Platbos Forest

Milkwoods: A Plea for a Tree

by Francois Krige. At the heart of Platbos Forest stands a milkwood tree, it’s stem leans out at an angle, hollowed and knotted. It has stood there for 1000 years at least. It is not big, its trunk is over a meter wide and true to the name of the forest it grows in, the canopy is about 5 meters tall.

Milkwoods can grow much taller, and faster. Elsewhere in the forest where there is more underground water, there are trees double its height that are probably younger. Down on the coast, from Saldanha in the west, to Kenya on the east coast, on the rocky shoreline, the first vegetation to be found that is not seaweed is a milkwood.

Most Unique Forest Patch

by Professor Eugene Moll and Dr. Bruce McKenzie. Back in 1990 we published(1) our study of the forests of the Swartkransberg. Platbos was one of the five forest patches we sampled. We knew from Taylor´s work in 1961(2) that Platbos was significant – for a number of reasons:
There are extremely few forest patches remaining on flat ground in the Southwestern Cape Province, and even in South Africa – with those at Alexandria, just NE of Port Elizabeth, being perhaps the best known; together with those in northern KwaZulu-Natal that have been studied in more recent times.

Platbos – A Unique South African Forest Jewel

by Professor Eugene Moll. Between Stanford and Gansbaai in the Western Cape, hidden in the gently folded landscape, there are five substantial patches of indigenous forest. The largest and best conserved of these is Platbos (= flatbush/forest). The major portion of Platbos is owned by Francois and Melissa Krige, two ex-Capetonians who sold up everything they owned in the city to buy Platbos. They have dedicated themselves to conserving the forest and are assisted with this by two well-trained staff members from Gansbaai’s Masakhane township.