20 January 2011 by Chris Marais

Come See the Quiver Trees

One of the great reasons to visit the village of Kenhardt in the Northern Cape is because it was once South Africa’s Hole in the Wall - a hidey-hole for bandits, low-lifes and other interesting historical characters.

Another reason to book in at the Kenhardt Hotel with the incredibly long stoep is that this town is the closest settlement to Verneukpan, where all kinds of land-speed records have been attempted in the past century.

There’s also a roadside stall (padstal) called Oma Miemie’s, that serves some of the most daunting burgers you’ll ever clamp teeth on. If, for instance, you should be brave enough to order a Boere Burger, the waitress will bring you a meat & bun construction that includes a liver patty, fried onions and eggs. Then, without batting an eyelid, she’ll suggest you finish your meal with a chocolate milkshake and a plate of waffles with maple syrup. Real country style.

But the main reason you should visit Kenhardt lies two kilometres outside the town, in the form of an incredible quiver tree (kokerboom) forest set in a range of ancient rock hills.

Wear sturdy boots; put lots of memory into your digital camera; venture forth at the bookends of the day, when the light is golden; take lots of water with you; phone the number at the entrance and tell the aunty you’re visiting; budget an easy two hours for this experience.

A quiver tree (Aloe Dichotoma) is a wonderfully-shaped aloe found in South Africa and Namibia. Its bark consists of beautiful golden scales. Quiver trees gather in families and once you’ve walked around them and composed your images, you’re never going to forget Kenhardt and its kokerboom forest.

Category: Culture & History

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