- Title: South Africa for South Africans
- Authors: Marielle Renssen and Hirsh Aronowitz
- Editor: Thea Grobbelaar
- Publishers: Map Studio
- Date: 2014
- ISBN: 978-1-77026-525-8
- Recommended Selling Price: R295.00
The back cover of this book indicates that it is the intention of the book to take South Africans along the less beaten paths off 23 different routes. I find the very first route listed is one I will be travelling in June 2016. Serendipity. Tzaneen to Kruger.
The map shows the area from Johannesburg in the South West to Mozambique and Swaziland in the East and Musina in the North. I will be travelling on the N1 until Tzaneen, then to Phalaborwa, not as marked on the map from Tzaneen travelling south to Nelspruit. I am initially disappointed but then I cheer up. In August I will be spending three days in this very area. But back to my June trip.
The bar in Sunlands Giant Baobab in Modjadjiskloof is a relatively short detour from Tzaneen. The entry says “This great-girthed wise old uncle on the Sunland farm in Modjadjiskloof still claims to be the largest baobab in the world. And according to the SA Dendrological Society, that’s entirely true. The baobab’s massive circumference, which has two splayed trunks, measure 47m and the tree rises to 22m. Carbon-dating has settled on an age of around 6000 years; that’s going back to the time of Mesopotamia. The trunks of baobabs, after 1000 years, start drying and hollowing out, and that’s just the case at Sunland. In the centre of this one, the farm owners have installed a bar out of railway sleepers with wooden benches curving around the interior walls. At one pub gathering, 60 people managed to cram inside the baobab’s belly.” OK, that’s definitely something I want to do when I go up through Tzaneen next.
Louis Trichardt (Makhado) was less obliging for something to do. I won’t be staying an extra night. 😦
I turned to the page for Clarens and discovered the nearby Ficksburg. I will be in Clarens in late October and may get the early cherry crop in Ficksburg, the Cherry Capital of the world. Some Cherry Liqueur is on my shopping list. And asparagus too, for lunch.
All in all, this is probably not the most definitive book ever, nor the easiest to read as a form of armchair travelling, but picking up a gem of a little detour for every trip I take will make it worth it. So, in June, en route to the Kruger I will detour out of Tzaneen to Modjadji to visit a pub in the biggest baobab. In August I will see the (replica) terracotta heads in the Lydenburg Museum, sample pancakes in Graskop and visit the various falls in the area. In October, I will detour from Clarens to Ficksburg. Will I take the book with me? Probably not, but I will leave it at my chair where I do my travel day dreaming.