Guest post: Quiver Tree Forest near Nieuwoudtville

Known as Choje to the indigenous San people, the Quiver tree gets its name from the San practice of hollowing out the tubular branches of Aloe dichotoma to form quivers for their arrows. Today these rare and beautiful trees have become something you see in pictures of faraway places. They need a special arid habitat and a special soil to grow in.

Near Nieuwoudtville, on the road to Loeriesfontein, you find the turnoff to the quiver tree forest. Being a visitor to the area and a bit of a sceptic, if you tell me stories of a forest of quiver trees I expected a few, maybe ten trees, to make up this forest. With no indication of how far it was to this forest I was thinking the people must be dreaming to expect a forest in this dry and quiet land. After a few kilometers I noticed some “koppies” (small hills) which looked different to the rest of the land. I was getting tired of looking for one or maybe two trees, I was afraid I might miss the forest.

Then we rounded the first koppie and I could not believe my eyes. It was like going back in time to a magic place where time stood still and few people have ever visited. As far as I could see there were quiver trees!

[Text and photos by Estie – Click on photos to enlarge]


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Categories: Guest Bloggers, Lifestyle/Travel, Nature/Environment, Random


I am a Life Science teacher (another scientist trying to write), living near Cape Town, with a passion for nature, reading and crafts.


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15 Comments on “Guest post: Quiver Tree Forest near Nieuwoudtville”

  1. March 2, 2011 at 9:23 am #

    Love the photos Estie! It does indeed feel like you’ve gone back into pre-historic time when you stand amongst these trees.

    • Estie
      March 2, 2011 at 4:44 pm #

      Thank you. It was really a magical moment for me too.

  2. March 2, 2011 at 9:23 am #

    Nice guest post, Lisa and Estie.

    I did not know that there was a quiver tree forest near Nieuwoudtville. The only one I have seen was near Keetmanshoop in southern Namibia; we overnighted on a guest farm there, and had an opportunity to walk among the quiver trees at sunset, which was totally magical. They really do look quite other-worldly.

    • Estie
      March 2, 2011 at 4:49 pm #

      Thank you. It’s really not that far from Nieuwoudtville . We went in summer the first time when I took the photos. The second time we went in winter when they are full of yellow flowers, that’s even more spectacular.

      • March 2, 2011 at 5:05 pm #

        Ah! That’s an excellent tip. I imagine it would be much nicer in winter anyway, as the area can get dreadfully hot in summer. 🙂

  3. March 2, 2011 at 6:22 pm #

    What amazing looking trees. They look a bit alien. I’ve never heard of them.

    • Estie
      March 2, 2011 at 7:41 pm #

      Yes, I think they look strange but that makes them even more special. They are part of the Aloe family and can get up to 350 years old.

  4. March 3, 2011 at 4:20 am #

    Fascinating post, Estie. Thank you. And how interesting that they grow to be so old. To be honest, I’d never heard of them before, but goodness they do look alien, don’t they?

    • Estie
      March 7, 2011 at 12:26 pm #

      Thank you.

      Thank you. They are alien looking and very rare now.

  5. March 5, 2011 at 2:43 pm #

    When I hear the word “forest” I always expect to see a high tree density. I would not have known that those trees represent a forest. Do you know why it grows so far apart from one another?

    I like the photos, Estie! The tree groupings are really interesting; reminds me a little of people-dynamics – families, couples, friends, loners . . .

    • Estie
      March 7, 2011 at 12:27 pm #

      Thanks. I think they are so far apart because they compete for water and it is a very dry area.

  6. March 5, 2011 at 4:39 pm #

    I can imagine your surprise!!!beutiful pictures!!

    • Estie
      March 7, 2011 at 12:28 pm #

      It was such a great experience. I will show you pictures later of them in flower, they are truly magnificent.

  7. Fidel
    March 10, 2011 at 2:19 pm #

    Very interesting trees.

    • August 30, 2011 at 5:01 pm #

      Yes they are! Thanks for reading my blog.

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