The 19 Biggest Trees in South Africa

When people think about South Africa, they often picture a place with a lot of trees, and that isn’t unrealistic. The truth is, Africa not only has a lot of trees, but it also has a lot of very large trees. In fact, the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry can classify one tree or even a group of trees as “champion” trees, which must meet certain size and other requirements to be on the list. Currently, there are tons of different trees on that list!


Africa has roughly 22 million acres of forested land, and thanks to its climate, it isn’t difficult to understand why trees grow so abundantly here. The trees on this list can be very tall, very wide, or both. Many of them are also very old, which is partly why they are so large. Whenever possible, the exact location is listed. In some instances, however, only a vague description or location was found. Nevertheless, it shouldn’t be difficult to find most of these trees in person.

If you’re a tree lover and plan to visit South Africa anytime soon, this list will probably thrill you. It is filled with some of the biggest trees on the continent, and rest assured that there is something unique and special about every tree listed here.

19. Langbos se Oupa, White Milkwood (sideroxylon inerme), 45 feet

Sideroxylon inerme White Milkwood tree
Abu Shawka Sideroxylon inerme – White Milkwood tree

Also called the Grandfather Tree of Stilbaai, it is located in Hessequa, Western Cape in South Africa. It is indeed the largest milkwood in South Africa and is estimated to be about 1,000 years old. It is northwest of Stilbaai and has a girth of around 32 feet.

18. Tamboti in Marken, Limpopo, Tamboti (spirostachys africana), 54 feet

Spirostachys africana
Mooivallei Spirostachys africana

The tree is located on the property of Shelanti Game Reserve in Marken, Limpopo, in South Africa. In South Africa, the tamboti is a protected tree, and this particular one is the largest of its species in all of Southern Africa. The crown of the tree covers a full 253 square meters, and the species itself grows best    when planted in altitudes of 3,200 feet or higher. It also has a girth of about 16 feet.

17. Deodar in President Brand St., Bloemfontein Free State, Deodar (cedrus deodara), 65 feet

Cedrus Deodara
Yay Cedrus Deodara

This is an interesting collection of trees planted by various dignitaries in the past. The deodar found here has a circumference of seven feet and a crown of around 56 feet. It’s a majestic-looking tree even if you don’t consider where it came from, but if you do that, it becomes even more unique. While you’re there, you’ll have lots of other unique trees to view.

16. Sagole Baobab, African Baobab (adansonia digitata), 72 feet

Sagole Baobab
Scott Davies Sagole Baobab

Also called the Sagole Big Tree, it has a circumference of around 98 feet and in fact, it would take 18 to 20 people standing next to one another with open arms to encircle the entire tree. It is the largest baobab tree in South Africa and is located east of Tshipise in Vendaland on the Limpopo Province. Also, thanks to two other trees collapsing in the past 10 to 15 years, this tree is also the stoutest tree in South Africa.

15. Norfolk Island Pine in Cape Town, Western Cape, Norfolk Island Pine (araucaria heterophylla), 75 feet 

Norfolk Island Pine Araucaria heterophylla
J Brew Norfolk Island Pine (Araucaria heterophylla)

With a girth of around 13 feet, this is a beautiful Norfolk Island pine that is found in the garden portion of the Company’s Garden in the City of Cape Town. Although it looks like a standard tree in many ways, this tree is not ordinary in the least, as you’ll learn if you ever visit it. In fact, if you love pine trees, you owe it to yourself to pay this tree a visit.

14. Wonderboom Fig, Wonderboom Nature Reserve, Wonderboom Fig (ficus salicifolia), 75 feet

Ficus salicifolia Wonderboom
JMK Ficus salicifolia – Wonderboom

This tree is around 18 feet in girth and is found in the Wonderboom Nature Reserve in Pretoria, Gauteng, South Africa. More specifically, it is located in the district of the City of Tshwane. If you’re anywhere near this part of the world, you owe it to yourself to pay the tree a visit.

13. The Vergelegen Tree, Camphor Tree (cinnamomum camphora) 86 feet

Camphor trees Cinnamomum camphora
Martinvl Camphor trees (Cinnamomum camphora)

This 86-foot tree is located in the garden portion of a historic wine estate known as Vergelegen in Somerset West, Western Cape. The trunk is phenomenal in size and the crown is just as large and majestic-looking as the rest of the tree.

12. Beefwood in Cradock Eastern Cape, Beefwood (casuarina), 88 feet

Mark Marathon Beefwood

This species of trees has wood that is a dark reddish-brown color, which some people think looks like beef; hence the name. Its trunk is not very thick but it spreads out at the top with beautiful branches and leaves. It is certainly an eye-catcher, especially this particular beefwood tree.

11. Queensland Kauri in Cape Town, Western Cape, Queensland Kauri (agathis robusta), 90 feet

Queensland kauri
Tatters: Tatiana Gerus Queensland kauri

The Queensland kauri in Cape Town is tall and regal-looking, so much so that many people planning special events schedule them around this tree so that they can take pictures with it. Although this one is found in Cape Town, the species itself is native to Australia and is found mostly in the southern part of the continent.

10. Cluster Fig Giant in Mica, Limpopo, Sycamore Fig (ficus sycomorus), 101 feet

sycamore fig
krugergirl26 Sycamore Fig

This is the largest cluster fig tree in all of South Africa, and its crown is a whopping 126 feet. The circumference is only around four feet so it is a tall and slender tree, but its height of more than 100 feet more than makes up for this. Still, it is a very impressive tree to visit when you get the chance.

9. The Baynesfield Tulip Tree, Tulip Tree (liriodendron tulipifera), 112 feet

Tulip Tree
Michiel Thomas Tulip Tree

This beautiful tulip tree was planted in 1882 by Joseph Baynesfield on his magnificent estate. It can still be visited today and is nearly 150 years old. It also has a circumference of around 21 feet.

8. London Plane Tree in KwaZulu-Natal National Botanical Garden, London Plane (platanus × acerifolia), 115 feet

Platanus × acerifolia
Kristina Bernhardt Platanus × acerifolia

Planted in 1908 by Mr. W.E. Marriot, this tree lives in a section of the botanical gardens that highlights very old trees, so none of the trees you see here are newer trees. In fact, there are a total of three of these trees in the gardens, and they are all extremely tall.

7. Aleppo Pine in Claremont Cape Town Western Cape, Aleppo Pine (pinus halepensis), 115 feet

Aleppo Pine Pinus halepensis
Christian Ferrer Aleppo Pine (Pinus halepensis)

Found in Arderne Gardens and planted by John Arderne and his son more than a century ago, this pine tree has a circumference of around 18 feet and stands at a stately 115 feet high.

6. The Marico Tree, Monkey Thorn (acacia galpinii), 121 feet

This is the tallest monkey thorn tree in all of South Africa and has a circumference of around 18 feet. It is located in Veeplaas in Skuinsdrift in Groot Marico Northwest Province.

5. King Edward VII Tree, Outeniqua Yellowwood (afrocarpus falcatus), 128 feet

King edward vii tree
Yay King Edward VII tree

With a girth of around 23 feet, this tree is located near the Diepwalle Forest Station in Knysna in Western Cape, South Africa. Although it is a huge tree, it is also a very old tree. The tree was planted around the year 1350, give or take 10 years, making it 662 to 682 years old as of 2022. There are other large trees nearby, but none as large as this one.

4. Matumi, Matumi (breonadia salicina), 131 feet

Matumi Breonadia salicina
Bernard DUPONT Matumi (Breonadia salicina)

Known for growing mostly in moist forests and around perennial rivers, this tree grows to around eight feet in girth and is found in numerous parts of South Africa. Although animals tend to stay away from it, humans use it for everything from boats to furniture, and it was once used to make railroad sleepers. The tree is known as Mingerhout in Africa and has long, slender leaves as well as a slender trunk.

3. The Irene Champions, River Red Gum (eucalyptus camaldulensis), 144 feet

River Red Gum Eucalyptus camaldulensis.
denisbin River Red Gum (Eucalyptus camaldulensis)

These are actually several trees found in Irene Farm Estate. The tallest one is 144 feet tall and has a circumference of around 21 feet. Most of the trees on the farm were planted in the late 1800s, so they are all very old and very large trees. Please note that you can only visit this tree by appointment only, so plan accordingly.

2. Brackenhill Gum Tree, Karri (eucalyptus diversicolor), 230 feet

This enormous tree is found in Brackenhill and is only viewed if you make an appointment beforehand. It is found in Harkerville in Cape Town near Kruisfontein State Forest and roughly 15 feet in circumference. The tree is 100 years old and was planted in 1922.

1. Sydney Blue Gum in Haenertsburg, Limpopo Province, Sydney Blue Gum (eucalyptus saligna), 259 feet

Sydney Blue Gum Eucalyptus Saligna
Geekstreet Sydney Blue Gum (Eucalyptus Saligna)

This gorgeous tree was planted in the 1930s by forestry pioneer A.J. O’Connor, and it currently can be seen near his memorial at Woodbush Plantation. It has a circumference of around 14 feet and can actually be viewed from several viewpoints in and around the area.