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Quiver Trees and the Giants’ Playground

March 10, 2018

Not far from our third night lodge is the Quiver Tree Forest, and our timing was great as we began exploring it leading up to the golden hour. The trees are actually a variety of aloe, which became obvious on close inspection of the leaves.  Fuzzy rock hyraxes scuttled amid the rocks, and one even took a high perch to gaze at the sunset.

Quiver trees grow only in Namibia, and this is the largest concentration of them in the country. Most of them are 2-300 years old. The forest is set in a field of tumbled volcanic rock, and I wondered where the volcano was that had deposited them there. Later, when I examined my map, I found a marker for an extinct volcano a short distance north.


Industrious sociable weaverbirds often select these sturdy trees to build their nests, and other birds are welcome too, like these lovebirds.


As the light turned golden, the papery trunks of the trees turned a creamy yellow, amplifying their texture; and the gradually setting sun created dramatic silhouettes.

After dinner (kudu ragu on rice) we returned to the forest to try our hand at Milky Way shots. Unfortunately, I’m having issues with focusing my camera, so my photos were disappointing, but I remember well what I saw!


The next morning found us at the Giants’ Playground, an even larger field of boulders that indeed looked as if petulant giants had tossed them randomly, some landing in unlikely stacks. Tenacious quiver trees sprouted from between the rocks.

As the sun rose higher and became more intense, we hit the road toward our next destination, Luderitz. Along the way we crossed an actual river (vs. the countless dry riverbeds that had been the norm) and spotted a small herd of feral horses, descendants of a stud farm herd let loose in the 1920s when drought put the rancher out of business. Today, there’s a woman who manages the herd by providing water and feed stations, and the animals don’t wander far in this desolate land.


  1. Marlo Quick permalink

    Stunning. Absolutely stunning!


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