Researched, developed and created by Jacana Media
Updated by Grahame Thomson and Julie Carlisle
Book review by Johan Rothmann – 28 June 2019

The Garden Route is rated as one of the top ten tourist destinations in South Africa. This 300-kilometer stretch of the south-western coast extends from Mossel Bay in the Western Cape to the Storms River in the Eastern Cape. It includes towns such as Knysna, Plettenberg Bay, Great Brak River, Little Brak River, Wilderness, Sedgefield and Nature's Valley, with George, the Garden Route's largest city and main administrative center.

The area was thoroughly researched and well documented in this outstanding guide.

The book starts off with a historical and geological explanation of the area. There are many fascinating facts, for example, during the last 140 million years the sea level along the Garden Route has changed up to 300 meters above and 200 meters below the present level.

This first part of the book, using 130 of the 230 pages, covers more than can be mentioned in this short review. Here are some of the topics:
  • Beaches, currents, dunes, lakes, rivers, gorges, and estuaries.
  • Land and sea mammals, marine fish, estuarine fish, invertebrates.
  • Plants and insects of the forests, fynbos, dunes and estuaries.
  • Reptiles and amphibians, both waterbased and landbased in the region.
  • Birdlife, from waterbirds (sea, estuaries, fresh water) to the birds of the forests and fynbos.
  • Human history from stone age to present day impact.

The last 100 pages of the book is devoted to the present with a wealth of information aimed at all types of visitors including hikers, walkers, bikers, birders, outdoor enthusiasts, nature lovers, holiday makers and guides.

There are 4 detailed maps indicating towns, roads, distances, railway lines, rivers, dams, marine reserves, hiking trails, cycling trails, historical sites, golf courses, caravan parks, arts and crafts, bathing beaches, whale watching spots, dive sites, ship wrecks, viewpoints, picnic sites and more:
  • Map 1: Still Bay to Great Brak River
  • Map 2: Glentana to Sedgefield
  • Map 3: Goukamma to Plettenberg Bay
  • Map 4: Keurboomstrand to Storms River

Following the maps is a section named “Experience the Garden Route”. Here all the attractions and activities are described with reference websites where applicable.
The handy alphabetical index in the back of the book enables one to quickly find more information about anything you may encounter on your journey through the Garden Route.

I have reviewed several non-fiction books, all with factual and useful information. This book was a nice surprise and stand out from most. I am looking forward to my next visit to the Garden Route with this guide next to me.

Researched, developed and created by Jacana Media
Updated by Grahame Thomson and Julie Carlisle
5th Edition, October 2017
The book has 230 pages (235 x 165mm) with a soft cover.
Published by Jacana Media (www.jacana.za)
ISBN: 978-1-4314-2520-4
Price at the time of this review (June 2019): R260 including VAT