Thursday, May 12, 2011

Iconic South African Trees - The Sunland Baobab

The internationally renowned Sunland Baobab, (Adansonia digitata), is situated on Sunland farm near Tzaneen in the Modjadjiskloof area of Limpopo and is home to the famous Sunland Baobab Bar and wine cellar.

According to the South African Dendrological Society, this immense tree is the world “record holder of it’s species”, with an impressive circumference of 47 metres and standing at an awesome height of 22 metres.

Baobabs are classified as succulents and once these exceptional trees reach the age of 1000 years, the trunks become hollow - creating large natural caverns. The walls of the Sunland Baobab are up to 2 metres thick.

This magnificent specimen has been carbon dated (baobabs don’t produce bark rings) and is believed to be over 6000 years old. This makes the tree older than the pyramids of Giza and means that it was already thousands of years old in the time of Jesus Christ.

In 1990, Doug and Heather van Heerden purchased Sunland farm and became committed to being the guardians of this important natural wonder. In 1993 they decided to clear out the huge hollow of the tree trunk, and while uncovering the floor, which is about 1 metre below ground level, found evidence of both Bushman and Voortrekker habitation.

Just consider for a moment the historical significance of this amazing tree!

The Sunland Baobab can store up to 120,000 litres of water in it’s trunk, a characteristic which helps to keep the Baobab Bar’s interior, which can accommodate up to 60 guests, cool and comfortable, even on the hottest day.

Apart from being a unique and famous tourist attraction, the Sunland Baobab is of even greater ecological importance as it continues to provide food and shelter to numerous birds, as well as a large variety of small mammals.

So the next time you find yourself near Tzaneen, why not slot a visit to the Baobab Bar into your schedule. While you are enjoying a refreshing drink in the heart of a living, ancient tree, there is no doubt that this unforgettable experience will leave you filled with awe at natures majesty while you reflect on everything the Sunland Baobab tree has experienced in its lifetime!


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