This is the incredible story of a tree that has been around for Eight hundred years… that can withstand the harshest conditions… and that is more loved by insects, birds and animals than any other… the enormous Baobab. Rooted on the savannah of Malilangwe Game Reserve in southern Zimbabwe.
Baobabs are trees that can withstand extreme drought by storing water in their trunks. This makes
them a valuable commodity for elephants during the drier seasons, which breaks off pieces of the tree, which they will eat, damaging the Baobab. Fortunately Baobabs have the ability to heal them selves over time. This is how the tree with “The Hollow Heart” came to be.
The towering Baobab hosts and supports a variety of insects, birds and mammals. Small birds like buffalo weavers and bee-eaters build their nests in the branches of baobabs, while larger birds, like the endangered white-backed vulture will build their nest in forks on top of the tree. In the tree’s trunk, families of squirrels, hornbills and woodpeckers will take up residency. In spring, giraffe and various species of antelope will browse on baobab leaves. White, sweetly scented flowers hang from long drooping stalks.
Baobab trees’ primary pollinators are believed to be fruit bats that pollinate the flowers at night there is no record of this in Southern Africa. Bush-babies pollinate the flowers at night when drinking the nectar. Wasps and African honeybees also are also attracted to the flowers, and the bees sometime construct their nest in the hollows in the tree.
As summer draws to a close, the tree starts producing his velvety fruit. The Vitamin C rich fruit is one of the most nutrient rich food sources in Malilangwe. The elephants and termites are the tree’s major seed dispersers. But today, Baobabs are threatened by livestock.