About Hogsback Pass

High in the mountains, north of the Eastern Cape town of Alice, is the little fairytale town of Hogsback named such, or so the theory goes, for the three peaks of the village that when sighted from a certain angle look just like the back of a hog.

Did you know? As one reaches Hogsback, towards the top of the pass, one leaves behind the lush vegetation of canopied trees just before the road bends sharply, gently leading into the outskirts of the village.

The only way to reach Hogsback, 30 km from Alice, is to drive the tarred Hogsback Pass on the R345 between Alice and Cathcart. The other route to Cathcart is the more popular, and less taxing, R67 via Fort Beaufort and Seymour. Other unpaved byways and roads in the vicinity of Hogsback Pass are considered dangerous.

The climb into the Amatolas is steep and, as a result, often under snow during winter. Additionally the climb heads through forests and is often misty, wet and rainy. The picture is one of a tree-shrouded village, Tor Doone looming overhead, cottages available for hire, and hiking and MTB trails popular with those prepared to brave the pass to get there.

That said the pass is not a difficult drive - bar the odd deep pothole (so you will need to be on the lookout) - all things being equal (i.e. when it isn’t snowing) you can make it in an ordinary sedan. You might just want to take care once in Hogsback when navigating the roads, as they are neglected by local council and some of them are incredibly steep and potholed (it may simply mean coming at a particular destination from the opposite direction).

Hogsback Pass starts about 25 km north of Alice. Most of the pass has a 60 kph speed limit and for good reason as, particularly when driving the middle portion of the pass, there are a myriad bends and curves that taken fast would cause an accident. There is also little opportunity to overtake should you find yourself stuck behind slow traffic.

Need to Know

WhereHogsback Pass, R345 between Alice and Cathcart, Amatole Region, Eastern Cape, South Africa

WhenBest during daylight hours.

OvernightStay in Hogsback Accommodation, Eastern Cape

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