Baobabs: West Madagascar’s Tree of life

Baobab, the iconic tree in Madagascar, with unusual branches referred as “ roots raised in the sky” is among the endemic trees of the country. 7 out of 9 species of Baobab also called Adansonia, its scientific name, can only be found in Madagascar, reason why Madagascar is also known as the country of baobabs. Baobab reaches about 5 to 30 metres in height and has a trunk diameter of 7 to 11 meters, has a lifespan of 800 years. For many years, these strange trees became an enchantment for everyone that comes to visit Madagascar.

Baobab is called Reniala or mother of the forest due to its height and shape bigger than other trees surrounding her in the forest. The baobab comes in different colors. Some are a bit grey, some have red tones and others are green. Inside the baobab, in its trunk lies an enormous source of water that allows it to survive in difficult drought conditions, the reason why the tree is called the “the tree of life”. Its posture which seems like a reversed-tree is explained in a Malagasy tale. The tale goes as once the Baobab was so arrogant because of her beauty compared to the other trees inside Eden garden, the Creator punished her then reversed her head on the soil and her roots in the sky.

Not only that this magnificent tree is astonishing but there are a lot of benefits that the people are getting from it. Baobab provides delicious fruits. The shell is brown with a velvet texture, and inside you will find an edible white part, which taste between sweet and a little bit sour but definitely delicious. According to scientific studies, it is a great source of calcium and many other nutrients. Not only that, its seeds are manufactured to produce oil that is used for cosmetics. The leaves of this tree is used for medical purposes such as treatment of skin allergies. The barks on the other hand are used by locals to make rope and something useful for their daily life.

Baobab avenue © WAU Madagascar

Where to see more baobabs in Madagascar?

In Madagascar we find three areas where we can see baobabs. You can find them mostly in the West, in Menabe region where the trees grow in abundance, just perfect to admire the beauty of nature. You can also find other species in the South near Tulear and in the North region but not quite as plenty and sensational like they are in the west .

Baobab Avenue

When spending a trip to west Madagascar in the Menabe and Sakalava area (for a trip to discover the tsingy de Bemaraha National Park for instance or to see lemurs in the west of Madagascar) you’ll find more places where you can spot them especially in the famous and inescapable “Baobab avenue”. This “Baobab Avenue or Baobab alley” is a place where those big trees ( Adansonia Grandidieri) grow side by side along 500 meters off the road. This place is a definitely must-see when travelling in the West, well known by its amazing view-show during the sunrise and the sunset.

The Baobab in Love

Not far from the Baobab avenue is “the Baobab in Love”, twisted with each other, they appear like a couple that makes a hug. Not only a romantic place but the local considered it as sacred as they believe in the power of this tree. Some rituals are also done here. When someone wants to wish or has something to ask for then all they need to do is to pray to the trees, then leave some offering like money in its holes.

The Baobab in love © WAU Madagascar

Home of Fossa

As you go further to see other baobab at Beroboka Sud Bemanonga, the village where there is the Kirindy reserve or the Home of Fossa. From 500 meters before reaching the village, you will find the giant black baobab. It is a Sacred Baobab so be careful not to point fingers on it because , it contains a lot of significations that the villagers believe as their protector so some things are forbidden when visiting.

Baobab fields

Continuing again to the road of the greatest Tsingy in Bekopaka (Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park), there’s another place covered by baobab, scattered along the road in about 1 kilometer looking like: “Baobab fields”. When passing in that area, you will notice how organized they are planted due to the symmetric distance between themselves. Take a break to appreciate the breathtaking view with the red soil that decorates it.

On the South- west, road to Belo sur Mer, baobabs can be spotted easily everywhere. Here their trunks are bigger than the Grandidieri on the Baobab avenue, they are in the family of Baobab Adansonia ZA species like what we see at the Reniala reserve at Ifaty.

Baobabs on the road to Belo sur Mer © Sylvain Suisse-moi

This big emblematic tree of Madagascar gives you a lot of magical moments when exploring them. You will learn a lot about this “Mother of the forest” along with a tailored trip with us to the West part of Madagascar : “The home of baobabs”. Let us help you build great memories as you travel and experience Madagascar stress-free. Take awesome picture of baobabs and bring all those back home with you remembering all the great things and facts you learned along the trip.

If you are interested to know more about baobab trees, you can combine your tour with a coastal track in the south-west to discover the big Adansonia Fony inside the Reniala reserve at Ifaty, or going further to the Zombitse National park where you’ll spot the Adansonia Za inside this park.

Let’s go on a terrific journey. Book a tailored trip with us!