The Indaba Tree at Pretoriuskop is a typical example of its type – many traditional villages in Africa have an 'indaba tree', where the community congregates to discuss important matters. Indaba means 'meeting' or 'meeting place'. One such tree is this historic Natal mahogany in the Kruger Park’s Pretoriuskop Camp.

Did you know?

Pretoriuskop is the oldest rest camp in the Kruger National Park.

Pretoriuskop is the oldest rest camp in the Kruger National Park. Here you'll find this Trichilia emitica, an expansive Natal mahogany, where one of the park's first rangers, Harry Wolhuter, held his daily staff meetings.

Wolhuter was a colourful character in his own right. He sometimes dressed himself in the skin of a lion that he had killed single-handedly, earning him the Swazi name of 'Lindana', which means 'loin cloth'. The Pretoriuskop Camp was originally the garden outside his hut. It remains the only camp in the park where non-indigenous trees are allowed to grow, because the park rangers feel that the red flamboyants and purple bougainvilleas that he planted are a nostalgic part of the park's history.

And of course, there is his 'indaba tree'. These days, it offers shelter to picnicking tourists and a sometimes a herd of plump impala who often come into the camp. 

The Natal mahogany makes an ideal indaba tree, with its wide-spreading crown and dark, glossy leaves casting a dense shade through summer and winter, when the African sun still burns white hot. It also has sweet smelling, creamy green flowers to add to the appeal of sitting beneath it. Its round fruits split open to reveal red and black seeds that are particularly delectable to birds and bees.

Please note, that although the tree’s seeds are edible, their outer covering is poisonous.

The sign on the tree offers the following information:

Trichilla emetic

Natal mahogany; Rooi-essenhout (Afrikaans); Umkhuhla (Zulu); Mosikiri (Tswana)

A medium to large, handsome, evergreen tree, 20m in height. Flowers creamy green, fragrant. Fruit a brown capsule. The black seeds, almost completely enveloped by the scarlet aril, are fascinating, as they have the vacant expression of a doll’s eyes.

The wood works well and takes a good polish but should be treated against borer attack. Suitable for furniture, household utensils, shelving and dugout canoes. In African medicine, the bark is soaked in warm water and the liquid used as an enema. The seeds provide a superior quality oil. This oil is rubbed into cuts made on a fractured limb in order to hasten healing and is also used to anoint the body generally. It may be taken internally for the relief of rheumatism and can be made into a good quality soap.

Travel tips & Planning info

Who to contact

Kruger National Park Central Reservations (Pretoria)
Tel: +27 (0)12 428 9111
Cell: +27 (0)82 233 9111
Email: reservations@sanparks.org

How to get here

The Indaba Tree is inside the Pretoriuskop camp in the Kruger National Park, close to the western boundary. The closest gates into the park are Numbi Gate and Phabeni Gate.

Best time to visit

The best time to see game in the Kruger National Park is during the drier winter and early spring months from May to September. However, in the summer rainy season, the foliage on the trees becomes denser and the park’s natural beauty is more apparent. There will also be lots of baby animals and the migrant birds will have returned. Try to do drives early in the morning and in the late afternoon/evening, when your chances of seeing game are the best.

Tours to do

There are many tour packages, guided game hikes and driving routes through the Kruger National Park.

Get around

You can drive around in the park in your own car, or arrange tours with the park’s officials.

What will it cost

Visitors to the Kruger National Park have to pay a conservation fee for every day they spend in the park. Check the SANParks website for details or call or email the park (details listed above).

Length of stay

Visitors can spend as little as a day or as long as they like in the Kruger National Park. It is the size of a small country, so there’s plenty to do and see.

What to pack

Cool clothes for the day, warmer clothes for the night, sunscreen, mosquito repellent, a swimsuit, a camera, binoculars and walking shoes.

Where to stay

There is loads of accommodation both in and around the Kruger National Park to suit just about every budget. Try to book well in advance, though, as it is not always easy to secure bookings in the Kruger.

What's happening

The Kruger National Park is an enormous park, and tourism opportunities abound in every surrounding area. Highlights near the park include the Blyde River Canyon, Mac Mac Falls, God's Window and picturesque towns like Sabi and White River.