Twenty kilometers from Morondava, in the western region of Madagascar Africa is the location of a natural beauty: the Alley of Baobabs. One of the most visited locations in Madagascar by travelers from around the world, the Avenue of the Baobabs is a 260 m long road with a group of baobab trees 30 meters high and about 800 years of age. Originally the trees were not isolated but surrounded by dense forest and over the years as the country’s population grew, the forests were cleared for agriculture, leaving only the baobab trees.
Locally know as “renala” (mother of the forest), baobab trees are often called the “upside-down trees” because their branches look like roots sticking up into the air. Considered an essential part of African culture, they are symbol of strength, wisdom, health, long life and beauty. There are many legends about why the trees have their specific shape, one of which says that Gods decided to turn the trees upside down. Nowadays baobabs are used in daily life to make roofs, ropes, for medicinal purposes, to make juice and to extract cooking oil.
Travellers can reach the Alley of the Baobabs by foot, bike, car or taxi from Morondava and the best time to visit the avenue is during sunset or sunrise, when the colors of the baobabs’ trunks change and the long shadows of the trees are most pronounced.
Photo Credit: ©ONTM, Karim Nari, OFFICE NATIONAL du TOURISME de MADAGASCAR