About Woodstock Treaty Tree

There are almost 2000 National and Historic Monuments listed by SAHRA (The South African Heritage Resources Agency), but not many of them are trees. And even fewer can claim to stand right in the heart of the hipster suburb of Woodstock in Cape Town.

Did you know? Trendy Woodstock is a side-by-side shadow dance of designer boutiques, antique shops, restaurants, and art galleries with a largely poor multi-racial community.

The Treaty Tree, also known as the Old Slave Tree of Woodstock for it was under its shade that slaves were bartered and others hung for their ‘crimes’, stands hidden in amongst houses just of Albert Road.

It stands on what used to be Cape Town’s beachfront, on the corner of Spring and Treaty roads, about 2 km east of the city bowl. It’s a huge white milkwood (melkhout in Afrikaans; umqwashu in Xhosa) found along the coast between the Cape and northern KwaZulu-Natal.

It was later renamed the Treaty Tree as the treaty that signified the end of the Battle of Blaauwberg was signed under its branches in 1806, marking the second British occupation of the Cape.

Treaty House, which stood alongside, survived well into the 20th century but was eventually demolished to make way for a factory in 1935. But its likeness has been captured by numerous artists, and even a couple of old photographs exist.

The tree is well over 500 years old and, in keeping with its characteristic low-growth, its evergreen, gnarled branches and skew trunk lean out across the fence that protects it. The tree is towered over and crowded in by neighbouring buildings, its branches functioning as little more than moorings for abandoned plastic bags.

Find it: Take the Church Street offramp from the N1 into Woodstock, drive along Albert Road until the corner of Spring and Treaty roads.

Need to Know

WhereWoodstock Treaty Tree, Corner of Spring and Treaty Roads, Woodstock, Cape Town, South Africa

WhenBest during daylight hours.

OvernightStay in Woodstock Accommodation, Cape Town


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