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BAOBAB TREES - Adansonia digitata. Named after the French Botanist Michael Adanson. Subject of much African legend...

 

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Baobab Tree - Adansonia digitata

Named after the French Botanist Michael Adanson. Subject of much African legend

   

Baobab Tree - What's in a name:

Westerners trading with 16th century Egyptian merchants came to know to the parts of the tree used for medicinal purposes, or for flavoring as being named Bu-Hoab. The French botanist Michel Adanson (1727 - 1806) who's valuable contribution to the science of botany was honored by having the tree named after him. The tree is also referred to as being the 'cream of tartar tree' and 'the monkey bread tree' and the 'sour gourd tree'

 

Baobab Tree Namibia 1063

If you are staying over in the Grootfontein area and you haven't stood next to one of these massive growths, then a visit to the Farm Keibeb is worth the time and effort for this is where "Tree No 1063" is situated. A most impressive tree in spite their unusual appearance they are the subject of many African legends. The young tree bares little resemblance to its mature version and are difficult to recognize as being and this gave rise to the Bushman belief that there were no young Baobab Trees and that the fully grown trees were flung down from the heavens and being 'top heavy' land upside down on the ground with their roots in the air. The famous British missionary

explorer Dr. David Livingstone described the tree as being like, 'A giant upturned carrot'.

 

Baobab Tree - There are 8 species

  • Adansonia digitata - African |  Central & Southern Africa
  • Adansonia grandidieri -Grandidier's | Madagascar
  • Adansonia gregorii - (syn. A gibbosa) - Boab or | Australian Baobab, New South Wales
  • Adansonia madagascariensis - Madagascan
  • Adansonia perrieri - Perrier's | Madagscar
  • Adansonia rubrostipa (syn. A. fony) Fony |  Madagascar
  • Adansonia suarezensis - Suarez | Madagascar
  • Adansonia za - Za | Magagascar

Baobab Treet 1063 Namibia General Location of Attraction

 

 

Otjozondjupa Region

1880'S - 1840'E

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What to See

Grootfontein Map

Baobab Tree

Gaub Cave

Hoba Meteorite

Khorab Memorial

 

 
 
 

 

The African Baobab is the best know of the species and its distribution has been greatly assisted by humans. They can be found in the semi-arid areas from the sub-Saharan region of the continent down to the Tropic of Capricorn.

 

Trunk Size: The average trunk diameter of a Baobab Tree is 5 meters, but up to 12 meters are not uncommon and they can attain heights of about 30 meters. The trunks do not have annual growth rings, making it difficult to accurately age the tree. The shape of the trunks varies from bottle - cylindrical - tapering and often two or more trunks will occur. The wood is soft and fibrous being able to store up to water. A fully grown tree can hold up to 120,000 liters of water.

 

Baobab Tree wrinkled but smooth trunk bark

Smooth trunk bark

Baobab Tree knobbly roots

Knobbly roots

Baobab Treet bark damaged with with name carved.

Vandals been here

Baobab Tree finger like twigs

Finger-like twigs

Baobab Tree flowers at 20 years of age.

Flowers at 20yrs of age

 

Some Baobab Trees have hollow trunks and often doors are fitted to the openings offering a secure lock-up. Baobabs equipped in this way have served as store-rooms, prison cells and even bars. In northern Namibia the Baobab at Ombalantu in Owamboland was once used as Post office, whereas one at Katima Mulilo in Caprivi Region has been fitted with a water flushing toilet.

 

Age: There are African stories that tell of Baobabs that are one or two thousand years old, but as the tree does not produce annual growth rings they are difficult to age. These claims are viewed with skepticism by botanists.

 

The bark: is about 2.5cm thick, glossy light grey-purple in color and normally smooth, but can form as lumps as seen above. The bark is used for medicinal purposes and for making a type of cloth and even rope.

  

The Baobab Tree As A Provider:

The Baobab plays an important role in the lives of many Africans as it provides for many of their needs.

 

Leaves: The Baobab remains leafless for about nine months of the year throughout the dry season. When in leaf the large palmate leaves are commonly used as a 'leaf vegetable' in stews and soups. The leaves are dried and ground into a powder that is taken to help stop diarrhea and stomach ailments, and is used as preventative for excessive perspiration.

 

Bark: Freshly cut bark is pulped to extract an acidic juice that can be taken as a remedy for fevers and is used as a disinfectant and mouthwash. The acidic pulp is also used as a poultice that can be used for helping to draw out poison from insect bites or an infected area.  The bark is fibrous and is often used for making ropes, baskets, and even cloth.

 

The Fruit: Can be eaten fresh, and the whitish pulp used for making 'Cream of Tartar'. Dried they can be ground and used as a substitute for coffee.


Getting to Baobab Tree 1063 Namibia

 From Grootfontein drive on the B8 road towards Rundu. After 4km look carefully for the road sign for the M 73. It is small and can be easily missed. Turn left onto M73. After 8km turn right onto the D2848. After 39 km there is a T junction. Drive straight on the road now becomes the D2855. After 33km you will see the Baobab Tree sign on your right.

From the car park it is about a 700 meter walk to the Tree.

Allow about 3 hours. The return trip from Grootfontein is about 170km. 

 

Acknowledgements and further reading:  H12, P1, W13

 

Of Interest: Antoine de Saint-Exupery's much loved story of The Little Prince tells of trees (Baobabs) as big as castles that grew on his asteroid. The  writer poses the question, 'Why are there no other drawings in this book as magnificent as this drawing of the Baobabs?" The reply is simple, "I have tried, but with the others I have not been successful. When I made the drawing of the Baobabs I was carried beyond myself by the inspiring force of urgent necessity."

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Namibia National Heritage Plaque

Baobab Tree

on Farm Keibib

was proclaimed a

National Monument

on 02.07.1951

 
 
 
 
 

 

 
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