7 Fascinating Baobab Trees To Visit Around The World
Known as ‘upside down trees,’ Baobab trees are one of the most iconic emblems in Africa. With huge hollow trunks, these ancient trees have long been recorded in history for serving as makeshift shelters, post offices, jails and even local pubs. A total of nine species of Baobabs can be found around the world. Six species are from Madagascar, two can be found in Africa, and one is in Australia. Here are our favorite Baobab trees you can visit around the world.
Chapman’s Baobab, Botswana
In the stark landscape of the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans in Botswana, Chapman’s Baobab was once a famous local landmark used by ancient explorers as a non-official post office in the 19th century. It was named after James Chapman, a South African explorer who visited the area and famously noted being ‘lost in amazement, actually, at the stupendous grandeur of this mighty monarch of the forest.’ The tree measures 25 meters wide with seven main trunks and is known by locals as the Seven Sisters. Believed to have been more than 1,000 years old (possibly even as old as 6,000 years!), Chapman’s Baobab has since fallen over and now lies on its side in the barren landscape of one of the largest salt flats in the world. Early travelers and foreign explorers have left their mark on the trunk which can still be seen, and today, the tree is protected from grazing animals by a waist-high gate. A ring of stones and a sign marks the spot as a National Monument. But while the tree may have collapsed, its legend lives on and scientists are hopeful that the roots may once again establish themselves.
A further 80 kilometers from Chapman’s Baobab, a second famous cluster of baobabs attracts tourists traveling the Botswana salt plans. Painted by gold prospector and painter, Thomas Baines, this ancient oasis once provided shelter for wagons during the Livingstone Expedition up the Zambezi. Situated on a small island on the edge of the Kudia Kam Pan within the Nxai Pan National Park, Baine’s Baobabs is made up of seven giant trees overlooking a deserted pan. There is nothing else around here, barring a few shrubs and the occasional oryx. These baobabs are now a national monument.
Did you know that you can zip line between ancient baobab trees in an adventure park in Senegal? Tucked within a forest of baobabs, Accrobaobab Adventure is the very first of its kind to offer canopy rides exclusively between Baobab trees. Situated 65 kilometers from Dakar and 10 kilometers from the coastal resort of Saly in front of the Bandia wildlife reserve, people from the age of four can enjoy tackling this exciting aerial obstacle course with both zip lines and rope climbing on the program. Running from 25 – 315 meters above the ground, Accrobaobab is the largest canopy in the world and offers extraordinary views along the way.
The Big Baobab, South Africa
On a quiet farm in Modjadjiskloof, Limpopo, an enormous baobab tree made history as the widest and one of the oldest on earth, estimated to be more than 1,700 years old. The 22-meters high tree which famously housed a bar within its hollowed out interior sadly fell over in April 2017. The earlier part of the tree is still standing, and if you still want to view it, the bar is still open for business in the grassy areas around the ancient tree where you can enjoy ‘bring n braai‘ (barbecues) and picnics. According to scientists, the fallen stems may root themselves and form again.
The Prison Tree, Australia
Famously known as the ‘Baobab prison tree,’ the ancient baobab in Kimberley is a large specimen located just south of Derby in Western Australia. While there is no evidence proving the theory, this tree might have been used in the 1890s as a cell for Aboriginal Australians who were taken as prisoners to sentenced in Derby. Today, the tree is a popular tourist attraction and a sacred site.
The Avenue of the Baobabs, Madagascar
It’s a royal road lined by gigantic Baobab trees that links Morondava and Belon’i Tsiribhina in western Madagascar – and it’s one of the island’s most famous tourist attractions. These 20-something old trees, estimated to be over 800 years old, were once enshrouded in a thick tropical forest. In the years since the forests have been cleared for farming and only the Baobab trees remain – fast on their way to becoming Madagascar’s first natural monument. If you’re planning on taking some photos, the Avenue of Baobabs is best visited at sunrise or sunset for the best lighting.
Baobab Amoureux, Madagascar
Just five kilometers from the Avenue of Baobabs lies this unique Baobab tree often referred to as ‘two baobabs in love.’ These two trees have twisted together over the years and inspired many legendary tales about a man and a woman who wished to be together forever. However, as they were already set to be married to other people, they asked God to help them be together for eternity. This entwined Baobab is believed to be the result. The site is a favorite among young lovers and women who wish to have children.
Living for hundreds and thousands of years, the ancient Baobab has been the center of much folklore and history. Make sure you visit these fascinating natural sites before it’s too late.