Planning to bring wood to the desert for an artwork, theme camp – or even as firewood for your camp? Please read the info below – it’s critical that our community are aware of an invasive beetle that is devastating trees across South Africa.


So, it turns out – wouldn’t you know? – that thanks to human activity, an invasive and highly destructive species of borer beetle from Asia, the Polyphagous Shot Hole Borer (PSHB), has begun to spread in South Africa. And when we say destructive, we mean it: this tiny beetle bores into many different species of trees and introduces a fungus that effectively kills the affected tree outright. But how does this relate to our event?

Here’s the deal: if you’re coming from from one of the affected areas of South Africa – KZN, Gauteng, Free State, North West and the Garden Route – and you plan to bring wood (as firewood for your camp, or as part of your planned artwork, theme camp or mutant vehicle), you could unwittingly be helping to spread the destruction. Here’s our advice:

– if you plan to bring firewood, buy it at your last viable stop, as close as possible to our event location
– if you’re bringing logs or cut wood for a creative project, inspect the entire load for the characteristic signs (shown above) of ‘shotgun’ holes on the wood, that are about the size of the tip of a ballpoint pen. Also look out for sap or ‘sawdust’ coming out of these holes.

Turns out, the Western Cape (through which an estimated 80% of you travel en route to the Tankwa Karoo) is packed with just the kind of species of trees that the PSHB loves to hop onto and kill. Don’t enable this spread: please share this info with everyone you know who plans to bring wood to our 2019 event.

For more info and latest updates on PSHB, click on over to this Facebook group.

(thanks to Paul Barker for his alerts and assistance with info on this issue)

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