Wild planting baobabs at Nthakeni

Nthakeni is a lovely spot on the Mutale River in communal land situated near the northern Pafuri gate of the Kruger National Park.  The area is leased from the Nkotswi community and has been fenced allowing the natural vegetation to grow and seedlings to recruit without disturbance of domestic animals.  Nthakeni is thus one of the few places where baobabs can be planted in the wild without the need to be 3 meter high to survive browsing.

One of our fifty wild planted baobabs at Nthakeni

We selected 50 baobabs from our nursery at Wallace Dale farm.  They were removed from their bags and transported to Nthakeni as “bare rooted” plants.  Baobabs are very robust and their roots can handle a few days without soil, so this is an efficient way to transport them.

Selecting baobabs from the nursery

At Nthakeni the staff had spent the preceding few days preparing the planting holes for the newcomers, so that when we arrived the young baobabs were popped straight into the soil and watered.  Mid-February planting gives young tree enough time to establish properly before the dry winter arrives in May.

Each tree was marked with a GPS, a photo taken and their basal diameter and height recorded.  The trees will be measured each year for the next three years to record their health and how they have settled into their new home.

P.S. I highly recommend a weekend visit to Nthakeni’s self-catering cottages or setting up tent in one of their superb river view campsites.  You can book through their website.

Dr Sarah Venter