Hiking Trails of Southern Africa… A Review…

Weekend reading at it’s very best… as our kids dream and wish to hike further and further afield, this book makes for a very good read.


Hiking with kids is a bit of an art and we dipped in and out of hiking for years before finally saying it is now or never a couple of years back and we took the plunge, so to speak. We never looked back, once we got past the initial, “we can/we can’t/we should/we must” we just got up and got going. The great thing about hiking with kids is you don’t need any special equipment and there are plenty of places to hike and plenty of family friendly hikes available in our neighbourhood. Initially we were somewhat limited by short legs and lack of fitness, but over time and I mean a long time, we got better and better at it.

A family challenge that began as a hike up Table Mountain once a year quickly became a hike or two a month and last year we upped our game and took on the #52HikeChallenge. The #52HikeChallenge is really a challenge to see if you can hike 52 hikes in one year. They have a website you can sign up to and everything… we didn’t really bother with that… we just settled in and got started. Don’t ask me why I thought we could do it… but we did. It is pretty much a hike a week, except we weren’t very consistent and towards the end of the year we did have somewhat of a mad dash… and the last two weeks of the year we pretty much hiked daily to get it done, but we did it.


This year we are at it again and being a little more intentional about it. Making sure that we hike each week, without fail… whatever the weather we are going to be out there. As with most sports as you get better at it, so you want to know more about it. What begin as a hike up Table Mountain once a year has become an exploration of all the routes around us… and we have done a ton of hikes in the South Peninsula. Last year we did our first overnight hike as a family and everyone is eager to try another one.

Hiking Trails of South Africa by Willie Olivier

Turns out Hiking Trails of South Africa is the perfect book for us to review right now… as we begin to think maybe we could be looking further afield…

Se7en+1 Things We Love About This Book

  1. Over 500 Hikes and Trails: This book covers in detail, all the provinces of South Africa, each section begins with a map of the region and a list of hikes for that region. Once you have selected your region the book takes you through all the hikes you could possibly need to know about… area by area in that region. For instance in our area, there are a number of hikes for Table Mountain and also for the South Peninsula and Cape Point, which is our speciality.
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  3. Lots of Hiking Information and Tips: The book has a fabulous introduction… filled with useful information for instance what to pack, what to wear, first aid advice and so on. Particularly useful was menu ideas for food and snacks to take on hikes longer than your typical day hikes. There are really good tips on gear and equipment, and what you actually will need to perform a particular hike. It also includes a fairly comprehensive First Aid Guide, including how to handle snake and insect bites. The Introduction is packed with lots of really useful snippets and the sort of things to keep aspiring hikers enthralled for weeks on end.
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  5. A Comprehensive Hike: The fact that the book includes all kinds of hikes, from day walks to wilderness trails means that any hike is a good hike and this is a truly comprehensive hiking guide for hikes in South Africa. For the family that wants to start hiking, to the more experienced hiker looking for a trail over a number of days… this book has something for everyone and is the complete guide.
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  7. Detailed Information for Each Hike: Each hike can be found on the regional map and then there is a block of information providing all the essential detail: distance; permits required; Maps available; Facilities; Pertinent information and contact details for booking. This is followed by a more detailed couple of paragraphs on the route and what to expect along the way. Basically a guided overview of the hike, providing enough information for you to decide if this is the kind of hike that you are looking for.
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  9. Inspiration for Around the Country: Within Region of the book has a few pages of full colour photographs, inserted in between the trail descriptions. The photographs are epic, and will inspire you to put on your hiking shoes and get out there. This book is great for arm chair traveling, but so much greater if you actually get out there.
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  11. Journal Pages: At the end of the book there are a number of journal pages where you can fill in your own hiking experiences, routes you have taken and bird, wild and plant life that you may have spotted along your route. As well as space to describe your hike and your gear and possible reminders to yourself about things to remember for next time.
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  13. There are Recommended Resources: Beyond the journal pages is a useful glossary, as well as a working index and a list of recommended books… for instance local field guides.
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  15. It is a Great Resource: This book is somewhat of a memoir, reminding us of so many hikes we have done as a family, but more than that it is somewhat dreamy as it is packed with a lot more hikes that we still want to do… obviously we would want to take our kids on the iconic Otter Trail, as well as the West Coast National Park… but what about further afield to the Drakensberg or the Karoo. This book is a font of information and every hiker’s dream book… just enough information to peak their interest and want to step out of the door into another adventure.

This book is a fantastic guidebook for hikes all over South Africa, packed with practical information for hikers of all abilities… and in all stages of their hiking career…

You can meet the authors on their website: Stuart on Nature. I received this book from Struik Nature for review purposes. It is not a sponsored post, and all opinions expressed are entirely my own.

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