BY Stephen Nartey, 2:00pm October 21, 2022,

Madagascar’s Avenue of Baobabs: the site where legend says star-crossed lovers turned into trees

Local people on the Avenue of the Baobabs, Morondava, Madagascar. Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons/Gavinevans

The baobab trees in the Avenue of Baobabs in Madagascar are thousands of years old. The Avenue of Baobabs is believed to be over 2,800 years old and represents the lasting legacy of the vegetative cover that once populated the Island region of Madagascar. It is considered a natural monument because of the unique array of naturalness it brings to bear on the country’s side. 

The striking feature of the baobab avenue is its ability to withstand tough climate conditions. In the Island region where dry seasons run through nine months, the branches of the baobab tree appear like telecommunications masts transmitting signals, according to Animal San Diego Zoo. 

The magic the avenue exudes is the remarkable scenery the 330 baobab trees in the Alley of the Baobabs leave on the impression of the hundreds of tourists who visit the avenue annually. The avenue is a small patch road where Madagascar’s grandest baobab species can be found. It is situated between Morondava and Beloni Tsiribihina in the Menabe Region, within the western part of the Republic of Madagascar, according to Alluring World.

Another attraction of the avenue is that it measures 260 meters in height. In 2007, the Madagascar government made the baobabs an endangered species and designated the avenue as a forest reserve protected by the Ministry of Environment, Water and Forests. In 2015, the ministry christened the alley of baobabs a natural monument that is under conservation.

There are other species of baobabs which grow close to the alley of baobabs but they do not measure as tall as those in the avenue. The 25 additional baobab trees that grow near the rice paddies and meadows measure 30 meters.

Madagascar is known for its baobab trees, but, these plant species have stories behind their existence. An oral tradition among settlers in the Baobab Avenue posits that baobab trees hold a tale of two star-crossed lovers who eventually ended up in the form of trees in the avenue. In the local dialect, the specific baobab trees are referred to as baobab amoureux literally known as baobab of love because they were twisted from when they were seedlings.

Local settlers say the lovers who could not stand the insistence of their families who had betrothed them asked the Supreme Being to commit their love after death to an everlasting space. The impossible barriers were surmounted even though their families managed to marry them off to live separately with their spouses in different villages. The twisted baobab trees, according to folklore, are evidence of their rebirth and passing the test of their love trials.

The baobab trees have become one of Madagascar’s exports for visiting tourists who come to learn about the region’s trees. One of the teething wonders on the minds of those who visit the baobab avenue is whether the new trees will outgrow the old ones in height. It has become one of the attractive puzzles that engage the interest of tourists to the avenue. Local conservation groups like the Fanamby are making conscious efforts to protect the generational trees by engaging in extensive nursing of baobab seedlings and reforestation projects.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: October 21, 2022


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