Trees so big you can live inside them!

Trees so big you can live inside them!

The idea of living on the inside of a tree is something that many of us will only ever hear about in fairy tales or fantasy novels. But in Southern Africa and Madagascar there is a tree that grows so large it enables people to do just that. The Boabab tree can grow to 11m in diameter, the length of an average truck, and has been known to reach heights greater than a 10 story building. Definitely big enough to live in!

 

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Malagasy child in Baobab Alley

It’s the tree of life because…

To many African people, it is capable of looking after basic needs. It is hollow on the inside like a cave, allowing people to build rooms within it, the bark is fire resistant, the fruit is rich in Vitamin C and the trunk can store up to 30 000 gallons of water. In recent years, people have been known to host shops and bars in these trees as seen below

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Inside the Baobab Tree

Above: A table and shelf from a bar/restaurant inside a Baobab tree.

 

It’s a money maker because…

In the west this tree has become a cash cow as it rakes in over a billion dollars per year through its medicinal value. In Senegal, the leaves are powdered and the economy has boosted through selling these leaves to medical institutes, and to restaurants across the African continent that use them in various foods.

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Baobab spices

Above: Spices sold to restaurants throughout Africa

 

Where can you go see them…

You can visit the Boabab Alley in the Menabe region of Western Madagascar. The Boabab has survived the deforestation that has occurred in Menabe over the years due to the respect the people have for this tree. The result has been a ‘Hollywood Boulevard’ of giant trees and has made the nomination board for the Seven Wonders of the World. The second place to see it is in Southern Africa, in countries like Le Botswana, Namibie, l'Afrique du Sud et Zimbabwe . Here you can walk amidst these beautiful trees and possibly stand in the middle of the second largest Baobab in the world, the ‘Chapman’s Baobab’ of Botswana. Both Boabab Alley and Chapman’s Baobab can be visited on Jenman Safari tours, to look at the tours these are found on, click on the corresponding links below.

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Baobab Alley

Above: (Left) People walking through Baobab Alley found on the Morondava Baobab Package (Right) A woman standing in the centre of Chapman’s Baobab found on the Botswana Lodge Explorer

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