Even more reverent and iconic than Africa’s Big Five, baobab trees are the true titans of Africa as well as the largest living thing you’re likely to come across during an EcoTraining course in South Africa, Botswana or Kenya. As the title would suggest, Baobabs are impressive in size, with some reaching up to 30 m in height.

It’s difficult to truly appreciate the size of these trees — some of them reaching 90 feet (30 meters) in height — until you’re standing at the base, feeling infinitesimal. And with some of them as old as 3,000 years old, they’ve also witnessed an incredible amount of African history.

The massive trunk appears to almost have a luster. Its large, white flowers hang upside down. For most of its life, the branches of the baobab tree are bare. This, along with the unique shapes of the branches, gives them the appearance of roots.

This unique appearance has birthed many legends and folklore. In the Zambezi region, it’s believed that baobabs once stood upright, until the gods were angered by them and turned them upside down — roots reaching into the sky. In the Transvaal area of South Africa, some tribes bathe their young boys in water soaked in baobab bark so they might grow as mighty as the tree.

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