Oldest Trees In SA In Limpopo | iinfo TZANEEN

Proudly, the Limpopo Province houses South Africa's two largest trees, both of which are baobabs estimated to be well over 2,000 years old. The Department of Water Affairs and Forestry (DWAF) formally declared the two baobabs to be amongst South Africa's first Champion Trees.
 
Presently believed to be the largest tree in the country, the Sagole Baobab lies in the far north of the province, between Tshipise and Pafuri. The Glencoe Baobab is located just outside the town of Hoedspruit.
 
Although the Glencoe Baobab has a stem diameter of 15.9 metres (more than five metres larger than that of the Sagole Baobab), its overall size index is smaller than the Sagole tree, making it the second largest tree in the country. The Glencoe tree is 17m high in comparison to the Sagole's 22m, although their crown diameters are 37m and 38m respectively. These two large old-timers are of the most popular tourist attractions in the Limpopo Province.
 
According to Mr Cecil Liversage, since 2002 owner of the farm on which the Glencoe giant baobab stands, a restaurant for visitors was built there in 2009. The restaurant is a short walk from the tree: close enough for the comfort of visitors and far enough for the tree’s. A senior forestry scientist with DWAF, Mr Izak van der Merwe, said that one of the greatest dangers facing popular and visited trees, is "the trampling feet of tourists.” He explained that the soil around the tree became compacted, preventing water from infiltrating the soil, leading to the tree not getting the water it should. This problem is usually solved by building a boardwalk around such a tree.
 
Having inspected a number of trees around the country for DWAF's Champion Tree project, van der Merwe says that the Glencoe Baobab enjoys a relatively natural state although surrounded by agricultural land. The two trees enjoy some international fame, partly thanks to a book about baobabs written by Thomas Pakenham.
 
Several professors from the University of Tokyo, Japan, made a pilgrimage to visit Limpopo's magnificent baobabs some years ago. Tour guide for them at the time, Mr Stuart McMillan, had said he hadn’t expected much. A tree is a tree is a tree, he thought – and he had seen many baobabs before laying eyes on them. However, a trip to the trees was “a tremendous experience, almost religious in nature, and well worth the trouble of finding the route to the trees, he had said.
 
People wishing to visit the Glencoe Baobab can call Cecil Liversage on 082 333 1400.
 
The Sagole Baobab is the stoutest tree in South Africa, after two other large baobabs, the Glencoe and Sunland Baobabs, collapsed in 2009 and 2016 respectively. The Sagole Baobab has the largest size and retains the appearance of a single tree. It is 22 metres high with a crown diameter of 38.2 metres. It has 33m circumference, which correlates to 36 people holding hands around the tree or 57 people standing shoulder to shoulder.
 
Close to the ground the trunk divides into a number of trunks, but the tree still appears as one solid tree. The Venda people call it muri kunguluwa (the tree that roars) because of the sound the wind makes when it blows through its branches.
 
Back in the day the bark was used to make roofs, clothes, shoes, hats and ropes and musical instruments. The Venda people eat the leaves as a spinach whilst the white powder in the fruit is used to make stomach medicine, porridge, yoghurt, yeast, and beer.
 
From the seeds in the fruit they make baobab oil and coffee.
 
Sagole is also home to a colony of rare mottled spine tails – a species of swift that do not often create colonies, making the tree even more special. The birds are best seen late evening and early morning, which can prove difficult as the tree lies on communal land and as the roads that lead there are – unfortunately - in a poor condition. The baobab tree is pollinated by bats. The loss of bats in the area creates little chance for survival of baobabs in general.
 
It is unfortunately not only human feet trampling around the tree that causes damage: those hands itching to claim, damage, disfigure. Senseless people – unfortunately not recorded in some way – have felt the need to walk up to the tree and leave their names imprinted on the trunk and branches or scratched senseless stuff with sharp objects into the vulnerable bark.
 
Normally baobabs can survive such treatment – but if the injuries are too deep, germs can penetrate and damage them permanently. Historians and archaeologists might nurture an interest in very old inscriptions – for example of explorers, adventurers and travellers like Livingstone, Green or Chapman, but these “inscriptions” are just the work of disrespectful fools. Today, there are much better ways to communicate and perpetuate oneself. A post on the Internet is enough.

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