These trees are great teachers and give me great inspiration.
By Honest Sangweni, Game Ranger at Rockfig Lodge, Madikwe
The most common Rock fig trees that you find in Madikwe are Large Leaved Rock figs. These trees are fascinating in the way they grow, as they stand out prominently in rocky outcrops, making them an ‘outstanding’ feature from the other trees. (It is a wonder that the trees do not fall over, they look so precariously balanced on the edge of cliffs.)
They stand out tall and beautiful with almost evergreen leaves. The leaves are favoured by many herbivores, most common of which are rock dassies, baboons and in reachable areas, giraffes.
Rockfig trees produce delicious edible fruits which are greatly sort after by baboons, birds and humans. The fruit are very sweet, but need to be eaten with caution, as they contain a species of worms which breeds and feeds on it, and if eaten can cause stomach aches.
The dried fruit have many health uses. They are used by Shona men to help with heart problems. The fruit is dried in the sun and the women then grind them to powder which is eaten. It is believed that you get healed instantly. They have many other uses, one of which has been used of old by our ancestors, to act as a fire starter. The Rock fig’s large leaves are also used for baking buns.
The Rock fig tree has some of the longest roots of any tree. Their roots need to penetrate in between the rocks, for stability and descend deep underground to access water and soil for nourishment.
These trees are great teachers and give me great inspiration. They teach that no matter how hard the situation seems to be, in the end, there’s is happiness, only if you fight hard through all the obstacles.