Let's explore the different types of firewood in South Africa and their characteristics
Each type of wood has its own unique characteristics, including burn time, heat output, and aroma. Some woods may produce more smoke or sparks than others, which can impact their suitability for certain situations. Therefore, it is crucial to choose the appropriate type of firewood for your needs to ensure efficient and safe burning.
In South Africa, there are several types of firewood commonly used for fireplaces. Although you can burn "braai wood" in fireplaces, it is not necessary as braai wood is generally more expensive and would be a waste of money (your wife might get mad).
Below we will examine various types of firewood that are easily accessible and considered invasive in South Africa. It is worth noting that there are also other types of firewood available, such as Mopani and Rooikrans, as well as wood from trees that may have been cut down in one's own backyard or illegally harvested indigenous wood. However, these may not be as readily available as the invasive species we will be discussing.
Blue Gum, which comes from the Eucalyptus tree, is a popular choice for firewood in South Africa. It is a hardwood, which means it burns for a long time and produces good quality coals. Additionally, it is relatively inexpensive. Key characteristics of blue gum are:
Blue gum firewood can be quite difficult to ignite, so it is recommended to start it with kindling and firelighters. It is best used in wood-burning stoves. Although it can also be used in open fireplaces, you may want to burn it with a softer wood like black wattle to achieve a nicer flame.
Black Wattle is a popular choice for firewood in South Africa due to its excellent burning properties. It is a medium-hardwood that burns relatively quickly and produces a bright and lively flame. Black Wattle is readily available and extremly invasive in South Africa. Key characteristics of blue gum are:
This wood makes a great choice for easily starting a fire without the need for kindling or firelighters. Black Wattle is versatile and can be used in both wood-burning stoves and open fireplaces.
If you are looking for a firewood that produces a nice flame, consider burning black wattle in combination with hardwoods like blue gum, sekelbos or kameeldoring. This will help balance out the burning properties and provide a great fire experience. Overall, black wattle is an excellent choice for firewood due to its ease of use and affordability.
Sekelbos is a type of wood commonly used for braaing in South Africa. It is a hardwood that burns hot and produces a lot of coals, making it ideal for braaing over an open flame. Key characteristics of Sekelbos are:
Sekelbos is also known for its unique flavor profile, which is why it is so popular for braai. The wood imparts a distinct smoky flavor to the food, adding depth and complexity to the taste.
Overall, sekelbos is an excellent choice for firewood if you are planning to do some braai. It may require a little extra effort to get the fire going, but the end result is well worth it.
Kameeldoring, also known as camel thorn wood, is a type of wood that is highly prized for its excellent burning properties. It is a hardwood that is known for its density and extremly long burning time and heat, which makes it a popular choice for braaing. Key characteristics of Kameeldoring are:
Once the fire is going, kameeldoring burns slowly and steadily, providing a long-lasting source of heat. The wood also imparts a unique and pleasant flavor to the food, making it a popular choice for braai enthusiasts.
Overall, kameeldoring is an excellent choice for firewood if you are looking for a hardwood that burns hot and produces a lot of coals. It may require a little extra effort to get the fire going, but the end result is well worth it.