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Avenue of the Baobabs

Panoramic Route Madagascar, Madagascar

Natural Skyscrapers Avenue of the Baobabs

The Avenue or Alley of the Baobabs is a prominent group of baobab (Adansonia grandidieri) trees lining the dirt road between Morondava and Belon'i Tsiribihina in the Menabe region of western Madagascar. Its striking landscape draws travelers from around the world, making it one of the most visited locations in the region. It has been a center of local conservation efforts, and was granted temporary protected status in July 2007 by the Ministry of Environment, Water and Forests—the first step toward making it Madagascar's first natural monument. Along the Avenue, over some 260 meters, are 20–25 Adansonia grandidieri trees, about 30 meters in height, endemic to Madagascar. Another 20–25 trees of this species grow in nearby rice paddies and meadows. Baobab trees, up to 800 years old, known locally as renala (Malagasy for "mother of the forest"), are a legacy of the dense tropical forests that once thrived on Madagascar. The trees did not originally tower in isolation over the sere landscape of scrub but stood in dense forests. Over the years, as the country's population grew, the forests were cleared for agriculture, leaving only the baobab trees, which the locals preserved as much for their own sake as for their value as a food source and building material.

The surface of the road is gravel and sand. The best time to visit Baobab Avenue is at sunset and sunrise when the colors of the trunks change and the long shadows of the trees are most pronounced. When Arab seafarers first visited a bit over 1000 years ago, they said the devil ripped them out of the ground and put them back upside down, for their canopies resemble roots. Thankfully, private organizations have taken notice of the site and are now promoting efforts to have the avenue protected, making it the country’s first nationally recognized natural monument, so that the trees might survive for another 800 years to come. Some 7 km to the northwest are the famous Baobab Amoureux, which are two Adansonia za trees twisted together. According to the legend these two loving baobabs came and grew together across the centuries. Baobabs found themselves after an impossible love between a young man and young woman of the nearby village. Both youths already had designated partners and had to marry separately in their respective villages. However, the impossible couple dreamed of a life and child together and asked the help of their god. Both baobabs were born and now live there for eternity as one as the couple always wished.

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    +261 32 04 923 50

    RT 8, Morondava 619, Madagascar

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