Did you know?
Quiver tree's branches make popular sites for sociable weavers' gigantic nests.
The quiver tree forest in the Northern Cape invites you to step out of time as you enter the world of these ancient giants. These remarkable trees (Aloe dichotoma), which together comprise the largest aloe forest in the world, are a cornerstone of Khoisan culture. They are also just one part the rich floral heritage of this remote outback, in which you'll find the small towns of Nieuwoudtville and Loeriesfontein.
This aloe tree forest was a gathering place of Khoisan hunters who would journey here in days long gone to source holders for their arrows. The hollowed out branches of the tree made excellent quivers to hold their poisoned hunting arrows.
These trees, which have distinctive smooth branches and scale-like bark, grow to 400 years old and produce vivid yellow flowers in May, June and July, as they have been doing for many thousands of years. The moment you enter this forest, you will be transported back to the ancient world of the Khoisan and still further back in time to an age before any human footprints passed this way.
The quiver tree forest will make an indelible impression on you; it will silence you and inspire you; it will remind you that time is profound and that this natural world has witnessed far more than we will ever know.
The quiver tree forest is situated on Gannabos, a private farm whose owners, Merwe and Liezel van Wyk, graciously allow visitors onto their property to experience this extraordinary sight. A trail of visitors journey to the forest each year: it is a coveted location for photographers and botanists, and a favourite stop-off for visitors from all over the world who annually visit this region to experience its legendary spring flower extravaganza.
The aloe tree forest is included in the flower maps of the area. If you are travelling to this area or if you are en route to the Augrabies Falls and the Kalahari, make a point of taking the turn-off to Gannabos.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
How to get here
Travel to Nieuwoudtville (a road trip of four hours from Cape Town) then drive for 25km towards Loeriesfontein. Take the turnoff to Gannabos, which is the farm on which the quiver tree forest is situated.
Best time to visit
Any time of the year, but if you wish to see the quiver trees in flower, then May, June and July are the best months to visit.
Around the area
In Loeriesfontein, don't miss out on an outdoor museum featuring dozens of windpumps - a spectacular sight.
What will it cost
Entrance to the forest is free.
Length of stay
Spend a few days in the area in spring. Nearby Nieuwoudtville is known as the 'bulb capital of the world'.
What to pack
Good walking shoes, water, hat, food for the road. Meals are offered by most of the guest houses and hotels in the area.
Where to stay
There are cottags at Gannabos farm. There is also some accommodation in nearby Loeriesfontein, and plenty of options in Nieuwoudtville.