A World of Succulents
The aloe has got to be one of the most taken-for-granted African plants of all. These gorgeous succulents of the floral kingdom take rugged good looks to a whole new level.
Plus, they’re among the few plants that come into bloom during winter when everything else is starting to hunker down for the cooler months. Not only does this add a dash of colour to the muted tones of this season, but it also provides food for many species of birds.
Namibia is home to twenty-two diverse types of aloe, with each possessing a unique beauty of its own and Arebbusch is proud to have one of the most grandiose varieties on our property.
Keep reading to find out more about the aloes of Namibian and especially the Windhoek aloe (aloe littoralis).
Types of Aloes You Can Find in Namibia
There are 650 distinct types of aloe. The most famous of these is aloe vera, popular for its soothing sap that can help ease itching and heal troubled skin.
Aloes are endemic to Madagascar, Arabia, tropical and southern Africa, and the eastern Indian Ocean Islands, although nowadays they’re popular in gardens across the globe.
They’re hardy, long-living plants with spiny leaves and curved, bell-shaped or tubular flowers arranged in a candlelight inflorescence. They come in all shapes and sizes from miniature specimens through tangled shrubs, to tall trees and are best propagated by cuttings, leaves or seeds.
The following species of aloe occur naturally in Namibia:
Most aloes can tolerate extremely hot temperatures and some, like Aloe pillansii, Aloe dichotoma, Aloe pearsonii, and Aloe ramosissima that grow in Namibia’s Richtersveld can stand temperatures in excess of 50C.
Most aloes cannot tolerate frost or being overwatered.
The Aloes of Arebbusch Travel Lodge
Aloe littoralis., also known as the Mopane aloe, is one of the few aloes that can withstand temperatures as low as -3 C. Littoralis means to inhabit the coastal plain, but this type of aloe grows all over Namibia, particularly in Windhoek. For this reason, it’s also known as the Windhoek aloe.
It prefers the hills surrounding the city, but it’s amenable to growing anywhere there’s alkaline soil, abundant sunshine, and birds to help with pollination.
As such, Arebbusch Travel Lodge has an abundance of exceptionally tall and striking Windhoek aloes dotted around the property and in our landscaped gardens.
It’s a tall, non-branching tree aloe that grows up to ten feet tall bearing 2-foot-long grey-green leaves arranged in a rosette formation. The leaves have reddish-brown margins and grow upward, drying with age until they sag and hang down the stem of the tree.
They’re exceptionally striking aloes with young plants sometimes bearing white spots on the leaves. During the winter, branching inflorescences rise dramatically three to four feet above the plant’s leaf crown bearing bright coral-red spikes of flowers.
Arebbusch Travel Lodge boasts several fine mature specimens of the Windhoek aloe that reliably burst into a pale rose-red to bright red bloom every year to add colour and life to our gardens. The flowers are a treat for our resident sunbirds, grey-go-away birds, and some of the other bird species at the lodge.
It’s a treat to watch them flitting among the flowers in search of the sweet nectar. Photographers delight in capturing snapshots of these lovely flowers, with or without the birds in attendance.
Experience the Aloes of Namibia in Living Colour
The best way to experience the aloes of Namibia is on a road trip to the country’s major nature destinations, where you’ll find them growing undisturbed in their natural habitats.
Winter is also a wonderful time to travel to this arid country as it’s peak game viewing season and also a little cooler if you want to enjoy outdoor activities. Either way, Arebbusch Travel Lodge is a good place to start if you want to enjoy this winter spectacle from the outset of your trip.
Browse our blog for more information on traveling to Namibia and book your accommodation with a view of these spectacular scenes right away.
Please Note: The details shared herein were correct at the time of publishing. However, with time some of this information may change. We recommend confirming information with suppliers prior to making final travel arrangements. If you do happen to find an issue with any information we’ve shared here, please feel free to contact us so that we can make the relevant changes.