St Patrick-on-the-hill

Landmarks / Religious in or near Hogsback, Amatola in the Eastern Cape, South Africa.

Eastern Cape Tourist AttractionsSt Patrick-on-the-hill

Where? St Patrick-on-the-hill, Hogsback, Eastern Cape

Overnight? Accommodation in Hogsback, in Eastern Cape

Donít make the mistake of driving past and not stopping. This beautiful stone, wood and thatch chapel has been voted one of the top 10 most beautiful places to visit in South Africa, and weíre not surprised.

The interdenominational church (although officially part of the Anglican Diocese of Grahamstown) is always open, has a vibrant attendance, and doubles as a wedding venue. The resident priest is a woman, as was the priest before her.

The chapel has had an interesting history and most recently, in 2010, celebrated its Jubilee of 75 years with a new wall of remembrance only to have a fire break out, due to an electrical fault, that desecrated the chapel but a week later.

The community immediately raised the money to rebuild fairly quickly, followed by a dedication service in March 2011.

The newer version consists of two interconnected rondavels, its walls organically curved, and its roof a beautiful thatch. Next to it, on the lawn, is a stone arch in which stands a brass bell, a memorial for the Reverend Doctor Bride Dixon, the first woman priest in South Africa, who was also doctor to Hogsback for many years.

Whilst you are there walk the Prayer Trail through the gardens. The idea is to pause at each of the seats or stations and to meditate and reflect on the meaning of adoration, confession, thanksgiving and supplication. The sculptures, from the remains of the previous church, and views are incredible.

And the church has a library from which you can borrow books, returning them once you have finished.

Getting there: drive through Hogsback past the Arminel Hotel beyond the tar road onto various grades of dirt road (you will manage without a 4x4) until you see a sign for the church. You will find it on the hill on your left.

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