The Whispering Tree
Common Wild Fig
|(We didn’t stay too long, mindful of this strangler and the power that it has)|
Over the years, we have visited so many remarkable trees, some Champions in every respect, others simply majestic beasts that command the landscape. Admiring these colossal ancient beings, we have always wondered what stories and secrets they share. Touching the trees attempting to connect and extract some of the power and wisdom they have acquired over the centuries. Alas, finding it difficult, as if we do not possess the psychic abilities to share and exchange in a common language that is mutually beneficial.
|(The elaborate canopy blocking out the sunlight)|
|(Scale is everything and you can appreciate why this Majestic Tree received its Champion Tree status)|
In December of 2020, we were fortunate to visit the Champion Whispering Tree of Albertinia, nestled in an elaborate setting at the Voelroepensfontein Guest House and writers retreat in the Western Cape. How privileged we were to meet the very proud owner who, without hesitation, welcomed us into her world.
|(Roots hanging down like thick hair, a labyrinth within the twisted and contorted trunk)|
Sharing her forest garden, a haven of exotic trees, Marietjie was excited to take us on a journey through her writer’s paradise and old-world time Guest House. Clinging to every word as she carefully explained the history of how she purchased the smallholding due to her love of the majestic trees that adorned the property. She found her peace and serenity, eventually establishing the location as a Guest House and writers retreat. In harmony with the tourism theme of this quaint rural town, a place of rejuvenation and inspiration, “Healing through Nature”.
|(The Champion Common Wild fig tree in all its glory)|
|(One must appreciate the canopy spread and the coolness it provides)|
The wild fig Champion tree has a raised platform so that you can comprehend and appreciate the immense structure supporting a canopy that spreads out like a spiders web, engulfing the sky as its limbs reached above, blocking the sunlight.
|(Estimated to be more than 150 years old, this iconic tree takes centre stage in this elaborate garden)|
We studied this colossus from every elevation and admired its changing appearance, careful not to get too close in fear of being entangled by its parasitic roots the hung like thick hair ready to swallow us into its labyrinth. This Gentle Giant stands solemnly, his dark side directed inwards. It was the height of summer, appreciating the cool beneath the canopy; his sunny side was now smooth and gleaming.
|(We admired The Whispering Tree and listened intently to stories from years gone by)|
|(The Strangler at work trying to engulf our son)|
After posing for a few photographs with the family, we shared a quiet moment, connecting, listening as the tree whispered secrets and shared many tales of hope and dreams for the future.
Staying for a while and enjoying the bird song (Voelroepens-fontein) is an apt description for this unique setting. A lone high pitched calling of the Brown Hooded Kingfisher distracted me; we lost our connection with the champion Wild Fig. It’s moments like this that makes our quest to connect with all the champions of Southern Africa so rewarding.
|(The Whispering Tree on the Voelroepens-fontein Guest House)|
We hope to take you along on our journey across our striking African continent in an attempt to capture these unique national monuments in Southern Africa.
|(Entrance to a magical world where Champion Trees, natural spring fountains and birdsong abound)|
Join us as we explore deeper, travel further and uncover more of these majestic trees; please like and share our stories.