Where is the Quiver Tree Forest in Namibia?

Linking nicely with last week’s Giant Playground…the Quiver Tree Forest is a great tourist attraction in Namibia. Located just north-east of Keetmanshoop, this attraction can be found nice and close to the playground.

Rights to Joachim Huber/Flickr

Rights to Joachim Huber/Flickr

Please remember that this is no storybook forest, however it is still quite a sight to see. Around about 250 quiver trees can be found in this area. Scientifically named Aloe dichotoma, this unique tree has a funny story behind its name.

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Rights to Amusing planet

The San people who used to populate the area, once used the branches from these trees to make their quivers. The tree was named by Simon van der Stel in 1685, after he heard the story about the quivers.

The forest grew spontaneously and the oldest trees are estimated to be around two to three centuries old. This African forest was declared a National Monument on 1 June 1995.

Rights to mezzotint.de

Rights to mezzotint.de

Something that makes this tree very interesting as well, is the fact that it looks like they grow upside down. This is because of the leaves that look very much like roots. It is also believed that these trees have a ‘holy’ status in some local religions.

Rights to Info Namibia

Rights to Info Namibia

These unusual-looking trees can reach heights anywhere between three and nine metres and only bloom once they are between 20 and 30 years old. Quiver trees are endemic to the Nama Karoo in the south of Namibia and along the Great Escarpment in the west.

Rights to Pinterest

Rights to Pinterest

They have successfully adapted to the fluctuating annual rainfall in these areas, and commonly occur on the slopes or tops of hills and scattered across rocky plains.

The tree’s stem and branches consist of a spongy fibre that can store large quantities of water over long periods of time. Their leaves have a smooth and waxy surface that prevents moisture from evaporating.

Rights to Pinterest

Rights to Pinterest

A vertical stem protects the tree from direct sunlight during the hottest hours of the day and the yellowish bark and thin layer of white powder on the branches reflect most of the sunlight away from the tree.

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Rights to mitchellkrog.com

The rough and scaly bark is thought to be an additional and remarkable internal cooling adaptation to cope with the harsh surroundings.

Quiver trees were declared to be endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) in 2010.

Rights to Outdoor photographer

Rights to Outdoor photographer

This is mostly due to climate change and the increasing heat and decreasing rainfall in southern Namibia. The trees grow in generations, with each generation potentially reaching between 100 and 120 years.

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Rights to Fourcorners Photography

The younger trees however need to get sufficient water for several consecutive years for them to mature successfully. With the long drought that has plagued the region, there has been little opportunity for young trees to reach maturity.

Subsequently, as the older trees are dying out and with younger trees not growing optimally, their numbers have decreased.

Image Pinterest

Rights to Pinterest

But we hope to keep this from happening! When you find yourself in that part of the country again, make a point of checking out the Quiver Tree Forest and enjoy the sight of hundreds of trees growing ‘upside down’.

Rights to 1photo1day.com

Rights to 1photo1day.com

If you would like to go visit the Quiver Tree Forest , you can start by heading north-east for about 14km from Keetmanshoop. It will cost you about N$50.00 per person for admissions for the day.

Keetmanshop in Namibia - www.namibiabookings.com

Keetmanshop in Namibia –
www.namibiabookings.com

Rights to www.namibia.org

Rights to www.namibia.org

The best time to enjoy this sight is during the winter months when it is not as hot. The Gondwana Canyon properties are a fantastic base camp to use when viewing the surrounding areas.

If you have any stories or information of the Quiver Trees and Forest, please share them with us in the comment section below.

Author – Jescey Visagie is a proud Namibian and is passionate about writing and language. Tag along for the ride as she tries to uncover new insights into Namibia and explores what the country has to offer.

Jescey Visagie

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What is the Giant’s Playground in Namibia?

Close your eyes for a moment and imagine a group of young giants frolicking amongst stone formations. Leaping from pedestal to pedestal and crouching behind the stones during a game of hide and seek…when I heard the term ‘Giant’s Playground’ this was the first image that came to mind.

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Rights to South Africa Travel Online

And it may not be too far fetched once you take a look at the place (and depending how vivid your imagination is).

So, for those among us who are not familiar with the term…what is Giant’s Playground?

Simply put, it is a geological phenomenon. And it is called this, because of the way the series of dolerite boulders have been packed as though a giant toddler was playing a really over-the-top version of Jenga.

Rights to www.travellingforever.com

Rights to www.travellingforever.com

Rights to dieschultners.de

Rights to dieschultners.de

The aftermath of said game, creating a series of formations and a rock maze just outside of Keetmanshoop. And apparently, it is rather easy to lose your bearings while walking through this maze.

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Rights to dreamtrip2012 .wordspress.com

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Rights to 3D photo production

On the other hand, wanderlust has never been a bad thing, so make the best of getting lost in an ancient, giant-built, rock maze!

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Rights to Southern Africa

Anyway, on a more serious and scientific front… The playground is said to have been formed about 180 million years ago.

Rights to www.foto-genial.de

Rights to www.foto-genial.de

As mentioned in a previous post on Gondwana and the super continents, Pangea was starting to separate. Because of this massive natural disruption, the earth’s surface experienced some hectic disturbances.

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Rights to wilkinsonsworld

In the area surrounding these rock formations, molten magma pushed its way through the cracks of the surface rock. This led to an entirely different situation. After another couple of million years, the sedimentary rocks (that were pushed aside to make room for the dolerite) began to erode.

Rights to commons.wikimedia.org

Rights to commons.wikimedia.org

This in turn, exposed the harder rock that was hidden underneath. These little delights, are called dolerite dykes and are usually between 3-10 metres in width and can have varied and extreme lengths.

Rights to www.worldtravelserver.com

Rights to www.worldtravelserver.com

Adding to the above, there were another few thousand years of water, wind and heat that polished and smoothed out these rock formations. So now it really does look like a group of giants that played around on the ancient landscape.

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Rights to rights to epod . usra .edu

If you would like to go visit the Giant’s Playground, you can start by heading north-east for about 14km from Keetmanshoop. It will cost you around N$50.00 per person for admissions for the day.

Keetmanshop in Namibia - www.namibiabookings.com

Keetmanshop in Namibia – Rights to www.namibiabookings.com

The best time to enjoy this sight is during the winter months when it is not as hot. The Gondwana Canyon properties are a fantastic base camp to use when viewing the surrounding areas.

Rights to Forum Fur Naturfotografen

Rights to Forum Fur Naturfotografen

If you have any stories or information on the Giant’s Playground, we invite you to share it with us in the comment section below.

Author – Jescey Visagie is a proud Namibian and is passionate about writing and language. Tag along for the ride as she tries to uncover new insights into Namibia and explores what the country has to offer.

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How the Fish River Canyon should be experienced

The mighty Fish River Canyon…second largest canyon in the world. Not at all daunting when you think about this massive slice through the country’s soil. What moves this natural marvel from daunting to majestic are the secrets and raw natural beauty that hide within this massive landscape.

The Fish River Canyon - Image: www.host-namiba.com

The Fish River Canyon – Image: www.host-namiba.com

As some may know, the Gondwana Collection used to offer the Canyon Mule Trails. Well this year, we have decided to retire our mules. And since last we spoke, they are thoroughly enjoying retirement life.

Image: www.news24.com

Image: www.news24.com

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Rest assured though, that your opportunity to experience the Fish River Canyon is not lost. In fact, we here at the Gondwana Collection have created a brand-new canyon experience. Drum roll please… the Canyon Klipspringer Trail!

 

Fish-River-Canyon-02

“The Canyon Klipspringer Trail”

Image: tracks4africa.co.za

Image: tracks4africa.co.za

What makes this hike so unique? Simply put, you do not need to lug around all your own baggage. Using an ingenious design concept, the Gondwana Collection offers the use of lockable trunks to store all your goods in.

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Image: Judy & Scott Hurd

So when you head out into the canyon for your hike, you only need to pack the necessities (water, snacks, etc.). And all the other goodies, pots, pans and clothes, are ferried to the next evening’s campsite.

CANYON_TREKKING3

What I am actually getting at, is you pretty much get to enjoy a hike through the northern areas of the Fish River Canyon without any heavy loads. And then when you arrive at the camp in the evening, your cabin and all possessions await.

CANYON_TREKKING2

And the process repeats itself throughout the entire hike. Every morning someone comes to collect your trunk and you do not need to worry about the heavy weight holding you back.

So for all the adventurous souls looking to break away from the hustle and bustle of city life…here is your answer.

Image: www.getaway.co.za

Image: www.getaway.co.za

Go explore the natural magnificence of the Fish River Canyon in slack packing ease.

CANYON_TREKKING4

Check out what you need to pack for this hike by clicking here.

And if you have any of your own canyon stories to tell, we invite you to share them with us in the comment section below.

Author – Jescey Visagie is a proud Namibian and is passionate about writing and language. Tag along for the ride as she tries to uncover new insights into Namibia and explores what the country has to offer.

Jescey Visagie

 

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