The sacred baobab

Baobab trees (called imbondeiro in Portuguese) are very important to African communities and Manuela explains why.

All parts of the tree – the bark fibres, leaves and fruits – can be used. The locals talk about some of the uses and also show how baobab fruits can be eaten raw.

Baobab trees are also a place where the spirits of ancestors were called. The trees are therefore considered sacred and offer protection to anyone fleeing persecution or violence during wars. So when the trunk has been hollowed out, like the one in the video, it probably means the tree has been a place of refuge for someone.

Even visitors who don’t share the local beliefs say the baobabs have a real presence. For some, these immense trees have a ‘Lord of the Rings’ type quality, reminding them of the ancient and friendly TreeBeard in Tolkien's story.