The odd shapes of camel thorn pods - Namibia Safari and Lodges - Gondwana Collection

Namibia with Heart and Soul: Take our hand and let us introduce you to this awe-inspiring country. Come and stay with us, experience Namibia.


Where the Namib Desert stretches languidly from the Atlantic Ocean and wild land extends into infinity, dreams become real. At this place where fantasy meets reality, you'll find the Gondwana Collection safely positioned.

Take our outstretched hand and let us introduce you to our extraordinary country, Namibia. From the massive chasms of the Fish River Canyon, the fossilised dunes of the Namib Desert and the red sands of the Kalahari Desert to the waterways of the Kavango and Zambezi, there are countless marvels to behold. Explore this awe-inspiring wilderness from the warmth of our lodges, created with conservation cognizance and ample character. And return to relax after an exciting day of discovery.

This is the Gondwana feeling: Namibia with heart and soul.

Come and stay with us, experience Namibia.

About us

Namibia2Go Car Rental

Experience Africa like never before. Explore Namibia your way with our well-maintained and fully inclusive rental vehicles. Easy. Hassle free. Unforgettable.

We offer a comprehensive travel service including car rental, accommodation, safaris and self-drive itineraries and day trips. Interested?

Cardboard Box Travel Shop

Cardboard Box Travel Shop is a renowned tour operator in Windhoek that specialises in Namibian tours, either self-drive or with an experienced guide. The comprehensive (online) travel service covers among others car rental, accommodation, domestic and regional flights, safaris and route planning, including destinations in Botswana, Zambia (Livingstone) and Zimbabwe (Victoria Falls). more

Safari2Go - The easiest way to travel the country!

3 Day / 2 Night – Sossusvlei Safari Shuttle
Exciting adventures await those who partake in this exhilarating safari to Sossusvlei, one of the most spectacular sites in the world. The magnificent star dunes are a photographer’s dream and the spectacular landscape will leave memories to last a lifetime. more

10-Day Namibian Highlights Tour
Enjoy Namibia’s most popular destinations on this compact guided tour that incorporates visits to the Kalahari and Namib deserts – including the famed Sossusvlei dunes, the intriguing coastal town of Swakopmund, the Twyfelfontein rock engravings and Etosha National Park. more

7-Day Northern Namibian Adventure Tour
Enjoy Namibia’s most popular destinations on this compact guided tour that incorporates visits the intriguing coastal town of Swakopmund, the Twyfelfontein rock engravings which received the UNESCO world heritage status in 2007, and the legendary Etosha National Park. more

Further information and booking enquiries: info(at) | Tel: +264 (0)84 000 9900

Boxed2Go Self-Drive Safaris

Let us spoil you with Gondwana Collection’s exceptional self-drive safari packages including accommodation, vehicle and a detailed route map guide. Make use of our comprehensive travel services to book an unforgettable safari. Discover the spectacular secrets Namibia holds. more

GO EPIC - Experience Namibia’s famed locations (11 days)
GO BIG - Discover Namibia's main attractions (13 days)
GO WILD - Track Namibia's awesome wildlife (12 days)

Namibia Road Map 2019/20

Anyone touring Namibia should definitely take our road map along. It is available from Gondwana free of charge, or as pdf download. This map features fascinating experiences plus recommended accommodation. At the same time it is an ordinary road map with all the essential information of the official Namibia road map by Prof. Uwe Jäschke and the Roads Authority of Namibia.

Gondwana's Newsroom

The odd shapes of camel thorn pods

Avatar of inke inke - 12. October 2018 - Environment

Camel thorn trees are found almost everywhere in Namibia – in the Namib and in the Kalahari deserts, in the northeast where rain is abundant and in the dry south. They provide shade for man and beast and offer shelter to many animals. Sociable weavers like to build their heavy grass nests into these trees.

Dirk Heinrich

“As hard as camel thorn wood is our Land”, are the lyrics of a song. Wood from camel thorn trees leaves the best embers for a braai (barbecue). Fence posts made from camel thorn decades ago still stand firm, because termites and beetles avoid this wood. Camel thorn trees (Acacia erioloba) are found all over the country except for a narrow strip in the Namib Desert close to the coast. These trees thrive in arid as well as humid conditions. They are heat and frost resistant. For man and beast they are an important source of shade. And they offer food and shelter to countless animals.

The trees with the very hard wood grow slowly. They can reach a height of more than 15 metres. Not only vultures and eagles are nesting on and between their thorny branches but sociable weavers also choose camel thorn trees for their massive grass constructions which can easily weigh several tons.

Especially the large pods are very popular with wild animals as well as livestock. The crescent-shaped fruit usually measures 70-100 x 30-50 mm. Erioloba means hairy earlobe. The grey velvety shell contains protein-rich seeds. Some trees break ranks and produce pods in all sorts of weird and wondrous shapes: almost circular, thin and bent or twisted into one another. Meanwhile, trees in the vicinity bear completely ordinary pods.

The commonly shaped pods (top left) are from trees which grow just a few metres apart from each other. The picture in the middle above shows an open pod with seeds which have a diameter of about 10 mm each.

“At Sossusvlei there are places where each tree has its own shape of pod. The reason for this phenomenon still needs to be investigated scientifically”, says botanist Herta Kolberg. “Probably it is genetic and each tree is an individual with its own characteristics, just like people.”

The pods contain between 8 and 25 seeds. If you put them in the soil and water them nicely they will nevertheless fail to germinate. They first need to pass through the digestive tract of an animal. There are other methods, however. “You can put them in boiling water, leave it to cool and then plant the seeds”, says Kolberg. “Or open the hard shell of the seed a little by scratching it with a file or with sand paper before putting it into the soil.”

In winter the pods fall from the trees and become an important food source for numerous types of animals, including elephants. The pachyderms often shake the trees so that the dry fruit falls down and they can pick it up with their trunk to eat it. 

The velvety grey pods on the thorny branches are about to fall down and become food for wild animals and livestock. Women from the informal settlements on the outskirts of Windhoek collect the pods and sell them at the roadside to farmers.

Comments are disabled for this post.


Explore the Gondwana Blog

Subscribe to our blog and receive email notifications of all our latest articles & stories.

View the Blog

Romantik Hotels & Restaurants

200 hospitality establishments in the most beautiful locations in Europe - enjoy, relax and experience.

Read more

Stay up-to-date with our monthly 'Gondwana Tracks' Newsletter Sign up Today