Ancient trees

Apparently one of the many heavy cement trucks passing by tried to destroy it, to get easier access, but as I read somewhere, baobabs cannot be killed.

I first saw this most amazing tree in remote areas of Zimbabwe and Botswana.

Never did I expect to see them spread around Dar Es Salaam as I associated them with the bush — but what a pleasure it was to see these ancient trees surviving in this often overwhelming multi-million strong city.

When I first visited Dar 10 years ago, I was told to get a dala dala from Posta and step down at Mbuyuni – a major bus stop at the baobab near Namanga along Ali Hassan Mwinyi road.

It worked: every passenger or bus ‘conductor’ whom I asked knew exactly where I needed to get off!

These days I have noticed quite a few of these majestic trees in the residential areas around town.

One is at a wide dirt road along the bay — where it forms an integral part of the much used football pitch during weekends.

On weekdays one can find a fisherman repairing his nets under its shade or a Mama selling chapati.

Apparently one of the many heavy cement trucks passing by tried to destroy it, to get easier access, but as I read somewhere, baobabs cannot be killed.

Indeed, although the cut off part looks terrible, the tree has grown its leaves and is flowering.

Also its fruits are starting and will become the typical long green-brownish ‘gourds.’.

Sweets are made from the seeds inside by cooking them with lots of sugar and red food colouring; the sweets are found for sale in small stalls along the road.

Apparently, the fact that the tree stores so much water also makes its wood completely unsuitable for burning which is one of the major reasons it still can be found all over this huge city, where there are no qualms for destroying anything considered in the way of progress or money.

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About the Author

Josie van den Hoek

Josie first visited Dar es Salaam in 2000 and is still here. She writes about encounters on her daily walks and Tanzanian life.