South African Snapshots: no 13

Baobab trees.

These strange-looking, ancient trees fill me with awe. Their unusual shape; their beautiful flowers and massive fruits; and the fact that they can live for thousands of years. They can withstand fires and floods, and if you remove their bark it simply grows back. When a baobab finally dies, it slowly rots from the inside and one day it collapses into a heap of fibre. This, together with the fact that young trees look nothing like the mature ones, made the bushmen believe that baobabs don’t grow at all: they just land on earth with a great thump one day, then disappear into a cloud of dust thousands of years later. Little wonder these trees are though of as magic!





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