The Post Office Tree

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Sharing today, a very old tree that stands testimony to changing times. Have you been to South Africa? Then, I’m sure you will know about the Post Office Tree in Mossel Bay?

This 600 year old ancient milkwood tree, located in the Bartholomieu Dias Museum Complex of Mossel Bay, South Africa, is believed to be the country’s very first mailbox.

The story goes, that before returning to India, a Portuguese sea captain by the name Pêro de Ataíde who had lost much of his fleet in a storm, had written a message reporting the damage and warning of rough waters to the East. Ataíde had tucked the message in a boot dangling from a milkwood tree near a spring where sailors often drew water.

As luck would have it, the message reached its intended recipient, Joao de Nova, the following year. The tree thus became a de facto post office box, where sailors would exchange letters protected in boots, iron pots, or beneath rocks. Till this day, the tree continues to send and receive mail.

A large post office box shaped like a giant boot has been constructed beneath the tree, where people can send letters anywhere in the world and receive a special stamp. And, yes, delivery now takes less than a year. 🙂


Joining Parul today for #thursdaytreelove which is a photo feature on Parul’s blog where you get to see beautiful trees from different places. If you’d like to join in, do visit her blog to know more. 

  • Pratikshya Mishra


    Wow . Strange and fascinating one. The tree had served such a unique purpose. Interesting story behind the majestic tree.

  • Archana


    Wow! That’s so unique!! An old beautiful tree that connects people 🙂

  • Parul Thakur


    Wow! That’s such an amazing history. I loved that you shared a picture and the story from those days. I would love to see this one day 🙂 Thank you so much for joining.

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