July 24: When I Grow Up I’d Like to be a Ziziphus Mucronata Twig

Today I spent a short time with a lovely friend at Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens; a place I didn’t take nearly enough advantage of when I lived just down the road years ago.

Kirstenbosch Bothanical Gardens, Cape Town

“It’s so GREEN! Greengreengreengreengreengreengreengreen….”

And I was really excited to find lots and lots of SPEKBOOM! I’ll always love Spekboom. It’s a plant that brings me back to carefree days spent at Addo Elephant Park, when i’d sit back in my campsite and pick at the little succulent leaves all afternoon. Or i’d scare people at the hide by browsing the leaves like a kudu or adding them to my sandwich (a good tactic to employ if one wants a whole hide to themselves). I’m really into free bush food.

Yummy Spekboom

So today at Kirstenbosch I munched a few Spekboom leaves for the sake of nostalgia. The Botanical Gardens probably have some sort of policy against eating its plants. But the leaves are very juicy and taste a little like an acidic pea. Supposedly, they taste better in the evenings than they do in the morning. I do love it when nature goes all quirky.

I was somewhat disappointed that I couldn’t find any Buffalo Thorn trees (Ziziphus mucronata) among the huge collection of indigenous plants. I love Buffalo Thorn because not only do the leaves taste great, but it also carries a lot of meaning in its distinctive zig zaggy branches. For example, if someone you care about dies down in a mine or in a cave or anywhere else below the surface where their body can’t really be recovered, no worries, simply find the nearest Buffalo Thorn. Snap off a twig, and voila, you’ve got your friend back! Just place the twig on the ground above where your buddy died, for long enough to suck up their spirit, and then bring the twig home to bury it.

But because your twig now physically embodies your friend, you’ll need to pay its taxi fare home. And buy it a Wimpy Burger at the service station. Really. This is why I love Buffalo Thorn. I think i’d quite like to be buried as a Buffalo Thorn twig. I’m loving my ‘death-plan’ at the moment. Body= vulture restaurant, burial= twig.

Another highlight were these little water droplets on some velvety leaves. It’s been a while since i’ve seen little water droplets on anything.

There are little corners of the world where water still falls on things…

The real ‘wow’ moment of the day were some Honey Bees swarming an aloe with bright orange flowers. As they move about, the orange pollen sticks to their legs like little orange leg warmers. I imagined them all making an 80’s fitness video and it made me smile. “1-2-3-4- get that pollen then get some more!” I imagine honey bees aren’t all that creative with their rhyming.

Before leaving, I had to visit my favourite place in the gardens. A natural spring with lovely fresh (and tasty!) water and some magical little rocks that I always manage to slip and fall on.

There are places on this earth where drinkable water comes up from underground…

My magical rocks. Love.

Love Cape Town.

(I didn’t even bother to bring the camera today. Alles snapped with phone…)


Cape Spurfowl
Cape Robin Chat
Cape White Eye
Karoo Thrush
Karoo Prinia
Double Collared Sunbird
Guinea Fowl
Egyptian Goose
Tiny Fish Things

2 thoughts on “July 24: When I Grow Up I’d Like to be a Ziziphus Mucronata Twig

  1. Anna Tinker says:

    Thank you so much Sarah! You’ve made my day! I’ll absolutely go and find it next time i’m lucky enough to visit Kirstenbosch. Sadly, with such a short time to wander on this trip, I didn’t get to visit the sculpture garden.


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