No visit to Madagascar is complete without enjoying the spectacular sunset at The Avenue of the Baobabs. Baobab tree, magnificent masterpiece of nature, is the national symbol of the country. There are no words to describe the beauty and spiritual energy of this place! You have to be there to experience it. I hugged every Baobab I saw (and there is a looot of them), like some crazy tree addict lover!
Around the Avenue, you can enjoy hundreds of such grandiose giants of whom some are high over 30 meters. These Baobabs are part of the former tropical forest that no longer exists because of over-harvesting.
About the Baobab trees
In Malagasy, these baobabs are known as renala, the ‘mother of the forest’. During the rainy season the Baobab tree absorbs and stores water in its vast trunk, enabling it to produce a nutrient-dense fruit in the dry season when all around is dry and arid. This is how it became known as “The Tree of Life”.
Because of the barren branches that look like roots sticking up in the air Baobabs are sometimes called ‘upside-down’ trees. There are many legends behind why it is like that.
One legend says that when God made the world he gave each animal a tree. Hyena got the baobab. Foolish hyena, instead of planting it the right way planted it upside down!
Six of eight known species can only be found on the island; only two have made their way across to the African continent. The baobabs on the Avenue are Adansonia grandidieri, the tallest baobab species.
Baobab trees can live up to thousands of years. People say when they die, they collapse into a heap of mushy, hairy pulp that burns, or it turns into dust that gets blown away by the wind only to create new baobab trees! Nice!
Zebu cart on the Avenue…
More than just trees…
Spectacular baobabs remained in the shadow of many playful children who live near the Avenue. Although I haven’t seen a famous sunset over the Baobab Alley because of the cloudy weather I found ‘little’ friends there and you know what? We made our own ‘sunset colors’ by playing and jumping around baobab trees!
One more story about ‘having nothing but indeed have it all’! It’s amazing how life can be unfair, but nevertheless filled with fellowship, joy and love. Life is really beautiful, whether you are born in Madagascar, America or Croatia. It’s just the way you look at things, right?
Happiness on the Avenue!
A Quick Guide to the Avenue of the Baobabs
How to get there?
The Avenue is located in the western part of the island, in the Morondava, on the road that leads to the largest nature reserve on the island – the beautiful ‘stone’ forests in Tsingy de Bemaraha.
To reach Avenue of the Baobabs you need to go to Morondava, biggest town close to the Avenue. Air Madagascar operates daily flights from Antananarivo and other cities. The flight from Antananarivo to Morondava takes about one hour.
Overland options include local taxi brousse or private car hire. Road work from Antananarivo to Morondava has been recently completed and driving time is much less than in the past. Drive time from the capital to Morondava ranges from 9 – 12 hours depending on the vehicle. Antsirabe to Morondava takes approximately 7 hours.
Baobab Avenue can be reached from Morondava by foot, bike or taxi-brousse in the direction of Belo-sur-Tsiribihina. A tiny village and a school are located nearby. The location is also known as Allée de Baobab, Avenue du Baobab or Adansoinia grandidieri baobabs.
…and jump !!!
Goats on the waaaay! And one roster, too!
When to go?
The best time to visit the Baobab Avenue are at sunset and sunrise when the colours of the trunks change and the long shadows of the trees are most pronounced.
Where to stay?
The Avenue is situated 45 minutes drive from Morondava, a coastal town in the West of Madagascar. Morondava offers a wide range of hotels and guesthouses as well as restaurants and bars so there should be no problem with accommodation.