Living amongst giants
Baobabs are as much a symbol of the African landscape as lions or elephants are. Traditionally they have been the sources of many myths and legends. Some believe them to be the resting place for ancestral spirits; others view them as a “bush supermarket” – almost every part of a baobab has a use. Their true age is still a contentious issue and few know that a baobab is actually an aloe and not a tree at all.
Last year we were lucky enough to spend a lot of time filming baobabs for a documentary we made for German television, which will be aired later this year. During this time we saw some of the most incredible baobabs the Kruger National Park has to offer thanks to botanist Michele Hofmeyr and section ranger Sandra Visagie.
Aside from the striking range of shapes and sizes that can be found, what struck us the most was the number of animals that can be found around these great trees. Whether it is vultures nesting in the highest branches, crested guinea fowl pecking at the soil around the tree base or a troop of baboons desperately trying to crack into the hardy seedpods to get to the crème of tartar inside. At almost every baobab we stopped at, if you looked long enough you would find some kind of animal or bird utilising some aspect of the tree. So next time you stop at a baobab, stop and take a closer look, eventually you will see something special.
Living amongst giants: filmed by the South African Natural History Unit.
©This video belongs to the Southern African Natural History Unit.