you can join on Saturdays. They also had a New Years morning run. All with beautiful views and you will definitely hear and see the Cape Parrot, which is part of a restoration project in the area. On Saturdays there is a market at the edge, with lots of local produce and all sorts of nice things, including doggy treats from the butcher. The Edge has a great restaurant, which we ate dinner at one night, with the dogs, and they also make fantastic ciabatta breads in the mornings.

Even though you could just spend all your time at the Edge, you shouldn't, there are so many other things to do. It is a short drive into town, or you could walk. There are a few other restaurants, all of which seem to be dog friendly. Worth a visit is the amazing chocolate shop. In all our travels these are still the best we have found in the country. You also have to grab a beer at the local brewery, they have a few different yummy ones and you can do a tasting before you choose. They have a great outside seating area where doggies can play. We took a stroll down one of the side roads and discovered another lovely spot called Away with the Fairies, which also had a little restaurant and pub. Dash made a good friend with a doggy there and was exhausted for our walk home. This place has a great view spot of the Swallowtail Falls and the hogs.

Now to work up the appetite there are loads of trails to explore. You can get a map at a few spots in town or you can just make your own trail if you use Garmin and a gps device, as they are well used and easy to follow. Luckily it wasn't as wet and slippery as last year. We obviously did a trip up Tor Doone for the views. We didn't go down through the brambles though, rather did an out and back route. We also discovered that there was a new route mapped out on one of the Hogs. The hogs routes are normally only part of the Amatole trail that you have to do as a group booking, but the locals were getting fed up with the plantation and the map guy had gone and made a map for anyone. To get to the trail you need to drive into the planation, where the 4x4 routes are, though the signs for these have not been upkept, so I don't know if the 4x4 routes are still doable. We tried to find out at the logging station, but the girl knew nothing about it or any of the trails. The start is pretty easy to find, as long as you keep your eyes open for the yellow footprints. Then you follow the only trail up the hogs back and around the other side. It was pretty misty our whole way up and a great long climb, which is the part I like best. Then you scramble over at the one end of the hogs spikes, dogs might need help here, and walk along the other side and then down. We had a bit of clearer weather on the other side and could look down the slope at the masses of red watsonias, and the views towards the town. It was so beautiful and I am so happy to finally have been able to get up there. If you are keen on hiking or trail running this route is a must, not the easiest for some, but well worth the views even if they are short lived between the clouds. You can also add it on to other routes to make it much longer, we will do this next time, now that my hip is under control.

Every time we go to Hogsback I feel like I need to go there again and would love to be able to spend a whole week exploring. The Pin-Oak cottage was on the higher side of our budget at R1000 a night, but the space and surroundings is worth it. They do charge a once off doggy cleaning fee of R200 per dog. We will definitely be back, we haven't stayed in all the Edge's cottages yet!

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