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Famous Baobabs: Chapman’s Baobab

The Makgadikgadi Pan is a large salt pan in the middle of the dry savanna of northeastern Botswana. It is one of the largest salt flats in the world, the remains of a massive lake which dried up several thousand years ago.  Beyond the fringes of the pan are salt marshes and further out these are circled by grassland and then shrubby savanna. The prominent baobab trees found in the area function as local landmarks. One of them was named after explorer James Chapman when he was on expedition with Thomas Baines in 1861.   The tree is certainly over 1,000 years old and is reputed by some sources to be as old as between 4,000 and 6,000 years. 

Chapman's Baobab has many documented references to it in the journals of early travellers and foreign explorers to the region, many of whom left inscriptions on its massive trunk which can still be seen today. The tree even served as an unofficial post office for these 19th-century explorers.

The massive old baobab has six main trunks, which measure a total circumference of twenty five meters, and is visible from far, rising up from the arid landscape, as well as a 7th new trunk that is beginning to grow. For this reason, the tree is known locally as the Seven Sisters.


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