Nkwichi Blog

The Tree of Life

Across cultures and continents, the Baobab captures people’s imagination. Standing wide and tall, proudly towering over the landscape, the tree is a presence you cannot ignore. So its no wonder that the mighty Baobab often features in legends and inspired many tales.

The gigantic Baobab tree at Nkwichi is a perfect example. The more than 2000-year old tree is a much-loved picnic spot for Nkwichi’s guests. The sheer size of it is unimaginable; the trunk is so wide that you need more than 15 people holding hands to surround it! Under its enormous branches, you can enjoy a relaxing meal sheltered from the sun, or try to fit the whole tree in one picture (so far, no one has succeeded..).

When visiting, our staff shares all the purposes and legends they know, such as why the Baobab is called ‘the Tree of Life’. From the fruits for example, you can make a refreshing juice, even in times of drought. Prepared by soaking them in water and clearing the fluid with a tea towel, the drink will quench your thirst directly. The fruits can also be eaten, although opinions differ about how tasty they are.

As with many trees, a number of superstitions surround the Baobab. Many people believe that adding its bark to bathwater will make babies fat and strong, just as the tree itself. Drinking Baobab juice can protect you against crocodiles, but picking the flowers directly from the tree makes it very likely you will be eaten by a lion!

For this particular tree, history has added another reason to call it the Tree of Life. During the war, it was used as a hiding place by the people of the village. When hearing soldiers approaching over the hills, villagers sought shelter inside the wide hollow tree trunk. They remained in hiding until the soldiers moved on and they could safely return to the village.

So even though unfriendly characteristics are ascribed to the Baobab – the gods supposedly tossed it out of paradise because of its arrogant behaviour and jealousy of other trees – this Baobab holds a special place in many hearts, both of the people living here and of those all around the world who had the chance to see it. And who knows.. maybe one day this beautiful tree might capture your imagination..