Fine book will awaken the traveller in readers

Book: Shorelines

Book: Shorelines

Authors: Chris Marais and Julienne du Toit

Publisher: Struik

Reviewer: Joseph Nhlapo

This book is the closest most of us will come to actually travelling from coast to coast in this beautiful country.

The writers, husband-and-wife team, Chris Marais and Julienne du Toit, did it in 10 weeks, covering more than 5000km in their bakkie last year.

Chris has been a travel writer of note since the 1970s when he worked for the Rand Daily Mail .

Whether you love backpacking for the heck of it or you're a city junkie, this book will awaken the traveller in you.

Beyond the menus, well-laid out chalets, B&Bs and hotels, the couple spoil you with tales of drama, history, adventure and the comic humour of their travels.

Setting off in Alexander Bay, we are let into the history of diamond mining where moneyed travellers have made fortunes, while underprivileged scrape around for a living.

As they drive through Alexander Bay and Port Nolloth, that distant land comes alive.

In Hondeklip Bay, they learn about a boat that sank in 1855. A group of men heard about it, rushed to the scene and took charge of a 16-gallon cask of brandy which kept them busy instead.

A night out fishing on a boat reveals challenges facing the fishing industry.

In Cape Town they meet a Masai man who walked all the way from Kenya to protest his people's mistreatment.

In Simon's Town they meet a Penguin Man. Baboons feature strongly in Shorelines. At Cape Point Surfer Boss Baboon is the leader of a mischievous troop. Also, there's a legend of a signalman at Uitenhage railway station, James Wide, who lost both legs in an accident.

Their next stop is Hermanus, now marketed as the whale capital of the world. The reader marvels at the colourful lives of these southern right whales.

In Durban driving through KwaMashu they meet the finest makers of Zulu shields and traditional garb.

They then trudge on up to St Lucia where they meet Kian Barker, who introduces them to turtles.

At Kosi Bay fish traps made from plaited wild banana stems are used for large-scale fishing. They meet Weekend Gumede, a man with 10 wives and 62 children. All the wives are involved in the baskets and mats project and are full of smiles in this one big happy family. Kosi Bay is popular for fishing and diving.

This book is a must for travellers and explorers.