With arm like branches and pot-bellied trunk, the enormous Baobab is home to birds, animals and reptiles. White-backed Vultures nest in the top most branches while the smaller inhabitants make use of the crevices and folds so iconic about this tree. Elephants rely on the Baobab during times of drought when the tree stores thousands of liters of water in its trunk.

Over in the Kalahari Desert, the Camelthorn cradles a giant nest. Home to a colony of Sociable weavers. The Cape cobra raids the nest but luckily the Weavers are eager breeders. Spiders, lizards and various insects make this tree their home and hunting ground.

Meanwhile, the Outeniqua Yellowwood towers over the thick indigenous forests of the Soutpansberg Mountains, but her wood is much sought-after and her numbers are in decline.

In Rooted, a five-part docuseries showcasing now screening on M-Net (101) Sundays at 16:00, audiences are offered a unique opportunity to delve into the hidden worlds that nestle between the branches of five of Southern Africa’s most iconic trees. A world that is often overlooked, each episode transports viewers into the life surrounding and enabled by The Camelthorn, Sausage Tree, Outeniqua Yellowood, the Boabab and the Namaqua Rock Fig.

Life behind the wonder

Rooted Media’s Barend van der Watt (Producer & Director of Photography) and Henk Ekermans (Cinematographer, Writer & Editor) are determined to make the invisible, visible. In fact, their natural history production company has already created content that has won illustrious accolades internationally – including the Best of the Festival Award at the 2018 International Wildlife Film Festival in the USA.

Many people would not think twice about cutting a tree down,” van der Watt tells DStv in an exclusive interview. “They make those decisions without realising that there are endangered species relying on that tree to survive. There are animals that call that tree home. Many of the trees we feature in this series, for instance, are extremely old – and once their cut down, they’re gone forever.”

After watching this series and getting a glimpse of the life that these trees enable, Barend hopes people will be inspired to think twice before engaging negatively with nature. “I sincerely hope that people are inspired to be more observant – even in their own gardens,” he says. “We should always be aware that every little crevice of every branch forms part of a much bigger picture.”


A story worth telling

As sustainable efficiency becomes increasingly “cool” for individuals and societies around the world continue to drive efforts toward limiting the effect of climate change, opportunities abound for production companies to create factually entertaining content. In fact, as Barend says, audiences are hungry for it.

Rooted, for example, took two years to make. According to Henk, the Rooted Media team travelled between each tree in different seasons to catch each tree during every season. This was done to tell the intended story to audiences in a quality they envisioned.

“Docuseries are really costly to make, but they’re in high demand – now more so than ever before – so content creators it gives us great pleasure to assist people in getting involved in conserving natural habitat,” he says.


Check it out for yourself. Watch Rooted Sundays on M-Net (101) at 16:00.

How to watch Rooted online

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