Posted on 22 Jan 2020

Types of firewood in South Africa

In so many of our homes, the hearth is the heart of the home. Short, but sometimes harsh winters can only be thawed by the reassuring heat of an authentic wood fire. Here in South Africa, we are fortunate to have some of the world's best types of firewood to rely on.

Hard dense wood from resilient native tree species is excellent for giving a long, slow and satisfying burn. In this article, we explore some of South Africa's best firewood and how you can burn it to the best effect.

Ideal choices for your wood-burning stove

These types of firewood are best used for open fireplaces and closed wood-burning stoves, they are hardwoods that burn long and are easy to come by in South Africa

Blue Gum

Originally introduced to South Africa by Australian settlers, this much-prized hardwood variety has flourished and become an enduring staple of the timber industries. As a firewood, blue gum is notoriously difficult to process as it often does not grow straight and its aromatic eucalyptus wood can take a long time to fully season. When burnt, blue gum comes into its own, burning long and hot with minimal smoke and a distinctive eucalyptus aroma long into the night.

Black Wattle

Also known as myrtle wood and pepperwood, black wattle is a slightly soft wood that is favoured for use in pizza ovens. It burns hotly and the characteristic long straight sticks are ideal for getting a good fire going quickly.

Rooikrans

This Acacia species was introduced from Australia and is well known as excellent firewood, especially across the Western Cape where it flourishes. This is a great choice for a distinctive aromatic burn.

Kameeldoring

This is an iconic SA native, suited to growing in the dusty, sandy soils across Southern Africa. Its hard dense red-toned wood is excellent for a wood-burning stove as it burns richly and produces good coals. Its low moisture content exceeds even seasoned wood for an incredibly efficient burn with all the aroma and atmosphere of the bushveld.

Great for the Braai as well as the fireplace

These aromatic South African firewoods are great for adding aroma and smokey flavour to your braai as well as being a wood-burning staple.

Sekelbos

Also known as the 'sickle bush', this wood burns well, creating hot long-lingering coals which are ideal for the braai or stove. It has a delicious smokiness that is great on cold nights or while braaiing your favourite meats.

Mopane

This famously hard and dense African wood comes from the northern regions of South Africa. It is extremely long burning with a clean clear heat that makes grilling a joy.

Get the most out of your firewood

Once you have selected your firewood of choice you will need to ensure that it is well seasoned, meaning very dry, usually this is done by sun or kiln drying.

Invest in a quality fireplace or wood burner with good ventilation for safe effective wood burning with these choices of firewood. Always ensure that you keep your fireplace or stove clean and well maintained to get the very best out of your wood-burning experience.