Nature travellers need to load up on maps and books before each trip, says Wild’s editor Romi Boom. These are the latest publications for people with the itch to travel to wild places. We have giveaways of them all.

Slingsby Maps to the southern Cape

Overberg Whale Coast edition 6; Swartberg and the Klein Karoo edition 2; and The Garden Route edition 6.5. R150-170 each. Slingsby Maps-Klein Karoo-Swartberg

The Slingsby Maps are for bikers, runners, 4×4 enthusiasts, tourists and explorers in general. These three maps enhance your discoveries along little known minor roads of the southern Cape: amongst other pleasures, floral magic in the Gysmanshoek Pass, otters in the Gourits River, fish eagles at Salt River Cove.

Peter and Maggie Slingsby drove every road to research their latest updated maps. En route they saw hundreds of blue cranes dancing together, many many passes, thundering rocky shores and tranquil estuaries.

“We’ve slept in old wagons, a shop in the forest, a library, a plant nursery and an elaborate ostrich palace,” says Maggie. “All are found on our maps, also the rural cottages with rusks and keys under the mat.” Each map is fully contoured with relief shading so that the topography is there to be seen.

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Mapmaker Peter Slingsby charting the terrain.

Mapmaker Peter Slingsby remembers: “When we set out in our old kombi to do the research for our very first Garden Route map we were on holiday, drawing maps as a hobby. We lived in the Overberg, in Kleinmond, so we knew it all like the backs of our hands. Now, many years later and both maps in their sixth editions, we still love the extra time out on the road checking for changes. It was years later before we completed the south coast set with our Swartberg/Klein Karoo map – six weeks of the most delightful research. We opened 68 gates! We never draw a map without driving every single road, walking every path. A great way to make a living.”

New field guide

Guide to the Animals of Southern Africa by Lynne Matthews. Published by Jacana Media. R225. Guide to Animals of Southern Africa

This is described as a field guide that every child should take into the bush, but I suspect adults will enjoy the book as much as young outdoor enthusiasts. Even after a few weeks I am still dipping into it and am captivated by the fascinating facts about animals, the amazing adaptations that they have developed to survive, their lifecycles and interactions.

Now I know why the brown hyena has much longer hair than the spotted hyena, how frogs breathe and what you call a colony of waterbirds. The four sections of the book deal with mammals, birds, frogs and reptiles, and insects and other invertebrates.

Illustrated in full colour, the book is practical and fun throughout. It should keep youngsters occupied for hours on game drives.

A few pictures from the book…

Foto van een giraf die door een tekort aan calcium op een bot sabbelt dit heet osteophagia; Giraffe sucking on a bone to solve its calcium deficiency

Giraffe sucking on a bone by Jelger Herder

Natal tree frogs-Guide to the Animals of Souther Africa

Two male Natal tree frogs by Marius Burger

Transvaal thick-tailed scorpion-Guide to the Animals of Souther Africa

Mother Transvaal thick-tailed scorpion and babies by Eric Ythier

Social history

River of Gold. Narratives and Exploration of the Great Limpopo. By Peter Norton, Michael Gardner and Clive Walker. Published by Jacana Media. R280. River of Gold

Many people have had a relationship with the Limpopo River: hunters, traders, Voortrekkers, missionaries, Portuguese navigators, politicians, slaves, conservationists, poets, artists. This book tells the story of the river, which until now has not had a definitive work dedicated to it, unlike the Zambezi, Nile and Okavango. It includes tales of canoe trips, anecdotes about crocodiles, and ecological concerns.

South Africa’s most iconic river has its source at the site of the world’s richest gold deposits ever, discovered in Johannesburg. From there it flows 1 750 km to its mouth in Mozambique, through two transfrontier parks and two world heritage sites. Each section of the river has its own dedicated chapter.

The Limpopo is associated with many rivers, including the Shashe and the Luvuvhu which flow into it, and the Olifants, its largest tributary. Visitors to Kruger and Mapungubwe National Park will find the background material on Mapungubwe and Leokwe, Thulamela, Crooks’ Corner, Pafuri and the Makuleke tribe informative and entertaining.

WIN! WIN! WIN!

Wild is giving away copies of these fabulous new publications. Email the answers to our simple questions before 21 August to stand a chance to win. Wild will randomly select the winners. Winners will be notified via email. Remember to include your full names, contact details and postal address.

Three sets of three maps: Overberg Whale Coast edition 6; Swartberg and the Klein Karoo edition 2; The Garden Route edition 6.5. Email the answer to [email protected] (subject: Maps). QUESTION: How many gates did the Slingsbys have to open in their research for the Swartberg/Klein Karoo map?

WINNERS: Willemien van Hoepen, Alida Neethling and Roy Kallaway

Three copies of Guide to the Animals of Southern Africa. Email the answer to [email protected] (subject: Guide). QUESTION: Who is the author of Guide to the Animals of Southern Africa?

WINNERS: Robyn-Lynne Reid, Andrew Parsons and Gary Dean

One copy of River of Gold. Narratives and Exploration of the Great Limpopo. Email the answer to [email protected] (subject: Limpopo). QUESTION: What is the length of the Limpopo River?

WINNER: Jo-Anne Henderson