Let’s save the baobabs

Thanks to donations from Skoon Skincare (South Africa), Dr Jackson Skincare (UK), Lather (USA) and BaoMed (Netherlands) the Baobab Foundation has managed to raise enough funds to protect another fifty baobab trees.

In October (2023) Mphadeni Nthangeni (Park Manager), Steven Khosa (SanParks Ecologist), the Honorary Rangers (Mapungubwe Cluster) and Sarah Venter (Baobab Foundation) will be starting this daunting task.

There are an ever-increasing number of baobabs dying of elephant damage.  Official estimates are that 8% of trees are dying each year, but observation over the last year (2022 – 2023) suggests that this may be much higher.  Although baobabs are not a threatened species per se, they are important in the Mapungubwe landscape.

Trees will be selected based on their cultural significance, landscape contribution and ecological importance.  Trees around the Mapungubwe and K2 Hill complex are important as many of these trees were around during the occupation of these two archeological sites over 1000 years ago, providing food, fiber and shelter to the inhabitants.  Trees that are an important visual feature of landscape will also be selected and trees that are known to provide nesting sites to birds, bats and other animals, especially in the southern dry mopani veld, where they are a keystone species, will be meshed.

The task of meshing the baobabs will be done over a few weekends when the volunteer honorary rangers are available to provide manual assistance.  The temperatures in the park in October are between 30 – 40 oC and conditions are harsh as the summer rains have not yet started.  This is the time when the baobabs are the most vulnerable to elephant damage and thus time is of the essence now.

If you would like to make a donation to protection more of these magnificent trees, please contact the Baobab Foundation directly via email ([email protected]) or call Sarah on +27 823749534.  It costs R2000 (US $100) to protect one tree, so all donations are welcome.

Within two years two millennial trees are gone from this landscape

Dr Sarah Venter