Having the most bizarre appearance on the African skyline, many tribes have come to call it the “Upside Down Tree”. From one generation to the next, the tale has been told, around a crackling fire and under a star-filled sky, that one day God was angry with the baobab and in his rage he heaved the baobab out of the ground and hurled it back down into the soil headfirst. For all her awkwardness, there is no doubt that the baobab is the best hotel in the bush and by far the most favoured tree amongst all the animals. The baobab is really a giant African apartment block, hosting parrots, bats, porcupines, warthogs, vultures and many other little visitors. Water trapped in the bowl formed where the branches grow kept bushmen alive in the droughts and quenched the thirsts of leopards and baboons. Her fruit, the cream of tartar, is loved by monkeys and also used by wizened hunters to cure fevers, whilst the pods are transformed by little boys for their water bottles. The unspoken rule in the bush is that the flower of the baobab is never to be picked. For with its perfect white petals and sweet perfume, it is the prettiest in all Africa. The flowers should be left to adorn and bejewel the wonderful baobab for animals and bushmen alike to see her in all her glory. My ancient baobab was built from memories of many baobabs in Zimbabwe, particularly those along the Zambezi and those cavernous ones from the south east Lowveld. The Bushmen that shelter under the tree are cast in solid 18 carat yellow gold and the tree itself is cast in Sterling Silver which is the natural colour of the baobab tree.
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