“Knowledge is like a Baobab tree, one person’s arms cannot encompass it.” – African proverb

On the ride from St. Louis towards The Gambia, we have passed many impressive baobab trees and one evening we even camped beneath one.  I thought I’d share with you some of the photos…

Baobab monochrome
Baobab monochrome

The Baobab tree, Adansonia digitata, can grow to impressive sizes with a trunk cirumference up to 25m.

Baobab tree, Adansonia digitata
Baobab tree, Adansonia digitata

On looking inside the hollow trunk of the tree, which as we closed in on it tens of little lizards scampered into the dark hole, you could see a couple of bats sleeping upside down. Indeed, the baobab tree is pollinated at night by these furry, flying mammals from the white flowers of the baobabs velvety green fruits. The fruits are often used for making tasty, refreshing drinks…

Impressive Baobab tree with hollow trunk
Impressive Baobab tree with hollow trunk

The baobab tree is referred to in many myths and legends in Africa. Here’s one of them…

The baobab was among the first trees to appear on the land. Next came the slender, graceful palm tree. When the baobab saw the palm tree, it cried out that it wanted to be taller. Then the beautiful flame tree appeared with its red flower and the baobab was envious for flower blossoms. When the baobab saw the magnificent fig tree, it prayed for fruit as well. The gods became angry with the tree and pulled it up by its roots, then replanted it upside down to keep it quiet.

And I have to say, they really do look like their roots are sticking upwards, out of the ground.

Baobab by night - sleeping under the stars
Baobab by night - sleeping under the stars

And the tree looks just as impressive silhouetted at sunrise, as it did in the night sky…

Baobab silhouette at sunrise
Baobab silhouette at sunrise

I may only be four months into my cycle ride to Cape Town, but I think the Baobab tree is going to be one of the enduring images of my hourney.

Baobab on the African savannah, Senegal
Baobab on the African savannah, Senegal