Milkwood trees are a familiar sight in Stilbaai and as it is a Protected Tree, one will see many huge milkwood trees as it is illegal to move, destroy or damage it without a valid permit.
There is, however, one special milkwood tree. It is ‘Langbos se Oupa‘ or the grandfather in the Langbos Woods. Situated in the Langbos Woods on the property of the Kleinhans family about eight kilometres outside Stilbaai, this is the largest white milkwood tree (Sideroxylon inerme) in South Africa and is one of 75 ‘champion’ trees in the book ‘We are the Champions’ about exceptional important trees that deserves national protection because of their remarkable size, age, aesthetic, cultural, historical or tourism value. ‘Langbos se Oupa’ is most probably older than a thousand years and grows between a variety of indigenous tree and shrub species in Langbos.
Tree trunk diameter : 10.45 metres
Tree top : spans 475m²
To visit this Grand old daddy is not easy and one can not reach it without a 4×4 vehicle. Contact the farm owners (the farm has been in the Kleinhans family for five generations) first to get permission and a map and then set out in a 4×4 vehicle to tackle the thick, loose sand and thousands of molehills that add to the challenge on route to Langbos. One has also have to tread lightly as especially tortoises might be using the same ‘road’.
Once at Langbos, one can not help but stand in awe of this huge, old three as well as its surroundings. It is a quiet forest where the ‘beards’ from the branches move slightly in the breeze and the moss shows the areas that do not see much sunlight. Although overgrown, there is a path and one can hike in the woods for an even better experience.
It is interesting to note that a milkwood tree, close to the farm Olive Grove on the eastern bank of the river, was earlier used as a ‘post office’ when post was put in a leather bag and hung on a branch. This tradition was done away in 1890 when a post office was built.
Visitors can make arrangements to visit ‘Langbos se Oupa’ by contacting Alta Kleinhans at Tel: 072 798 3234.
- ‘We are the Champions – The Champion Trees of South Africa’ by Enrico and Erna Liebenberg
- Stilbaai’s first ‘post office’
- Visit mystilbaai.co.za on Facebook for more photos