Baobab trees are renowned for their longevity and ability to reach massive proportions, with one of the largest in South Africa being the Sunland Baobab – made even more famous when in 1993, the owners of the farm on which the tree stands installed a bar in the hollow middle of the tree!
Thus was born the world famous Baobab Tree Bar.
Situated near Modjadjiskloof (Duiwelskloof) in Limpopo Province, the Sunland Baobab grows on the Sunland mango farm. The tree has been carbon dated and its age is estimated to be around 1700 years old. The tree has a diameter of 10.64 meters, is 19 metres high, with a crown diameter of 30.2 metres. The circumference of the trunk is 33.4 metres.
When baobabs become a thousand years old, they begin to hollow inside, forming natural wooden caverns. Doug and Heather van Heerden bought Sunland farm in 1989, and in 1993 decided to clear out compost from the central trunk, squared off a hole to make way for a door and finally installed a railway sleeper inside for the bar.
This being South Africa, that turned the Sunland Baobab into an instant tourist attraction!
Also on Sunland farm is a nursery specialising in palms and bamboo, as well as a mango and avocado plantation. The farm can also provide accommodation for up to 20 people in tent huts which have been dubbed ‘jungalows’.
Baobab trees have many myths and legends surrounding them, with one of the most well known ones being the story as to why it is sometimes called the upside down tree. Local legend has it that the baobab tree offended God and as punishment, God planted the tree upside down – easy to understand if you see a baobab in winter with its bare branches pointing skywards!
The Limpopo province is also home to the two other famous South African Baobab specimens, the country’s stoutest and second largest baobab known as the Glencoe Baobab in Hoedspruit, and the largest baobab tree in South Africa, the Sagole Baobab near Tshipise.