Coordinates (approx.): 24.34836 S 30.96909 E
No:10        (list of all attractions)
Category:Trees
Values:Biology
Rank:4
Address:Africa, South Africa, Limpopo Province, west from Hoedspruit, in Glencoe Farm
Species:Baobab (Adansonia digitata L.)
Height:17 m
Diameter:15.9 m
Crown diameter:37.05 m

The legendary Glencoe Baobab is the second largest baobab in South Africa and up to recent time was possibly the stoutest tree in the world. The stem of this tree had a diameter of 15.9 metres – an incredible figure. Going around such a baobab takes quite a lot of time!

Unfortunately in November 2009 the tree split into two parts.

Giant tree

Much of the South African landscape has been transformed by people but the area around Glencoe Baobab still is in comparatively natural state, although nearby there are wast agricultural lands. This increases the visual impression created by this tree.

Close to the ground the incredible giant divides into several trunks – the main trunk long ago has lovered itself on the ground. Thus Glencoe Baobab is smaller in volume than the largest known tree in South Africa - Sagole Baobab, although the diameter of the Glencoe giant is by one third larger.

It is estimated that the tree could be several thousand years old although it has not been proven scientifically.

Up to the recent time (Wondermondo has no knowledge about the present situation) the interested visitors were kindly asked to contact Glencoe Farm before the visit to this unique monument of nature. Owners of the farm have told that the tree gets a few visitors every month thus they are considering to organise to develop some tourist facilities near it (1).

Investigators of baobabs should take into account that the trunk of this tree might decrease in dry years. This variation can be significant - some another baobab in 1946 was by 60 cm less in diameter than in 1931!

Split tree

In November 2009 the enormous tree unexpectedly split into two parts (5). As noted by the tree ecologists, the tree split in two parts due to the fact that it was hollowed. In general the baobabs are very sturdy and keep standing even with enormous hollows.

Currently it is not clear whether the tree will survive.

Legends

The smooth bark of baobabs is well suited for carving inscriptions. Glencoe baobab has such carvings from 1893 and 1896 (2), in total there are thousands of inscriptions.

There is though also a legend of treasure connected to this tree. Towards of the end of Boer Wars there were sent two wagon loads of Kruger gold ponds northwards, to the Oliphants River. It is told that near the Hoedspruit the gold was hidden in hole made in baobab trunk. Ingenious local method was used to hide the treasure: a termite queen was buried with the gold thus expecting that there will rise a termite mound and cover the hole in baobab (4).

Who can say now whether this is true or not and if yes – whether the gold still is there. But treasure hunters are firmly asked to go and look for something elsewhere – any digging or cleaving at the unique Glencoe Baobab can damage it.

Map

See this monument on the map of South Africa!

References

  1. Siyabona Africa Travel, Kruger national park accomodation and safari guide. Accessed: 20th January 2010
  2. Plantzafrica, South African National Biodiversity Institute's plant information website. Accessed: 20th January 2010
  3. List of champion trees published for comment. South African Department of Water Affairs and Forestry, 2005
  4. Gerald E. Wickens, Pat Lowe. The baobabs: pachycauls of Africa, Madagascar and Australia. 2008. ISBN: 978-1-4020-6430-2
  5. Tree doctors to the rescue, Times Live, December 19 2009. Accessed: 20th January 2010

Creative Commons Non-Commercial Share Alike 3.0 20 January 2010 Gatis Pāvils

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