South Africa’s Famous Upside-down Tree

Have you hugged a baobab today? Restore your sanity! There are many on Mapesu Nature Reserve and a young one at the lodge just waiting to be hugged.

Safari Lodge in South Africa | Safari in Limpopo | Mopane Bush Lodge

The baobab or Upside-down Tree (Adansonia digitata), is the undisputed king of the African savannah and occurs in South Africa mainly north of the Soutpansberg Mountains and in the extreme north of the Kruger National Park. The giant tree with its enormous girth and dominating appearance is steeped in legend. Remember to ask why you should be careful not to walk around a baobab seven times!

The trees average about 25 meters in height when fully grown with trunk diameters of up to 10 meters and can be thousands of years old. The trunk is smooth and shiny, unlike other trees, and is pinkish grey or sometimes copper colored. The Largest Baobab tree is found in Zimbabwe and is so large it can house up to 40 people inside its trunk.

The largest tree near Mopane Bush Lodge is an awe-inspiring 25 meters in circumference, known as the Lord Hamilton Tree, and has probably been growing for close to 3000 years.

The tree can even support its own ecosystem. The Baobab provides food, shelter, and shade for the largest to the smallest of creatures. Birds nest in its branches, baboons eat its fruit, bushbabies and fruit bats drink the nectar, and Elephants are known to knock down and eat the whole tree!

A baby baobab looks like nothing its fully grown counterpart. And when the tree dies, it rots from the inside and falls upon itself leaving a heap of fibers. That’s why the Bushmen don’t believe it grows like other trees and that they just magically appear.

According to native legend, the trees once stood upright and proud, but then the gods took the tree and thrust it into the ground upwards, giving it, its distinct look. Another Baobab in Zambia is said to be haunted by a ghostly python that the natives used to worship.

Mopane Bush Lodge takes its guests to experience the majesty of the Hamilton baobab.

Be enthralled with the stories, superstitions, and beliefs about these monoliths of the Africa bushveld.

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