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QUIVER TREE FOREST KOKERBOOM (in Afrikaans) Aloe Dichotoma first recorded by Simon van der Stel the Dutch Governor of the Cape


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Quiver Tree Forest Namibia - Kokerboom (in Afrikaans)

Aloe Dichotoma first recorded by Simon van der Stel the Dutch Governor of the Cape


If you are driving in the Keetmanshoop district of Namibia you'll see quiver trees on many of the hill sides, but a short detour to the Quiver Tree Forest that is situated on Farm Gariganus 157 will make for some excellent photographs of a 'tree with a difference'.


Simon van der Stel (1639-1712) who served as Governor of the Cape Colony from 1679 to 1699 was a great explorer and the first European to record the Quiver Tree whilst prospecting for copper in Namaqualand, North Western Cape in 1685. The expedition's artist Hendrik Clauduis made sketches of the tree.

The English artist, explorer, cartographer (John) Thomas Baines (1822 - 1875) whilst trekking from Walvis Bay to Otjimbingwe in April 1861 made sketches of the Trees and named it, 'The Great Aloe Tree Of Damaraland'.  He wrote of his first sighting of the tree, "Indeed, at the risk of incurring the reader's contempt, I confess I can never quite get over the feeling that the wonderful products of nature are objects to be admired, rather than destroyed."


Quiver Tree Forest area

Forest on rocky outcrop

Quiver Tree

Aloe dichotoma

Trunk bark

Quiver Tree Trunk Section


The Quiver Tree is only naturally found in the North Western Cape and Southern Namibia running up into Damaraland.


The Quiver Tree (Kokerboom in Afrikaans) is not really a tree, but a plant, being the Aloe dichotoma. The 'trees' are normally seen standing singly, in very arid and rocky areas, and they are usually found on rocky north-facing hills. It is quite unusual to see them grouped 'forest-like' as can be seen on the Farm Gariganus 157.


The trees can grow to between 200 and 300 years old, reach about 9metres in height and have a base diameter of about 1 metre. The Quiver Tree trunk is tapered and covered with a rich brown yellow patterned bark that flakes off giving a scaly  effect to the trunk. The edges of these scales can be

General LOcation of Quiver Tree Forest

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2628'S - 1814'E

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quite sharp, so be careful if you intend to run your hands over them. The core of the trunk is mainly fibrous which allows for water storage. Older trees bristle with a profusion of branches that are silver in appearance. The tree branches exudes fine droplets of a liquid that when dried leaves behind a silver talcum like powder that helps to reflect the sharp light. A natural sun-screen that also helps the tree to keep cooler. 


Quiver Tree

Aloe dichotoma

Aloe dichotoma

Aloe dichotoma

Trunk bark

Quiver Tree Trunk Section

Quiver Tree Forest area

Forest on rocky outcrop


The long spiked leaves of the Quiver Tree grow up to about 30cm in length and are also covered with a fine layer of silver powder. The Quiver Tree first flowers when between 20 to 30 years old. The flowers are a bright yellow in colour and bloom during the southern winter months of June and July. The fruit is oval and has six longitudinal grooves.


The San Bushmen would cut a branch from a tree, hollow out the fibrous inside, fit an end cap and then use this as a quiver for their arrows. Thus the name given to the tree.


Quivertree with LeRoux


The bark is glossy

Glossy bark

The inner trunk is very fibrous and can hold a lot of water

Fibrous trunk

Tree Leaves

Spiked leaves

Tree Fruit



You'll enjoy a stay over at the Guest Farm Gariganus. They have cheetah and a pet Warthog that make for some good photos.


Ottie the pet warthog at Gariganus

Ottie's tusks

LeRoux tickling Ottie's tummy

Ottie snoozing

Cheetah at Gariganus

I'm watching

LeRoux being a bit cautious with a feeding cheetah

Le-Roux taking it carefully


Acknowledgements and further reading: H10, H12, P1


Of Interest: Koker is Afrikaans for Quiver. The Old-English the word for a quiver was Cocor.The Present English word quiver is from the Old-French Quivredichotoma is derived from the word dichotomous meaning forked branches

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