The Beautiful Baobab

“Knowledge is like a Baobab tree, one person’s arms cannot encompass it.” – African proverb

On the ride from St. Louis towards The Gambia, we have passed many impressive baobab trees and one evening we even camped beneath one.  I thought I’d share with you some of the photos…

Baobab monochrome

Baobab monochrome

The Baobab tree, Adansonia digitata, can grow to impressive sizes with a trunk cirumference up to 25m.

Baobab tree, Adansonia digitata

Baobab tree, Adansonia digitata

On looking inside the hollow trunk of the tree, which as we closed in on it tens of little lizards scampered into the dark hole, you could see a couple of bats sleeping upside down. Indeed, the baobab tree is pollinated at night by these furry, flying mammals from the white flowers of the baobabs velvety green fruits. The fruits are often used for making tasty, refreshing drinks…

Impressive Baobab tree with hollow trunk

Impressive Baobab tree with hollow trunk

The baobab tree is referred to in many myths and legends in Africa. Here’s one of them…

The baobab was among the first trees to appear on the land. Next came the slender, graceful palm tree. When the baobab saw the palm tree, it cried out that it wanted to be taller. Then the beautiful flame tree appeared with its red flower and the baobab was envious for flower blossoms. When the baobab saw the magnificent fig tree, it prayed for fruit as well. The gods became angry with the tree and pulled it up by its roots, then replanted it upside down to keep it quiet.

And I have to say, they really do look like their roots are sticking upwards, out of the ground.

Baobab by night - sleeping under the stars

Baobab by night - sleeping under the stars

And the tree looks just as impressive silhouetted at sunrise, as it did in the night sky…

Baobab silhouette at sunrise

Baobab silhouette at sunrise

I may only be four months into my cycle ride to Cape Town, but I think the Baobab tree is going to be one of the enduring images of my hourney.

Baobab on the African savannah, Senegal

Baobab on the African savannah, Senegal

6 Responses to “ The Beautiful Baobab ”

  1. Love the pics. You seem to be stretching futher south from me all the time – what technique are you using to put pics in monochrome? I’m staying with Youssef of facebook fame here in Demnat – arrived just in time to help family consume a sheep.Great guy and hospitality here

  2. Need to see you standing beside it to get the scale, amazing pictures…………………….x

  3. Great pic of the baobab at sunrise…

  4. Ooo yes, I was just going to say the same thing as Lesley. If you see another stand beside it and get a pic. It’ll be good to see if we’re looking at one of those little Japanese ornamental things or some giagantic structure.
    Hope all is going well matey chops. Probably a little hotter there than this chilly part of the world (though incredibly no snow at the moment…though flippen cold enough to snow though!)
    Safe cycling and kayaking or whatever it was in a boat you were going to do.
    FRWL XX

  5. …and now having just read your previous blog and to that delicious Flag Beer, I expect a photo journal from Lars of this trip. His captured pictures of your “episodes” will be brilliant. Xx

  6. Wow…love to read your posts Helen! The titles-^_^!!! I spoke to Peter Gostelow while he was at Youssef’s and started thinking about Podcasts from the road. If you would be interested, we could do this where internet & Skype become available to you. I am working with Tim & Cindie Travis Downtheroad.org on one now, hopefully, I’ll have the technicals sorted on my computer shortly. Have a superb adventure, absolutely love reading about it all here! Thank YOU! Power 2 Your Pedals, Brian P. ^^…

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