86 Years of Measuring Baobab Trees!

Skelmwater is a bare stony hillside dotted with baobab trees, but this has become a special place for Sarah Venter and Diana Mayne.  The baobab trees here are each numbered and painted with a neat stripe around their girth.  The girth of these trees has been measured since 1931.    Diana and Sarah discovered this plot in 2002 when they first went to visit it and found that the measurements had been forgotten and no one was measuring them any more.

Bernadette McCabe: Beauty of the baobab

baobab photography

Bernadette McCabe is a Fine Art – Documentary stills photographer based in Cape Town who has developed a deep passion for colour, light, style, mood & texture… and for the magic of telling a story through the lens of a camera and capturing it in a single frame.  She loves to  create imagery that will move the viewer and at times be the trigger to shape a new consciousness!

She has travelled widely throughout the African continent and beyond, using a strong documentary photographic style – melting into the scenery, watching and learning, becoming invisible to the subject at hand.  Much of her documentary work, travel portraiture and landscape photography has been used in solo exhibition, magazine and gallery displays.

We love her atmospheric landscapes taken in Venda, how her photos not only feature the baobab tree but also show how perfectly it fits into its surroundings.

baobab photography

See more about her work here.

The Sagole Baobab: still a mighty champion

Last December I visited the Sagole Big tree which is looking more magnificent than ever.  Located in Vendaland, Limpopo Province, The tree has been carbon dated as being 1200 years old!

Sagole Tree Dec 2014 with copyright

It is the biggest baobab in the world.  It has a girth of 37 m and a height of 22 meter and its crown measures 38 meters in width.  It has a huge hollow into which 10 people can comfortably fit. The Sagole tree is also noted for being home to a rare colony of Mottled Spinetails. We are so privileged to have this tree in South Africa.

Sunset Baobab trees

Sunset Baobab trees

In the last of our series featuring photographer Vanessa Bristow’s wonderful work, we leave you with these simply stunning photos of baobab trees at sunset.  It’s not difficult to see where EcoProducts got its inspiration from for its striking logo! 🙂

Baobabs in the landscape

Baobabs usually stand out in the landscape. But they can also blend… Photographer Vanessa Bristow captures this beautifully here.

Birds in baobab trees

birds in baobab trees

Photographer Vanessa Bristow has wonderfully captured these different birds perched in baobab trees in Zimbabwe.  Featured here are a Marabou Stork, an owl and a pair of Bennett’s woodpeckers busily pecking away (the female below the male). As Vanessa says of her photographs: ‘They are in humble tribute to a mighty tree! Baobab’s provide shade in summer, beautiful landscapes in winter, not to mention great picnic spots, comfortable seats, steady perches, homes for owls, insects and birds, places for giraffe to hang out in … a wonderful, arboreal celebration!’ 

The seasons of baobab trees

seasons of baobabs

Here, talented photographer Vanessa Bristow shares some of her photographs of Baobabs taken at Sentinel Ranch in Zimbabwe.  We’ll be featuring more of her stunning photographs during the week.

budding baobabs

budding baobabs

Spring has arrived in the Limpopo with budding baobabs!  The baobab trees which have been bare for most of the year are bursting into bud and leaf.  The round buds which look like fruit are actually flower buds.  They will still grow to three times that size over the next month before they are ready to open.

Baobabs start to flush small leaves like these a few weeks before the rains come, so its a good indication that rain is on its way.  They use stem water to help these leaves grow and often the trunks shrink a bit as the growing leaves absorb the water out of the trunk.  Once the rains start they absorb water from the ground to replace the stem water and so swell quickly back again to their previous size.

The Art of Baobab

Baobab tree Thomas Baines

Do you recognise this painting?  Find out how the Baobab has inspired other crafters, artists and photographers. Visit our Baobab Inspiration Pinterest page here:


Vibrant African Markets in Baobab Country

Vibrant african markets in baobab country

As always in West Africa, people usually dress in vibrant colors, especially the women. It’s a beautiful sight to see. Around Boukombé, the markets are the most animated during the dry season. People are not otherwise occupied with agricultural labor, and harvests are in, so there is plenty to buy. The temperature that time of the year can be HOT…read more of this lovely blog article here



Kubu Island, Makgadikgadi Pan: where rock, salt and baobabs meet

In the 16 000 sq km of  Makgadikgadi Pan (Botswana) lies an isolated dry granite rock island 10 metres high, forming a roughly 1km long crescent shape called Kubu Island. The entire island is a national monument, and is considered a sacred site by the indigenous people of the area.  The almost white rocks (covered in fossilised guano) share space with gigantic fantastically shaped baobabs as well as ancient ruins, Here, a lone baobab emerges from rocks and stones like a sentinel looking over the expanse of the dry saltpan .  



Beautiful Baobabs: one of the oldest living things in the world

it's on the New York Best Seller List and has been described as a "Beautiful and powerful work at the intersection of fine art, science, and philosophy, spanning seven continents and exploring issues of deep time, permanence and impermanence, and the interconnectedness of life, Rachel Sussman has written a wonderful book "The Oldest Living Things in The World"  And of course it's no surprise that she would include our very own magnificant and ancient living treasures. Pictured here, a Baobab tree in Parfuri,  Kruger National Park is dated as possibly as old as 2000 years!

Waiting for the baobab fruit to drop

The area has had lovely late rains, but this has affected our normal fruit harvesting time.  Normally all the fruit would have fallen to the ground by now and been picked up by our harvesters, but this year more than half of them are still on the trees.  So we are waiting for the fruit to drop off the trees… you can't hurry nature! 

Miracle Tree!

A few years ago I was called by a local farmer to see some baobabs that were very ill and dying.  There was a group of four baobabs, some of them were still standing and others had already collapsed in to a heap of fibre.  This tree was still standing, but was hot and ‘sweaty’ with droplets on its bark, almost as if it had a fever and I did not think it was going to survive.  This year I visited the site again and found the tree well recovered. They really are remarkably sturdy and resiliant trees!  After decades of living with them and many many years of studying them, I still see there's so much more to learn and wish we understood these trees better…

How baobab’s heal themselves…

Recently, friend and baobab fan Shona sent through this delightful photo taken near Xigera Reserve, Okavango Delta in April this year.  It shows their guide pointing out elephant damage to a baobab tree.  It’s old elephant damage and you can see in the picture how the wound has healed over with new bark.  It’s quite wonderful how baobabs manage to heal themselves in an almost human way by growing new “skin”….

shona's guide Dips - Okavango - showing elephant damage April 2014 350 x 469


Famous Baobabs: Chapman’s Baobab

This well-known tree has many documented references to it in the journals of early travellers and foreign explorers to the region, many of whom left inscriptions on its massive trunk which can still be seen today. The tree even served as an unofficial post office for these 19th-century explorers.

Dung Beetles and Baobabs

Baobab seeds are relatively large,but it's not an impossibility that that germinating Baobab seedlings could use the manure buried by dung beetles to boost the growth of its first few shoots!

Famous Baobabs: A Champion of Trees – The Sagole Baobab

Champion trees are nationally listed individual trees which are exceptional examples of their species because of their enormous size, great age, rarity or historical significance. One of the South African champion trees is the Sagole Baobab Tree, located in Vendaland, Limpopo Province, with a trunk diameter of 10.47 metres. It may not be the stoutest of baobab trees (The Sunland and Glencoe Baobabs have larger girths) but the Sagole tree has the largest size of all with a height of 22 metres and a crown diamter of 38.2 metres.  

The tree has been carbon dated as being 1200 years old! 

The Sagole tree is also noted for being home to a rare colony of Mottled Spinetails. Here are two of my own pictures of the Sagole Tree – showing it with and without leaves.  How magnificant it is! 

Beautiful Baobabs in Africa

The reason EcoProducts exists is to celebrate the Baobab tree - not only for its many gifts - but also simply because it's beautiful. We've found some gorgeous images of Baobab Trees to share with you.