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Calling the community

Calling the community

I was visiting a village in Venda the other day and needed to talk to the community about when I would be collecting baobab fruit.  During the day people are scattered and busy with other chores so it’s difficult to get to speak to everybody at the same time.  The headman’s wife was so excited […]

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Ecoproducts and Esse support rural crèche

Ecoproducts and Esse support rural crèche

One of the villages where some of our harvesters live has a little crèche which is so needed while mothers go out to work.  Yet they have so very little in the way of even basic resources for busy, active, growing little children.   Recently on one of my monitoring trips, I was able to take some chairs […]

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Baobab Tree Planting has a Mind of its Own

Baobab Tree Planting has a Mind of its Own

Sarah Venter’s Baobab Guardians tree planting project had reached its goal of 50 trees and so she believed the project was complete. But it seems the project has other ideas…

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Baobab Flowers Fine Art: Gill Condy

Baobab Flowers Fine Art: Gill Condy

What an honor and a delight spending time with Gillian Condy sketching baobab flowers under the boughs of the baobab trees in Limpopo.  Gill is South Africa’s foremost botanical artist and works for the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) as a resident botanical artist.  Her award-winning works are world famous and include a plate in Highgrove Florilegium, […]

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Baobab fruit season

Baobab fruit season

February is a wonderful time to see growing baobab fruit.  They emerge from their showy white flowers in December and take six months to grow into our superfruit. In February they are still growing and the fruit are soft and green.  The inside of the fruit is wet and pulpy, providing an ideal environment for […]

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Baobab Fruit Monitoring

Baobab Fruit Monitoring

Every year in February or March, I go out with a small team to do baobab fruit monitoring.  This is our 10th year!  It’s is a good time of year to do this because while most of the fruit have reached their full size, they have not matured (dried out) enough and have not yet fallen  off the […]

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Measuring Baobab girth

Measuring Baobab girth

It feels a bit like when you mark off the height of your children on the doorpost, but every year in May Diana Mayne, a baobab colleague, and I visit Skelmwater Baobab research plot to do annual growth measurements. This research plot was started in 1931 to measure the annual diameter growth of baobabs. This year was […]

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New Baobab Species – Fact or Theory?

New Baobab Species – Fact or Theory?

A new species of baobab, Adansonia kilima, has recently been described for Africa by Prof. Jack Pettigrew. This is significant because worldwide there are only eight species of baobab, six of them are in Madagascar, one is in Australia and one in Africa (Adansonia digitata). But what has always intrigued taxonomists is that the species […]

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Vanessa Bristow: a bird’s guide to baobab trees

Vanessa Bristow: a bird’s guide to baobab trees

Baobab trees and animals often spend time together. Here, Vanessa Bristow reveals through her quiet, observant lens, a bird’s guide to the baobab tree

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Kubu Island, Makgadikgadi Pan: where rock, salt and baobabs meet

Kubu Island, Makgadikgadi Pan: where rock, salt and baobabs meet

In the 16 000 sq km of  Makgadikgadi Pan (Botswana) lies an isolated dry granite rock island 10 metres high, forming a roughly 1km long crescent shape called Kubu Island. The entire island is a national monument, and is considered a sacred site by the indigenous people of the area.  The almost white rocks (covered in fossilised guano) share space […]

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