Hartbeespoort, South Africa by Adriana Benetti Longhini

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Picture Story

I have always loved the African fever tree also known as Acacia xanthophloea. Growing up first in Tanzania, East Africa, many of my childhood safaris with my grandparents and parents were to the great national parks like Serengeti and Lake Manyara. As a child, we would play games as to who could spot the first Twiga tree. (twiga in swahili means giraffe) The genus of the fever tree, acacia, stems from the Greek word, “acantha” meaning spine, thorn or prickle and has pairs of long straight white thorns which are often the staple diet of the giraffe. The name for the fever tree has Greek origins, xanthophloea, refers to the tree’s bark, “xanthos” meaning yellow and “phloios” meaning bark and to touch the velvet texture of the bark is amazing. The Fever tree trunks and main branches are used as fencing to keep hippos out of cultivated areas or to keep the cattle herds of the local Maasai tribes protected.

However, I photographed this particular and magnificent tree on the shores of the Hartbeespoort dam in South Africa early one morning as I had seen it during the day and it was facing in the right direction for a sunrise shot. Waiting for the sun to rise above the Magaliesberg hills in the area was excruciating as only we landscape photographers know too well. As the huge sun came over the hills and lit up the water with the silhouette of the tree and Egyptian geese grazing, I knew I had the shot I was looking for. She is a beautiful tree and I hope to photograph her again in different atmospheric conditions.

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