Hug the big Baobab (Gravelotte)
If you wish to be safe from a crocodile attack; drink water that this tree's seeds have been soaked in but beware just dare pick a single flower haunted by evil spirits that only blooms for a day and you will be eaten by a lion! Such are the superstitions that surround the powers of the Baobab Tree that native legend explains was uprooted by the Gods and shoved back upside down in African soil to cease its complaining hence the appearance of the root-like branches that remain leafless in the sky for most of the year.
This 'Tree of Life' has a larger than life-size ambassador on the flat road that links Tzaneen to Gravelotte. A make-shift sign paints 'The Big Boabab' on the regional road and points fatigued motorists to a leafy resting spot under this mammoth beauty. A long strip of dirt road bounces drivers awake which keeps them alert enough not to miss the small gate leading to the famed 15m wide trunk. A token cover charge at a token kiosk gives access to this giant life force encircled by admiring trees and inspired green grass. A crack in the bark densely etched with centuries of lover's initials charmed in heart shapes gives way to a bountiful Baobab belly.
Mature Baobab trees are naturally hollow and have earned their title creating a haven for life and providing animals and humans with shelter, food and water. Climb the make-shift wooden ladder resting tree-side and enjoy the view of Mpumalanga the way a child would. A proud rising reservoir, a single tree can hold up to 4 500 litres of water behaving like a South African succulent and featuring it in Disney's movie 'The Lion King'. Run your hands along the trunk that is born of fire-resistant bark used to make rope and cloth. South African tribes crush the leaves for medicine and condiments while the monkeys stay healthy on this fruit bearing tree's baring 'Monkey bread' packed with vitamins. Take the family and appreciate this magic tree that will stay rooted for up to 2 milleniums, once in your lifetime.
"Knowledge and wisdom are like the trunk of a Baobab tree. No one person's arm span is great enough to encompass them." (Saying from the Volta region of Ghana) ... but try hug one anyway.
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