South African Transkei Shrooms: Potency, Cultivation Tips, & Origin Story

The Transkei shrooms are one of the only magical mushroom strains known to have originated from the Rainbow Nation.

By Dan Simms Last Updated: January 16, 2024
Last Updated: January 16, 2024
Artwork By Carina Kuntzsch

The South African Transkei mushroom strain originated in South Africa within the former Transkei province of South Africa (now a part of the Eastern Cape province).

These shrooms have a distinct pyramid-shaped caps and gnarled or twisted stems. Unlike many other strains of Psilocybe cubensis, identifying the South African Transkei shroom is fairly straightforward as it doesn’t resemble any other cubensis strains we know of.

The South African Transkei shroom strain is an interesting one, as it’s the first psychedelic mushroom strain ever discovered and documented — at least in modern history — that is native to South Africa. Other species exist on the continent, but the South African Transkei is one of only a few cubensis strains that grow here naturally.

Magic mushrooms grow worldwide, but they prefer moist climates, at least for part of the year. South Africa’s hot, arid deserts are typically unsuitable for psilocybin mushrooms. This is one of the reasons why there are so few Psilocybe cubensis strains originating from this part of the world.

The original sample was collected in the early 2000s, where it was growing in a pile of cow dung in the shade of a tree near the Indian Ocean. The documentation surrounding the original sample is stellar, and the site of the spore collection can more or less be pinpointed on a map.

South African Transkei Shroom Specs

PotencyAbove Average 💪
SpeciesPsilocybe cubensis
Substrate RecommendationRye Grain or Brown Rice Flour
Sold ByRalphsters Spores, Sporeslab, Spore Store, Spore Bank, Lil Shop of Spores

South African Transkei Shroom Potency & Psilocybin Content

Most users report a more intense trip with South African Transkei shrooms than most other strains, including open-eye visuals, fractals, and a sense of connection to the world. 

Only one sample has been submitted for testing in the bi-annual Psilocybin Cup for testing. This sample, submitted in the Spring 2022 Cup by Mushroom Monk registered with 0.83% psilocybin, 0.02% psilocin, and 0.92% total tryptamines. This would classify the Transkei strain about average (0.5% to 0.9% tryptamines).

However, we believe most people can expect even higher than this when cultivated under optimal conditions. Many of the samples we’ve tested ourselves with this strain were notably stronger than what we’d consider “average” strains like Golden Teacher or Koh Samui.

We suggest the typical potency of this strain is well above with tryptamine concentrations in the 0.8–1.6% range.

Keep in mind that the potency can vary quite a bit among samples within a strain, so take this estimate with a grain of salt.

South African Transkei Shroom Variations & Genetic Relatives

There is only one known variation of the South African Transkei strain: the Trans Envy strain.

The Trans Envy strain is a cross between Penis Envy and the South African Transkei strain. It was reportedly created accidentally when a cultivator mixed the two in a single fruiting chamber. After noticing some mushrooms growing that didn’t look like either strain they were cultivating, the spores were collected and isolated into what is today referred to as Trans Envy. 

The resulting strain is a standalone variety with a super-high potency and large size from the South African Transkei strain.

Where to Buy South African Transkei Shroom Spores

Because of the strain’s unique history, many cultivators seek to get their hands on South African Transkei spores. Luckily, there are quite a few places you can reliably get these spores.

If you live in the US, Ralphster’s Spores, Spore Store, Spore Bank, and Lil Shop of Spores are all great places to buy these spores.

If you live in Canada, Sporeslab is a good place to turn, as it often (but not always) has this strain in stock. 

If you live in Europe, you can check The Magic Mushroom Shop or Viking Spores.

Related: How & Where to Buy Magic Mushroom Spores (Legally).

How to Grow South African Transkei Shrooms

Cultivating South African Transkei shrooms yields large fruiting bodies that are quite photogenic. They have gnarled stems and a pyramid-shaped cap with a light orange or whitish color, with gills and spores that are black and purple. 

These shrooms are reasonably resistant to mold and disease, suggesting they’re a good option for beginner cultivators. However, the yield isn’t quite as impressive as something like Golden Teachers or Koh Samui

This strain naturally grows on mammal dung but should do just fine on more common substrates. This strain doesn’t take well to ice baths, so avoid using this method during the fruiting stage.

For more information, you can read our more thorough guide to magic mushroom cultivation.

Similar Strains

The South African Transkei shroom strain brings a lot of joy and great psychedelic experiences to cultivators and users alike. Below are some similar strains — either in their growing process or the trip they provide — that you can also try out.

Trans Envy Shrooms

As mentioned above, the Trans Envy strain is a cross between the South African Transkei strain and the Penis Envy strain. This hybrid offers a similar growing experience, but it is considerably more potent — owing to the Penis Envy genetics.

Cambodian Shrooms

The Cambodian strain is a great option for you if you enjoy the deep history of the South African Transkei strain and want something else that offers an intriguing backstory. This strain was found near the Angkor Wat temple in Cambodia and is believed to have been used in religious ceremonies there as far back as 1,100 AD.

Aztec God Shrooms

Aztec God shrooms are one of the most sought-after strains for their history. This strain — or, more likely, its ancestor strains — is documented by Spanish explorer Bernardino de Sahagun and found in statues found throughout Central America that suggest that it has been around and used by humans for thousands of years.

Penis Envy

Finally, if you enjoy the high potency of the South African Transkei strain and feel like you need something with a little more kick, the Penis Envy strain might be for you. This strain is one of the most famous in the world of magic mushrooms, and it’s best known for having the highest psilocybin and psilocin content of any Psilocybe cubensis. The only strain that consistently competes with Penis Envy in terms of potency is the Tidal Wave strain — which is, in fact, a progeny of Penis Envy. 

Strains vs. Species: What’s The Difference?

The term “strain” refers to a genetic sample of a mushroom that continues to exhibit distinct characteristics generation after generation. These characteristics can include physical appearance, potency, and how the strain colonizes and resists mold. The term “species” refers to a genetically unique subset of mushrooms.

We use strain terminology for plants and fungi that humans often use, so it’s not a concept unique to magic mushrooms. Cannabis is a great example, as there are countless strains that look different and contain varying levels of THC — like Pineapple Express, Blue Dream, and AK-47 — yet they belong to the same species: Cannabis sativa

We also differentiate between strains of kratom (Mitragyna speciosa)— like Green Bentuangie and Red Hulu — and kava (Piper methysticum) — like Melo Melo and Pouini Ono.

Final Thoughts: South African Transkei Shrooms

The South African Transkei magic mushroom strain belongs to the genus and species Psilocybe cubensis.

This strain has a rich history and is famous for being one of the only cubensis strains from the African continent and for its characteristic gnarled, curly growth pattern.

If you’re interested in the history or potency of the South African Transkei shrooms but want something a little different, check out the Trans Envy strain, the Cambodian strain, the Aztec God strain, and the famed Penis Envy strain.