Rhodes Tree Planting Project

By Bruce Beyer

Rhodes is above the tree-line. This means that no large indigenous trees are to be found at this altitude as they cannot survive the cold at 1821m above sea level. How is it then that the village is full of enormous trees?

Local legend has it that the village was named Rhodes in the hopes that the mining-magnate and then Prime Minister of the Cape, Cecil John Rhodes, would bless the village with a railway line. Alas, this was not to be and the legend has it that he sent a wagonload of trees instead.  

oaksMany of the trees in town are as old as the village and are therefore an important part of the history of the town and worthy also of the conservation status bestowed on the village in 1997.

The visitors that never left are Normandy Poplars (Italy), Oaks (Euro), Pines, cypresses, cedars, willows, pears, and many more, a veritable arboretum.

As these trees reach the end of their life cycle we’re starting to lose some of them to disease, lightning damage, wind damage and old age. We have witnessed the loss of the Crack Willows that lined the river banks, removed by working for water. Alien “Black Locust” trees are invading parts of the town and old Weeping Willows are burnt out for firewood by locals. The idea is to plant new trees to beautify the village whilst at the same time offset our carbon on our visits to Rhodes.

The Rhodes Tree Project was started in 2008 by Bruce Beyer,,  an architect and landscaper from Cape Town, a landowner in Rhodes who chairs the village’s aesthetics advisory committee, Bruce surveyed the village trees and designed a development plan.
See the Rhodes Concept Development plan here. The plan will provide:

Please help us by donating towards this dream. All trees:


A breakdown of the costs per tree are as follows. This is a non-profit venture and all costs listed here are to cover the venture in such a far off place. Costs will come down as numbers of trees increase. We also plan to teach locals to run the project. All accounts and activities of the “The Rhodes Tree Project” are totally transparent.

labour    R95     includes experienced team to teach locals, first 20 trees
tree    R100    20l root ball sized tree, approximately 600-1000mm high
transport    R75    half of trip, Bruce and team from Cape Town
compost    R10    sourced locally, bakkie load of well rotted kraalmis
fertiliser     R5    Bounceback
Dri-Water    R20    1 X 90 day carton to subsidise watering
staking    R40    4 X  “droppers” to secure weldmesh
protection    R90    2.6lm of weldmesh
watering    R15      Locals trained to water at regular intervals

TOTAL: R450 per tree

Offset your Carbon Credits:  If you’re from Jo'burg (1 600 km return) you’ll need to plant half a tree
and if you’re from Cape Town (2 800 km return) you’ll need to plant 1 tree per trip to Rhodes

When making a donation, please indicate your name, e.g. RhodesRDunn as reference and please copy your proof of deposit to  
Bank details:
Acc name:- Co-creators
ABSA branch 512 809
Check acc:- 40 7126 5823