The striking silhouette of a baobab tree at sunset is a familiar site to anyone who has spent time in rural Africa - but it is also well known all across the world thanks to its starring roles in Disney’s Lion King (it is Rafiki the monkey’s tree), Avatar (The Tree of Souls), Madagascar and the famous children's novel The Little Prince.
There are many stories and traditions surrounding the baobab. Along the Zambezi River, many tribes believe that the baobab once grew upright, but it considered itself so much better than the lesser trees around it that eventually the gods decided to teach the baobab a lesson. They uprooted it and planted it upside down, in order to stop its boasting and teach the tree humility.
Baobab trees grow in 32 African countries. They can live for up to 5,000 years, reach up to 30 metres high and up to an enormous 50 metres in circumference. Baobab trees can provide shelter, food and water for animals and humans, which is why many savannah communities have made their homes near Baobab trees.
This is my favourite baobab in all of Southern Africa, and although elephants have worked its base hard over the dry years, Baobab Bob stands proudly, as the sentinel, right in the heart of the Mombo Concession Botswana.