August 25

5 Incredible Trees that Exude the African Spirit


August 25, 2017



The baobab radiates the atmosphere of Africa. They have also been referred to as a ‘bottle tree’, ‘upside-down tree’, and ‘monkey bread tree’. This comical tree is giant, all-encompassing and truly serves as a valued part of African culture. Many cultures would use baobabs as storage and shelter. They have also been used as a nourishing factor as their fruits have been dubbed as ‘superfoods’ due to the significant amount of nutrients they contain. Medicine, oil and beer can also be produced from it. Bats and moths pollinate this tree adding to the endearing and unusual nature of it. They are the largest succulent trees in the world and don’t have growth rings found in hardwood trees.




Marula trees are deciduous and dioecious, meaning they have a specific sex. In some African cultures believed that drinking the bark of the tree would lead to either a female or male birth. Many African animals go crazy for the fruit and for good reason because it’s high in Vitamin C. Humans make jams, juices and alcoholic beverages out of it meaning the animals are not the only one after the delicious nectar. An Amarula on ice is definitely recommended after a day on safari. It also has medicinal properties, it can relieve heartburn, be used as skin treatments, and settle stomach aches. Personally, I think the alcohol is the best of all the remedies.



Fever tree forests. ? #vsco #vscocam #vscogrid #fevertrees #kruger

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Fever Trees are interesting looking trees with a luminous glow about them. This probably contributed to the fact that the pioneers thought this tree caused illness because they would commonly be found in areas where there was malaria. They are found in swampy areas, where mosquitoes breed. Ironically, medicines extracted from the roots are powdered up for the treatment of malaria. The bark of the fever tree can also be used for treating fevers and eye infections.




The quiver tree is the Namibian national plant. Its name comes from ancient survival when the San people would hollow out branches to make quivers for their arrows. This tree lives up to Charles Darwin’s research on survival of the fittest; “It is not the strongest species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the ones most responsive to change”. The bloated branches stand up and are covered with a beaming white powder which reflects the heat of the desert sun and its leaves have thick vines with very few pores which reduce the amount of water-loss  through evaporation. This tree also ‘self-amputates’, which means it cuts off a leaf rosette and seals the stump, this also minimises the risk of losing water. Talk about adapting to your environment!




The amusing name and look of this tree truly reflects the durable nature of the African humour. This interesting tree looks as if it has sausages hanging from its branches, they can get up to 100 cm and 10 kgs and there have been reported incidences of falling ‘sausages’ breaking windows and denting cars in the bush. The extracts of the tree fights fungal infections, treats eczema, psoriasis, and even leprosy. Impala, duiker and hippos, the herbivores of the animal kingdom, use them as a vegan sausage substitute. But don’t worry they’ll tell you about it, as all vegans do.


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About the author 

Jennifer Southwell

Jennifer is happiest when life is filled with good gin, strong coffee and great adventure. She makes leather bags and rock climbs for fun and relishes in life's little peculiarities. She is passionate about Africa and its animals and has been lucky enough to have been to the most amazing safari destinations such as Moremi, Okavango and Kalahari in Botswana as well as Kafue and South Luangwa in Zambia and Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe. Give her a gin and tonic in the heart of the bush and she will reach maximum level bliss.

  • Interesting blog – a girl after my own heart – magical safaris followed by an ice-cold G&T with ice-cubes & bitters! Delicious drunk by the light of a fire and the nights umbrella of starlight & the sounds of the bush at night. Bliss

    • Thanks for the wonderful comment Merlynn. So glad to hear there are people who know how to do the ‘safari’ the right way, with a drink in the hand! Keep the fire burning!

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