WILDERNESS NEWS - Hugo Leggatt, who has called Wilderness home for over 70 years, has completed his much-awaited book on its history, heroes, and happenings: Wilderness - Gateway to the Garden Route.
A result of years of research, it weaves a tapestry of colourful lives and legends, introducing the earliest inhabitants and the later settlers ... a must-read for every Wilderness resident, visitor and fan of the Garden Route.
Hugo Leggatt was born in England shortly after the outbreak of World War II. After the war, his parents moved to South Africa. Leggatt came to Wilderness in 1947, first attending school in George before completing schooling and university in Cape Town, where he graduated with a degree in physics.
For most of his life he taught science. But his other interests served him well in terms of background for the book.
He is a member of the mountain club, archaeological society and both the Outeniqua and Knysna history societies. He also loves reading, rock art (he has compiled a database of the rock art of much of the Southern Cape), local history and travel.
Lavishly illustrated with over 50 photographs, the book opens with an outline of the earlier history of the area, as well as the local situation that was to give rise to the farm's name, The Wilderness, established in the 1870s by George Bennett and his wife, Henriëtta.
The Wilderness remained a largely isolated beauty spot until the coming of the national road in the middle of the twentieth century. Despite this, there are remarkable connections from that period with the British royal family and their governing representatives, as well as the presidents of both the old Boer republics.
Wilderness - Gateway to the Garden Route is available now at the Wilderness Tourism office, Wilderness Pharmacy and Eden Adventures at Fairy Knowe. It is also available from the author (079 952 8111).
Leggatt will soon be giving a talk entitled, Wilderness - the story of our village. Look out in George Herald and WRRA news for details.
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