Great news, tree lovers! The popular TheTreeApp SA is expanding and launching TheTreeApp Kruger. Now we can help you explore and identify all the green treasures of the Kruger National Park – and we can hardly contain our excitement. Even better: Nominate what you believe are Kruger’s best-loved trees to improve your experience with the app and enhance your discovery of Kruger’s branched beauties.

What is TheTreeApp SA?

After almost a decade of development work with a team of more than 100 participants, TheTreeApp SA was launched two years ago. This app is a sophisticated tool for your smart phone (and tablet) to help you identify indigenous as well as invasive alien trees in South Africa. Since the launch it has enjoyed two years of resounding success with tree lovers all over the country.

Fever-tree, Vachellia xantgoploea (Acacia) near Parfuri

TheTreeApp Kruger

With striking trees like Mopane, Baobab and Ebony Jackalberry – the rich wildlife is not the only attraction of the Kruger National Park. The special edition of TheTreeApp SA, TheTreeApp Kruger is launching on 1 November 2019. This app will enhance tree discovery in the lush greenery of the park and will have plenty of extra features to inspire nature lovers to discover for themselves and identify even more of Kruger’s native trees.

Baobab, Adansonia digitata, in north east of Kruger

“Other parks and reserves may follow, but Kruger was our first choice,” says Val Thomas tree guru and co-creator of TheTreeApp SA.

“We decided on Kruger because of its massive extent and wide diversity of tree-supporting habitats. The park also has magnificent rest camps, picnic spots and look-out points where visitors can hold real leaves in their hands, take close-up photos and even measure leaf or fruit length without picking or destroying any living material,” Val says.

Ebony Jackalberry, Diospyros mespiliformis, golden yellow leaves in late winter

“There are estimates by different ‘experts’, but TheTreeApp SA has unique new maps that record around 450 different tree species in the greater Kruger area. We will be able to identify 230 of these species within the boundaries of the official ‘get-out’ points.  It’s also exciting that over 84% of the trees that are within these walk-about areas are within their natural area of distribution in the park. This means that trees identified and ‘intellectually visualised’ using TheTreeApp SA in areas like the camps will be far easier to rediscover in the wild from the car,” she explains.

Val points out that many trees have been labelled for years, but there is nothing to tell you exactly what elements give the specific tree its name, genus and family. With TheTreeApp Kruger, the user goes through a step-by-step process to identify the shape, size and features of the leaves, flowers, thorns and fruit of the tree.

Baobab, Adansonia digitata with single, white, crinkly-petalled flowers

TheTreeApp Kruger will be a game changer,” she concluded.

New features of TheTreeApp Kruger not included in the TheTreeApp SA

Location mapping

The location mapping is applicable to the Greater Kruger area only, so the primary list of tree species is far shorter (450 instead of 1 114).

Additional trees

TheTreeApp Kruger will include up to 20 species that are not in TheTreeApp SA yet.

Tree species at rest camps

Material and lists for the species will be found in all Kruger rest camps, some main gates and official ‘get-out’ points. This means a user can click on e.g. Lower Sabie and search for a tree ID from a shortened list of 90 trees (whereas the general area has over 200 species).

Nominate your ideas for Kruger’s best-loved trees

Val Thomas needs your help to identify Kruger’s iconic trees. Send the name of your iconic tree with the reason why you see that tree as significant to [email protected] and you can help improve the app and aid users to identify different trees in the Kruger National Park.

Sycomore Fig, Ficus sycomorus, providing a feast of fruit for a vervet monkey

Good to know

You need WiFi solely for downloading the app, thereafter you do not need an internet connection to explore. TheTreeApp SA is available on Apple’s App Store or Google Play at R399.

Also read: Field testing the new tree ID app