Baines Baobabs, Botswana

The Nxai Pan National Park has recognized the importance of the Baines Baobabs, and efforts are in place to ensure the protection of these trees in the future. The Baines Baobab trees derive their name from Thomas Baines (who was a member of the Livingstone Expedition); he painted a group of Baobab trees that became famously known as the ‘Baines Baobabs’. According to sources, he completed the painting between 1861 and 1862, and he was overwhelmed with the rare sighting of these fantastic baobab trees. Over the years many other people also had painted these Baobabs, including Prince Charles. The Baobabs have become a popular sight to see and a fascinating Botswana Safari attraction.

These ‘7 giants’ of Baobabs dominate a small island on the edge of the KudiaKam Pan, a lovely area to visit on all Botswana safaris. The Baines Baobabs have changed very little since the original painting by Thomas Baines, except that the popularity for visiting these ‘sleeping sisters’ has grown. The site of the baobabs has been dated back to between 105 000 and 128 000 years, thought to be around the same time that this area was a beach on the edge of the super lake. On your Botswana safari you can reach the Baines Baobabs from the Nxai Pan National Park by taking the Nxai Pan access road, which is approximately 200km from Maun/Nata.  On all Botswana safaris there is a permit required for entering the gates of Nxai Pan National Park, but it is well-worth the visit.  Photographic safaris are popular at the Nxai Pan National Park because of the Baines Baobabs, and the majestic sight of these wondrous trees will stay with you forever.

The common name for the Baines Baobabs is Adansoina, which refers collectively to 8 species of trees that are native to Africa, Madagascar and Australia. Other names for Baobabs are ‘boab’, ’boaboa’, and to many people they are simply known as the ‘upside down tree’ because the tops often look like tree roots.… These magnificent trees can reach heights of between 5 and 30 metres and the trunk can measure anything between 7 and 11 metres. Unlike normal trees, they do not provide any growth rings therefore when calculating their age one has to make use of different and more complex calculations than counting rings. The Baobabs store up to 120 000 litres of water inside the swollen-looking trunks, to ensure survival in the rough, dry conditions that often affect Botswana.  Safaris in this area make the most of the surrounding conditions, and your Botswana safari should not miss the terrific Baines Baobab trees.