Figs and drums

Sabi Sand | October 2020

October is the start of our summer months as you can see from the green colour. We were doing morning game drive when my tracker stopped me and pointed at a big tree with lots of fruit and the different sounds of birds calling, flying, and fighting for the fruit. A sycamore fig tree (Ficus sycomorus) grows to a great size and has edible fruit. As we stopped with our guests (a family with 2 children), one of the children wanted to eat a wild fig. My tracker picked a few of the fruits and started eating them and handed some over for the children to try.

Whilst we were eating the fruits one of the parents asked me if it was only birds that eat these fruits? I replied that in fact a lot of animals enjoy the fruit, like warthogs and antelope, however, it is the African green pigeon that favours these figs. I know baboons, monkeys and bush babies eat them from the trees as well.

After I mentioned baboons and monkeys the kids were unhappy but they had already eaten the fruits! I explained to them how they can survive in the bush and which animals they follow to copy what they can eat out here.

Interestingly, the wood from the trunk of this tree is used to make the type of drums that were played during the previous evening’s boma dinner. I explained the importance of all the big trees that we had seen on our game drives and how important they are to all that we see around us from tiny insects to huge mammals.

When we were back at the lodge the kids we interested to see those drums that were played the night before. I explained about the animal skin used to complete the drums and it was amazing to see how the kids were so happy to know how the drums were made from the various materials.