“I must see the giant Bao Babs!” This is a line we hear on almost every call we receive from explorers evaluating visiting Madagascar, the Island of the endemics.
The genus Adansonia -Babobabs- are found only in Madagascar (seven species), continental Africa (two species), the Arabian Peninsula (two species), and Australia (one species)
Of the seven species in Madagascar, six are endemic to the Island, and this includes the tallest and oldest of them all, the Giant Baobab, also known as Grandidier’s baobab (Adansonia grandidieri). I am sure you have seen them more than once in magazines and documentaries photographed or filmed at the famous Avenue of the Baobabs.
This iconic and beautiful destination is just an hour and a few minutes’ drive away from the charming coastal town of Morondava in western Madagascar.
Baobabs are unique in many ways. Not only their shape, size, and age set them apart (They can live well over 1000 years!), but also their capacity to resist bush fires. It is common to see burned fields with the giants standing in the middle, unharmed in any discernible way.
Despite their impressive resistance and the fact that locals have very little use of their barks and none for their trunks, Giant Baobabs are an endangered species due to habitat loss and the lack of seed dispersers.
Yes, even though Baobabs in other parts of the world have animal species dispersing their seeds, in Madagascar, there is no known natural disperser.
But of course, they must have had them. It is currently believed that there were some large lemurs and giant tortoises that could have been eating the fruits of baobabs and later discarded the seeds over new areas. Those baobab natural seeds dispersers disappeared after the arrival of humans to the Island about 1000 years ago.
Today, multiple projects in Madagascar work on the reproduction and planting of Baobabs of all seven species.
These efforts started timidly a few decades ago, just around the same time that New Paths Expeditions initiated its safari operations in Madagascar. Gladly, about five years ago, such projects have multiplied considerably, a bet on a very distant future considering the growth rates of the species.
During New Paths expeditions in Madagascar, we include two visits to the Avenue of the Baobabs, one during the daytime, and another one at sunset time. All our explorers are invited, at no extra cost, to plant a giant Baobab in the area.
By the way, New Paths Expeditions offers a free return trip to Madagascar to all explorers that plant a Baobab, so they can see the tree they planted when its riches its prime, some 1000 years in the future 🙂
If you are interested in seeing the Giant Baobabs in their natural habitat, help in their reproduction, and observe in the wild 14 species of lemurs including the Indri-Indri -the largest of all lemurs, the Madame Berthe’s lemur -the smallest primate in the world, foosas, and many other endemics of the Island check our pioneering and award-winning expedition.
We are glad to announce our recently improved itinerary has reduced even more the drives over bad roads thanks to a new charter flight from Berenty Reserve, the paradise for Ring-tailed and Dancing lemurs, to Morondava, the coastal town close to the Avenue of the Baobabs and door to Kirindy forest, the most threatened habitat on Earth.
Check the itinerary, and if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us. Our 15 years of experience in Madagascar is always at your service.