These our beautifully illustrated books are bound to get you appreciating your surroundings and nature.
The Annotated Fourlegs - The Updated Story of the Coelacanth by Mike Bruton (Struik Nature)
When the famous South African fish scientist Professor JLB Smith published Old Fourlegs – The Story of the Coelacanth in 1956, he created an international sensation.
This 400-million-year-old fish, known only from fossil remains, was thought to have become extinct around 66 million years ago. Smith’s dramatic account of the discovery of the first and second coelacanths in 1938 and 1952 turned him into a cult figure and put South African science on the world map. His book was eventually published in six English editions and translated into nine foreign languages.
Mike Bruton’s The Annotated Old Fourlegs includes a facsimile reprint of the original book, to which he has added notes and images in the margins that provide an interesting and revealing commentary on Smith’s text, as well as new introductory and explanatory chapters that bring the coelacanth story fully up to dat. Bruton has been involved in coelacanth conservation and given talks world-wide on old "fourlegs"
Star Maps for Southern Africa - An easy guide to the night skies by Albert Jansen (Struik Nature)
If you're a star-gazer, this one-of-a-kind star guide for the southern hemisphere is right up your alley. It book features 96 star maps for observing the southern skies with the naked eye, standard binoculars or a small telescope.
Divided into 12 sets, the maps cover all eight principal views of the sky (N, NE, E, SE, S, SW, W and NW) for each month of the year and for different times during each night. For each set of star maps, the reader is alerted to prominent stars and constellations visible during that period of viewing.
This newly released editon, offers connecting lines that have been applied between the stars to help map out the constellations for easy identification.
Terms and concepts are explained and frequently asked questions addressed in this thorough and extensive coverage of our night skies, enabling readers to track stars and related spectacles throughout the year.
The late Professor Albert Jansen was born in The Netherlands and became fascinated by astronomy at a young age. In 1995,he and his wife Ellie immigrated to South Africa, where they established a private observatory in Prince Albert, welcoming many visitors each year.
Hiking Trails of South Africa by Willie Olivier (Struik Travel and Heritage)
This comprehensive and well-laid out guide in its forth edition, has been brought fully up-to-date, with new trails included and all booking information revised - an essential guide for every hiker.
Olivier describes more than 500 trails, offering something for everyone – from the casual ambler to the experienced hiker.
Whether you want to explore the beautiful landscape of the Karoo, wander through fynbos in the Western Cape, see the lush indigenous forests of the Garden Route, admire the sandstone mountains of the Free State, spot game on a wilderness hike in Mpumalanga or Limpopo, or experience the majesty of the Drakensberg – you will find all the information you need here.
What's great is the information on available facilities, accommodation (where appropriate) and the activities on offer. The book also provides an invaluable guide to selecting hiking equipment, staying safe on the trail and dealing with emergencies that may arise.
Willie Olivier has covered thousands of kilometres throughout southern Africa on foot and by road and is the author of numerous travel guides and books, including African Adventurer’s Guide: Namibia, African Adventurer’s Guide: Mozambique and the highly successful Touring in South Africa.
Frogs of Southern Africa: A Complete Guide by Louis du Preez and Vincent Carruthers (Struik Nature)
Frogs play a central role in many ecosystems. They control the insect population, and they're a food source for many larger animals and frogs use lots of survival tools.
This handsomely illustrated and wonderfully presented book remains the most authoritative and comprehensive guide ever produced, covering all aspects of frog and tadpole biology and behaviour and will give new insight for those who pick up the creatures in their gardens or when they're out in nature.
This new edition (with a slight name change) has been thoroughly updated to reflect taxonomic changes based on the most recent research and DNA studies, and includes the discovery of seven new species.
All 164 southern African frog species, and their tadpole stages, are fully described, along with their conservation status, calls, habitat and habits. Identification is made easy with the aid of large, full-colour images, keys to species and summary panels on "Key ID points" and ‘Distinctive characters’.
As most people know there are few sounds more beautiful than hearing the call of frogs and grog calls can be accessed instantly via QR codes in the book or can be downloaded from www.frogbook.co.za. Spectrograms of the calls are also included in the book.
Louis du Preez is a professor of Zoology at North-West University andheads the African Amphibian Conservation Research Group and the author of several books and co-author of the Frogs of Southern Africa mobile app. Vincent Carruthers is a well-known environmentalist and a registered professional scientist specialising in amphibians and wetlands and has contributed to a range of acclaimed publications.