Trees of Namibia
Sycamore fig (Ficus sycomorus): The sycamore fig is also known as the cluster fig and grows up to 20m high with a trunk diameter of up to 2m. A spreading crown can span up to 45m. The distribution ranges from the Naukluft and south-western escarpment to the plains, riverbanks, pans, depressions and springs in western and northern Namibia as far as Epupa Falls, Bwabwata NP and the far-eastern Zambezi Region (formerly the Caprivi Strip).
The bark is a distinctive yellow with various darker yellow tinges. Mature branches are hairless and yellow-brown. Spirally arranged leaves are dark-green above and dark olive-green on the undersides. The figs grow in thick clusters on the main stem and branches, initially green before turning yellow with red streaks. Although the fruit grows throughout the year, larger numbers display from October to November and from February to March.
The non-toxic white latex is used to soothe inflammation. The bark can treat diphtheria and diarrhoea. Fruit can be eaten raw when ripe or made into an alcoholic drink. Dried figs once roasted substitute for coffee. Goats and livestock brows the leaves and guineafowl, wild pig and antelope eat insect-infested fallen fruits.
A luxury camp on the banks of the Kunene River close to Epupa Falls and Himba settlements
Set high on the hill above the settlement of Epupam offers good views of the Kunene River and surrounding area.
A comfortable tented camp close to the Epupa falls, the big swimming pool is a welcome relief from this area's usual heat.