On a lone mountain in an outlying area of South Africa lies an almost forgotten grove of Yellowwood trees. These trees are not famous, they do not have clearly marked walkways or nice placards. Instead, they stand tall and are almost completely lost to history and most people. Surprisingly, these trees are possibly 800 years old and among them stand two of the tallest indigenous trees in South Africa.
The Thompson family have been advocating for the better protection of these trees for decades. They have been walking the slopes of the mountain, taking many interested people to see these giants. Clifford Thompson is said to have thought back to these trees and the beautiful forest while fighting in World War 2. The memory of the trees reminded him of home and a life far away. Nipper Thomson, his grandson was our guide and host in this remote location. Nipper and his wife Silvia hail from the small town of Haenertsburg in Limpopo. There they run an organic farm and dairy. Being completely off-grid the farm is a beautiful reminder of what farming could be. If you visit Haenertsburg, pay a visit to Wegraakbosch Farm and taste some organic cheese (which was taken to the Slow Food International cheese conference in Italy) and enjoy a tour of the farm.
We enjoyed this cheese, not on a platter with a glass of wine, but rather underneath the giant trees Nipper took us to see. Our objective was to measure these trees to see if they truly are the tallest, taller than the Big Tree in Knysna. During the first trip we only managed to climb one tree, which measured 37 meters tall! We immediately planned a second trip to take on what we began to call Clifford’s Tree (identified by Nipper’s grandfather) and whatever else we could climb. This will be featured in a second video which will be released in the coming months.
Where to stay: Wegraakbosch Farm
Phone: +27(0) 15 276 1811
- A Bicycle, a Tent and a Toothbrush: Part 1
- A bicycle, a tent and a toothbrush: Part 2