The Garden Route (1960) by William Smith

This film features Plettenberg Bay at 35min 08sec.

Produced and filmed by William Smith (South Africa’s best-known and most popular television science and mathematics teacher), and starring Carol Malan and Pieter Snyman. Sound track re-recorded in 2010 by William (the original print was in very poor condition).

Uploaded to YouTube with permission of William Smith.

Here’s the media release from the first screening in 50 years (which took place on board Paddle Cruiser in Knysna). The star of the movie – Carol Malan – had never even seen it before that day! (see an interview with her at

Garden Route’s First Promotional Movie Revived on DVD
In 1960 (or was it 1961? – the people involved can’t quite remember), William Smith wrote, produced, and directed what was probably the Garden Route’s first promotional movie – a 40-minute-long piece about a young couple who meet for a holiday in Knysna and Wilderness.

The film starred Carol Malan (now Sachs) and Pieter Snyman, and when, at a recent tourism function, Carol met William again after all these years, she decided to ask him whether he still had a copy of the thing – because she’d never seen it, having left the Garden Route to attend college shortly after shooting was complete.

“I decided to go and find the movie, and we had it digitised by AV Transfers in Cape Town – but the sound track had deteriorated, so we needed to re-record it.

“In those days, remember, we were pioneering movies, and anything with audio had to go onto magnetic strip. So we shot it on 16 mm; we had no money for a copy, so we took the film through a camera, cut it up, spliced it, and used that as the master – and to put the sound on we had to use a magnetic strip.

“When we found the old film’s spool, we found that the picture had deteriorated – but the sound was gone. So we had to go back, listen carefully to what was said, copy it down, and I re-recorded the commentary in the studio,” said William.

The result has now been published on DVD, and William and his wife, Jenny, invited forty friends – many of whom had been living in Knysna at the time the movie was made – to view it on board the Featherbed Company’s Paddle Cruiser on the 1st of December.

And Carol – who now runs Treehaven Self Catering Accommodation in Plett, and spends most of her time working as an artist – saw it for the very first time.

“It was lovely,” she said afterwards. “I still don’t remember much, but Pieter doesn’t remember much either, so I’m not that doddering.

“The period was an important time of my life to move forward as an adult, and it was lovely seeing myself in that situation – and to see the Garden Route as she was.

“I still feel that I live in Paradise, and Paradise will remain Paradise.”

Pieter Snyman – a retired airline pilot who’s now living in Sedgefield – said, “It was stunning to see myself so young.

“What really struck me was the openness of the area. You look on The Heads – there was hardly anything there!”

William Smith has now made copies of the DVD available to the public – they can be bought from Cruise Café, the East Head Café, Motion Mag or Martin Hatchuel at a cost of R40.00.

A public viewing will also take place on Wednesday 15 December at 09h00 on board the Paddle Cruiser; tickets are free, but are limited to 50 people. (Coffee and refreshments will be available from a cash bar). Please call Martin on 084 951 0574 to reserve your place.

More information:

YouTube video interviews with Carol, Piet & William:

Featherbed Company


AV Transfers


Cape Coastal Route

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