Acacia erioloba - Africa’s desert survivor

Despite the Australian botanists requiring Africa to stop using the genus Acacia, we don’t care - these magnificent trees will remain Acacia to us, particularly the much-loved Camelthorn.

With it’s distinctive spreading crown and deeply fissured bark, this tree is easily recognisable. The branches are often somewhat contorted in older trees, especially in arid areas like the Namib.

This tree is a feature on all our safaris - below, Wild Horses Safari

It loves the deep sandy soils of the Namib and often defines the sinuous watercourses in the central Namib (our Namib Desert Safari) providing both food and shelter to Giraffe - which are always a wonderful surprise in so arid an area.

With its distinctive large white thorns, seeing a giraffe delicately removing the leaves from around the thorns is a fascination. Called camel-thorn, after camelopardalis the genus for Giraffe, these trees are a favorite with the lanky mammal.

The lobe-shaped pod are eaten by most desert-adapted mammals: Kudu, Oryx and Zebra including elephant in the northern ephemeral rivers (above). The seeds survive the traverse through the gut and have a good start sprouting in the dung left behind by the mammals.

The bark and pods are used medicinally by locals, and the pods are gathered for feeding domestic stock.

The thorns make for a handy tooth-pick too!

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