On a farm track in the middle of nowhere suddenly hundreds of quiver trees appear. These large aloes, so called because the San people have a tradition of making quivers out of the hollowed branches, can be several meters tall and live hundreds of years. This particular ‘forest’ of quiver trees, also known as kokerboom or aloe dichotoma, is the largest concentration of these trees in South Africa and though it is on private land, the owners are kind enough to allow visitors for free.
Quiver trees sprout out in various manners, but they always have a slightly gangly and unique look about them. The fibrous branches are amazingly light with a honeycombed interior, making them perfect for drinking and storing water. The dead branches crumble in between your fingers and don’t feel strong enough to even hold up the leaves on the tree, let alone survive a fierce storm or moderate breeze. The bark is unique to each tree, with beautiful patterns and colours creating a dramatic texture.
The trees were spread out across the hillsides of a series of bluffs all facing north, towards the late morning sun. At their base were small shrubs and succulents, little friends to these magical trees.
We wandered through the dried stream beds and rocky soil, looking up at the trees standing quiet and still. We came across one unique tree that was covered with yellow flowers. It stood out as a beckon against the other trees, seemingly showing the others what was possible.
All in all, it was a lovely place to wander around on our own for a couple of hours and see these unique trees up close.