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Devil’s Claw – Africa’s Herbal Remedy for Arthritis and Inflammation

Despite the ominous name, there’s nothing devilish about this plant, Harpagophytum procumbens. In fact its magical healing properties have been known by the San and other ethnic groups in the Kalahari for millennia. In this episode, Gus (the African Plant Hunter) ventures into the wilds of the Kalahari desert in north-eastern Namibia to go and …

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When Rain isn’t Really Rain – the Rain Trees of Gonarezhou

When all around you is dry, but the tree you’re standing beneath is unmistakably raining, inevitably you ask yourself questions. When Gus (aka “the African Plant Hunter”) was told as a youngster that the raindrops were actually insect urine, he believed it, and warned all his friends to stay away from the “Rain Tree”. Now, …

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Tree #48 Historic Trees of Zimbabwe – The Baobab at Sibuyu Pan

Along the old Hunters Road that runs between Zimbabwe and Botswana lies a small pan, called Sibuyu pan, named for the impressive baobab tree that once stood next to it. Before the completion of the railway in 1904, travellers from Cape Town to Victoria Falls (a journey by horse or ox cart of up to …

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The Weird and Wonderful Baobabs of Lekhubu Island, Botswana

In the middle of the spectacular white expanse of the Magkadigkadi salt pans lies a small island, whose exact location was long held as a closely-guarded secret amongst a few lucky adventurers. Once inhabited by an ancient civilisation linked to Great Zimbabwe, Lekhubu island (sometimes Kubu) is still a uniquely spiritual and ethereal place. In …

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Tree #1 Historic Trees of Zimbabwe – Zimbabwe’s First Jacaranda

In October, the streets of Zimbabwe’s capital city, Harare, are a riot of purple blossom from the spectacular jacaranda tree. In this episode, Gus, the African Plant Hunter, takes us to the site of the very first jacaranda tree in Harare. Introduced to Zimbabwe in the 1890s, the jacaranda is native to Mina Gerais in …

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Buchu – Quintessential Fragrance of the Cape Floral Kingdom

When early Dutch settlers first came to the Cape in South Africa, they were struck by the pervasive and intoxicating smell of the Buchu bush. They didn’t know they had reached one of the most biodiverse regions in the world, but they quickly learned of the rich history of traditional use for many of the …

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Better Quality Baobab for Better Lives in Africa – Update From Kenya

The baobab is no ordinary tree. Not only are its fruits packed with nutrients, its seeds also make an exceptional moisturising oil, and trade in its products generates much needed income for rural harvesters across Africa. But if the quality of those products is below par, consumers won’t buy them and the harvesters won’t make …

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