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Across the face of southern Africa are more than 460 remarkable stone palaces, once the abodes of kings. Some are small, others ramble, but many are absolutely astonishing: all are the legacy of kingdoms past.
Palaces of Stone brings to life the story of these early African societies, from AD 900 to approximately 1850. Some, such as Great Zimbabwe and Khami in Zimbabwe and Mapungubwe in South Africa, are famous world heritage sites, but the majority are unknown to the general public, unsung and unappreciated. Yet, the stone ruins that have survived tell a common story of innovative architecture and intricate stonework; flourishing local economies; long-distance travel; global trade; and emerging forms of political organisation.
By exploring a selection of known and unknown sites, Palaces of Stone reimagines the apparently empty spaces bequeathed to us by history, an Africa of places that once hummed with life. All that remains now are the ruins – a bedrock from which to unravel the past and understand the present.
The Karoo is big sky country; a land of vast plains punctuated by flat-topped mountains, conical hills and secluded valleys, a land of scrubby bushes and hardy trees, where pioneers carved roads out of rock to set down roots in an unforgiving environment.
Here dreams are born, legends are made, and outcasts find sanctuary. It is also an ancient place, whose story is revealed through geology, fossils and artefacts, and whose human lineage predates any written history. Today, the people who inhabit it must manifest the same fortitude that sustained those who left their footprints in the primieval mud.
In Hidden Karoo you will find all this, and more. Through a series of superb photo-essays, this majestic place is revealed as a land where conservation and neglect are seldom far apart, where one town boasts splendidly restored buildings, while along a dusty road lie forgotten villages waiting for... something. Could it be a renewal, or a slow death? There’s nothing novel about the movement of people from country to city, and the Karoo mimics other parts of the world where rural areas become derelict as they are depopulated.
Hidden Karoo presents a snapshot of the region, offering a glimpse into towns and villages, farms and churches, public buildings and private homes, all against a backdrop of awe-inspiring landscapes. Through words and pictures, it prompts us to consider what was, what is and, perhaps, what might be. One constant about the Karoo is change. A book can do no more than capture a moment in time or depict fragments of a place, but in doing so, it bears witness to the past and offers the hope that there may yet be a future for this unparalleled part of our country.
Situated at the tip of an ancient and intriguing continent, South Africa is a land of many contrasts and infinite natural beauty. This new and lavishly illustrated edition of South Africa Landscapes captures in 150 full-colour photographs the sweeping vistas, superb wildlife and breathtaking scenery that makes this country unique.
From the mountains, winelands and beaches of Cape Town in the south to the famous wildlife sanctuary of the Kruger National Park in the north; from the craggy Cederberg and the celebrated wildflower displays of Namaqualand to the mountainous desert of the Richtersveld and the aloe-studded Little Karoo; from the pristine dunes along the KwaZulu-Natal coast and the awe-inspiring Drakensberg, South Africa Landscapes vividly portrays the vibrancy and the splendour of this fascinating land.
Safari Nation opens new lines of inquiry into the study of national parks in Africa and the rest of the world.
The Kruger National Park is South Africa’s most iconic nature reserve, renowned for its rich flora and fauna. According to Dlamini, there is another side to the park, a social history neglected by scholars and popular writers alike in which blacks (meaning Africans, coloureds and Indians) occupy centre stage. Safari Nation details the ways in which black people devoted energies to conservation and to the park over the course of the twentieth century – an engagement that transcends the stock (black) figure of the labourer and the poacher.
By exploring the complex and dynamic ways in which blacks of varying class, racial, religious and social backgrounds related to the Kruger National Park, and with the help of previously unseen archival photographs, Dlamini’s narrative also sheds new light on how and why Africa’s national parks – often derided by scholars as colonial impositions – survived the end of white rule on the continent. Relying on oral histories, photographs and archival research, Safari Nation engages both with African historiography and with ongoing debates about the ‘land question’, democracy and citizenship in South Africa.
Dr Joan Louwrens was always drawn to wild places, which were balm to her soul. When her husband died, leaving her alone with two small daughters to raise, she threw herself wholeheartedly into ‘adventure medicine’, seeking out the world’s most remote corners – on land and at sea – to practise her healing, both her own and others.
Working in wild places from the Kruger Park to the Australian Outback, the Atlantic Ocean islands, and both the south and north poles, ‘Doctor Joan’ dealt with a vast range of medical issues, from rabies to deep-vein thrombosis, childbirth to wisdom-tooth extraction, catatonia to depression.
Showing an eagerness to learn and a humility that isn’t always a given in her profession, and with a wry eye and a sympathetic outlook, Joan Louwrens has written a memoir that’s a poignant and often funny story of a life lived to the full
Epic Land is a celebration in pictures and words of the arresting beauty of the landscapes of Namibia and of the centrality of land in the culture, history, politics and daily lives of its people. The book seeks to uncover the rare essence that marks the landscape of Namibia apart from all others.
Few countries in the world are richer than Namibia in its canvas of natural beauty. The landscape is one of rich and often harsh contrast with many changing moods. A journey through its landscape is infinitely rewarding. Within this book this progression is depicted. The dramatic scenery of remote deserts, mountains, mystical trees and stormy shores are the equal of any.
Through her captivating photographs and absorbing text, Amy Schoeman shares with the reader the strange beauties of her life’s passion. The superb photographs capture the life of the desert, its forms and colours, and the moods of its ever-changing landscapes.
Leon Nell’s sixth book to explore another captivating part of South
Africa reveals a bounty of treasures that give the West Coast, or
Weskus as locals call it, its particular allure.
Framed by the Atlantic in the west and the winding N7 highway in the east, the West Coast is a place of varied landscapes and vast contrasts: from moody and at times tempestuous seas and windswept beaches, to verdant vineyards and kaleidoscopic swathes of wildflowers in spring. Wild yet tranquil, playful yet contemplative, dramatic yet understated – its eclectic offering beckons residents and travellers alike.
After exploring more than twenty other African nations using only public transport, Sihle Khumalo this time roams within the borders of his own country. The familiarity of his own car is a luxury, but what he finds on his journey through South Africa ranges from the puzzling to the downright bizarre.
Voyaging from the northernmost part of South Africa right to the south, the author noses his car down freeways and back roads into small towns, townships, and villages, some of which you’ll have trouble finding on a map.
But this is no clichéd description of beautiful landscapes and blue skies. Khumalo is out to investigate the state of the nation, from its highest successes to its most depressing failures. Whether or not he’s baffled, surprised, or sometimes plain angry, Sihle Khumalo will always find warmth in his fellow South Africans: security guards, religious visionaries, drunks, political activists and the many other colourful personalities that come alive in his riveting account.
Four years. Seven continents. An unprecedented quest to document and preserve our last remaining wild lands.
In more than 200 striking images, acclaimed South African photographers Peter and Beverly Pickford have created an epic, unparalleled portrait of some of our planet’s most untouched places: from the heat-beaten country of Namibia’s Skeleton Coast to Alaska and the Yukon’s abundance of water, in ocean, river and lake; from the subantarctic islands’ wind-tossed shores in the south to the Arctic’s immense expanses of cracked pancake ice in the north; and the dazzling juxtaposition of desert and water in Australia’s Kimberley to the remote, frozen peaks of Tibet and Patagonia. Within these extreme landscapes, Beverly and Peter’s images illuminate and celebrate myriad forms of life: polar bears, rhinoceroses and bharal, as well as the humble lichen, are all evocatively pictured within the landscapes upon which they depend. This is a wildlife book like no other, its images aching with what words struggle to describe: the resonance of wilderness in our inner being, the power of land to transform our emotion, and our ability to transcend the immediate to become sublime.
Wild Land’s stunning images are accompanied by a fascinating text in which Peter not only vividly describes the photographers’ adventures in pursuit of wild land, but also delivers a timely message that highlights the urgent need for these lands to be preserved for the future of the planet – a future on which humankind’s very survival is dependent.
In May 2015 Weg/Go journalist Erns Grundling was disillusioned with love, life and himself. Then he decided to embark on a life-changing journey, undertaking a solo walk along the Camino, the famous Spanish pilgrimage – despite being illprepared, overweight, unfit and nursing an injury.
Walk it Off recounts Erns’s 1 025 kilometre journey, completed in 40 days without cell phone, camera or watch, so that he could rediscover what it means to truly live in the moment.
He falls in love (three and a half times), meets a fellow pilgrim who’s his doppelganger, experiences numerous adventures and comes across a series of colourful characters. In the process he sheds 10 kilograms and undergoes an inner transformation.
Walk it Off is something out of the ordinary – a travelogue and memoir, and a life-affirming adventure story that will inspire readers to put on their walking shoes and dare to venture where they haven’t gone before.
After centuries of relative isolation, the Karoo – South Africa’s parched heartland – is a latecomer to the tourist industry. What was once viewed as a harsh and desolate place of limited attraction is rapidly gaining popularity with visitors who now make the Karoo their destination, keen to partake of its legendary charm, its extraordinary flora and the resurgence of wildlife that once again populates its plains.
Wild Karoo documents Mitch Reardon’s 4,000-kilometre journey of discovery through the region. The book focuses on:
Beautifully written, and illustrated with evocative photographs, this book is a must read for anyone interested in travel, wildlife and the environment.
This guidebook presents 75 day walks of 1km to 26km in South Africa's Maloti-Drakensberg Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Located in KwaZulu Natal and easily accessible from Johannesburg, Harrismith, Pietermaritzburg and Durban, the region boasts dramatic cliffs, gorges and waterfalls, abundant wildlife and 2,000 year old rock paintings.
The walks in this book can be undertaken at any time of year. The limitations imposed by adverse weather conditions can occur in any month. However, snow is most common in June and July and there are frequent and sometimes severe thunderstorms in summer. The key centres for the walks are the entrances to the individual areas of the Park and usually have nearby accommodation of all types. They include the Royal Natal National Park, Cathedral Peak, Monk's Cowl, Injisuthi, Giant's Castle, Highmoor, Kamberg, Lotheni, the Himeville and Underberg districts, plus Bushman's Nek.
Kirstenbosch is a name that resonates round the world as the home of a uniquely rich flora in a setting of unsurpassed beauty, and in 2013 Kirstenbosch celebrates its 100th anniversary. This centenary publication tells the story of its establishment, its setbacks and triumphs, its benefactors and heros. It outlines the Garden's scientific eminence – as the repository of knowledge on our prized flora – and details the many attractions that make it a favourite destination for Capetonians and visitors alike.
With a finely crafted text by acclaimed ecologist Brian Huntley, and lavishly illustrated with photographs and artworks that tell the history and reflect the beauty of the Garden, this will be a sought-after volume – a quality memento for visitors to Kirstenbosch and a keepsake for the many thousands of locals who flock there annually. Beautifully presented in a colourful dustjacket, this book will be a tasteful, all-occasions gift, and one to cherish.
This guide offers spectacular and diverse diving in South Africa and Mozambique.
Dive with sharks, squid and sardines, exploring cold-water kelp forests, pristine tropical reefs and poignant shipwrecks. This guide features 180 of the best dives, with first-hand descriptions and site maps. Key dive information and contact details and a comprehensive marine species identification guide.
Book chapters include
This guide will give you the information you need to be a responsible diver. Learn to care for the marine environment as well diving culture and gear you would need. This book is a must-have for any diving enthusiast.
Situated between the Hottentots Holland Mountains and the Breede River, the Overberg is an important agricultural region and a popular holiday destination for tourists and nature lovers who delight in the beauty of its mountainous landscape, abundant plant species and long sandy beaches.
But this area also has a rich history going back thousands of years, when the indigenous Khoi people originally thrived there, before the first European settlers arrived to leave their own indelible imprint on the culture, architecture and character of the region. This book provides a detailed account of this past by pointing out the many places, buildings, events and personalities that have made the Overberg the diverse and unique place that it is today.
The Overberg has been a home or point of interest for explorers, innovators, artists and writers, for figures as varied as Bartholomew Diaz, Olof Bergh, Hendrik Verwoerd, Gregoire Boonzaier, Audrey Blignault and Breyten Breytenbach. Some of South Africa’s oldest towns, houses and missionary stations can be found here, and its treacherous coastline has been the cause of hundreds of shipwrecks for centuries.
Enlivened by historical and current photographs and informative side panels, this book is a collector’s item.
Jonathan Jansen is the former Vice Chancellor of the University of the Free State, with a formidable reputation for transformation and for a deep commitment to reconciliation in communities living with the heritage of apartheid. In this, Jansen’s most personal and intimate book to date, South Africa’s beloved professor contemplates the stereotypes and stigma so readily applied to Cape Flats mothers as bawdy, lusty and gap-toothed – and offers this endearing antidote as a praise song to mothers everywhere who raise families and build communities in difficult places.
As a young man, Jansen questioned how mothers managed to raise children in trying circumstances – and then realised that the answer was right in front of him in the form of Sarah Jansen, his own mother. Tracing her early life in Montagu and the consequences of apartheid’s forced removals, Jansen unpacks how strong women managed to not only keep families together, but raise them with integrity.
With his trademark delicacy, humour and frankness, Jansen follows his mother’s life story as a young nurse and mother to five children, and shows how mothers dealt with their pasts, organised their homes, made sense of politics, managed affection, communicated core values – how they led their lives. As a balance to his own recollections, Jansen has called on his sister, Naomi, to offer her own insights and memories, adding special value to this touching personal memoir.
In the spring of 2015, Mark Beaumont set out from the bustling heart of Cairo on his latest world record attempt - solo, the length of Africa, intending to ride to Cape Town in under 50 days. Seven years since he smashed the world record for cycling round the world, this would be his toughest trip yet. And he would set a new mark that would simply break the limits of endurance.
Despite illness, mechanical faults, attempted robbery and stone-throwing children, as well as dehydration in the deserts and unprecedented levels of exhaustion, Mark completed the journey in just 41 days, 10 hours and 22 minutes, after cycling 6,762 miles, spending 439 hours in the saddle (sometimes up to 16 hours a day) and climbing 190,355 feet through 8 countries. It was an astonishing journey, and one that will fascinate and grip the reader.
From the obvious dangers of Egypt, Sudan and Kenya, over the unpaved, muddy, mountainous roads of Ethiopia, through the beautiful grasslands of Tanzania and Zambia, to riding at night in Botswana in the company of elephants and giraffes, Mark brings Africa to life in all its complex glory, friendship and curiosity, while inspiring us all to question the bounds of what is possible.
Join the world’s biggest bike race on its 40-year journey from the Argus Tour to the Cape Town Cycle Tour.
312 pages with over 1000 iconic images, astonishing facts, all the winners, personal memories and the in-depth tale of each of the 39 tours to date.
Each year, from 1978, is featured as a separate chapter with:
This stunning depiction of geology in Namibia combines searingly beautiful photography with clear explanations of how the varied landscapes formed.
Arranged chronologically (starting 13.8 billion years ago), the chapters each deal with a particular event or process that has resulted in the formation under discussion. These include the early beginnings of the Earth, meteorites, canyons and limestone caves, vast desert landscapes, moonscapes and bizarrely-shaped rocks, and Namibia’s astonishing underwater lakes and reservoirs.
Picture-driven, with accessible text, this book features all the highlights of Namibian landscapes and landforms. A treat for travellers real and virtual – those on the road as well as those in armchairs.
Told with the immediacy of a diary, which is where the book began, Patrick takes us on a journey to the highest mountain in the world, where one of the greatest tragedies in climbing history was about to unfold. Filled with photographs and sketches from his notebooks we become part of the Radio 702 team sent to cover the South African Everest Expedition of 1996. It would turn out to be the deadliest climbing seasons in the peak’s history.
Twenty years later the controversy around what truly happened on the mountain continues to rage. Conroy kept a meticulous diary and recorded many hours of radio communications between the climbers. Now, two decades later, his memoirs reveal a remarkable and untold story of what happened on the mountain that fateful year. Everest Untold includes hidden insights and never before revealed transcripts that shed new light on the 1996 disaster, including the mysterious disappearance of one of the South African team members in the death zone.
Conroy’s hidden story reopens the debate on the risks of high-altitude mountaineering and what it meant to a young democratic South Africa unaware of the dangers that lay ahead.
"Mid-life crises don’t have to be boring and staid. Buy a mountain bike and the best adventure of your life is just over the next hill" - Quote unquote from the guy at the bike shop. What he didn’t tell you is that when you’re on a bicycle most hills turn into mountains. And he also didn’t tell you beware of riding next to guy with a long bucket list. Because he will casually ask if you want ride with him from Harare to Cape Town.
After completing the trip (unexpected experiences – both good and bad- forever skeyched in your memory), you get home exhausted but exhilarated, patting yourself on the back for having raised more than a million Rand for charity, and your friends call you lazy for choosing a downhill destination. So straight away, you look for another mountain to aim at, a pointy one this time called Kilimanjaro.
Cape Town to Kilimanjaro is about having fun, doing good, and above all doing epic. It will make you laugh and cry if you are on the receiving end of the intravenous antibiotics. Hopefully it will also inspire. All you need is a bike and a destination.
Tom David and Warren Handley are two South Africans who at 24 years-of-age took the first steps of a life-changing journey.
This is the honest, gripping account of climbing the highest mountain in Africa, Mount Kilimanjaro, and walking 6 000km through six countries on US$2 a day in aid of early childhood development.
In a story of extreme pain and even greater kindness, overcoming challenges and lessons learned, they have a message to share.
Johannesburg: Egoli to some, Jozi to others. Once a mining town, now the most important commercial city in Africa. It’s been home to renegades and rogues, colonialists and capitalists, the dispossessed and the newly enriched. Today it’s populated by those who call themselves Africans or Afrikaners, by blacks, whites and every shade inbetween, and by immigrants from all over.
There are suburbs where the daily rituals of Jewish culture rival New York’s; elsewhere, the tone is more Lagos than laid-back. Remnants of the colonial era stand alongside contemporary steel and glass. In a town that prides itself on the pursuit of fortune, it’s a challenge to preserve heritage, and it is against this background that Hidden Johannesburg offers a snapshot of 28 notable buildings. From the stately mansions of the Randlords to their downtown headquarters, the clubs where they socialised and the churches where they worshipped, the architecture of early Johannesburg lives on in sandstone, granite, marble and slate. But this is a city that constantly reinvents itself, and where the old is all-too-readily demolished to make way for the next ‘big thing’. Some buildings will survive, others will be consigned to memory.
Hidden Johannesburg reveals fragments of the history of this vibrant city but, perhaps, the book also tells us something about our future, for if we allow our heritage to be swept away in the name of progress, are we advancing at all?
Discover the beauty of South Africa’s beaches with MapStudio's newly released Life's A Beach.
This guide explores 9,500kms of the best beaches in the world, from Alexander Bay along the coast to Sodwana, visiting hundreds of beaches and exploring a magnificent coastline. The author, Ann Gadd, has tramped up dunes, scrambled over rocky cliffs, swam as often as time would allow, hung off numerous piers and took over 6,000 photos. She sums up her experience as being aware that people are never as happy as on a beach, soaking up the sun, doing a radical off the lip or holding a rod.
The guide gives the reader activities to do on land as well as on water with great sundowner spots and unique experiences. Find the best swimming beaches and national parks with overview maps indicating sites and handy tips for the best meal, best-kept secrets, child-friendly activities, star-rated activities and blue flag beaches. If you want to do activities besides soaking up magnificent scenery, the guide explores hiking, walking, fishing, surfing, swimming, boat launches, bodyboarding, kayaking, kiteboarding, boardsailing, canoeing and SUP. This guide is a fantastic keepsake for locals as well as anyone who enjoys water sports, and is light-weight for tourists to take back home as their travel memento.
So, get off couch and explore the wealth of fantastic options along South Africa’s shores.
What’s your cat up to when you’re not around? Do dragons exist? Are clouds alive? Why did three men risk their lives for a single penguin egg?
These are just a few of the questions and stories puzzled over by award-winning travel writer and naturalist Don Pinnock. Assembled from years of wandering around Africa, this is a funny, entertaining and thought-provoking book.
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