The Avenue of the Baobabs, also known as Allée de Baobab, is one of Madagascar’s most iconic destinations and is located in western Madagascar. This popular site is actually situated along a dirt road that runs between Morondava and Belo Tsiribihina, where you will see around 25 of the famous baobab trees. Within 30 minutes of travelling through this road from Morondava, you will arrive at this extraordinary location.
Note that the drive here will be bumpy and the avenue is best visited between May to October, during the dry season. Plan your visit here for a morning or an evening, as the lovely colours of dawn and dusk complement the baobabs well and you can click wonderful pictures.
Morondava is considered the gateway to the Avenue of the Baobabs and is a low-key seaside town with serene beaches. You can easily reach Morondava by flight from Antananarivo or even by road which might take over 12 hours. From the town, you can also visit the fishing village of Belo sur Mer on a ‘pirogue’ (traditional canoe) ride and the Kirindy Wildlife Reserve which houses different species of lemurs, fossa, lizards and beautiful endemic birds.
The unique landscape of this region is dominated by the imposing baobab trees, which are thousands of years old. Among the eight species of baobabs found in the world, six are endemic to Madagascar and that is why these trees are often associated with the country. These mighty trees can grow up to a height of 30 metres and bear a diameter of 11 metres and a circumference of 50 metres! Arabs who visited the country, almost 1000 years ago, had stated that these trees were uprooted by the devil and replanted upside down. When you look at these trees, you will also agree that the crown resembles the roots rather than branches and leaves!
The baobabs that you see today, scattered in a sparsely vegetated landscape, were once a part of a rich tropical forest. However, due to deforestation, slash and burn agriculture and natural causes, the dense forests have disappeared and only the mighty baobabs remain. There are still major natural and human threats against this avenue and the government and few private organisations have taken efforts to conserve this location. More baobabs are being planted but it will take centuries for them to grow into their massive form.
At the southern end of the avenue, you will find a tourist facility with a souvenir shop selling local products, handicraft shops and a restaurant. This is run by the local community and it would be a great support to them if you spend some money here. After all, the avenue is free to visit!
The Baobab Amoureux is a unique creation, in which two baobab trees have grown intertwined around each other. It is located just 7 km away from the avenue. Ask your tour guide and he will be happy to narrate an interesting local legend behind these trees. According to the legend, two star-crossed lovers from a nearby village prayed to God for a life together, after which these two baobabs were born, binding them together forever.
The reason why the Avenue of the Baobabs is so popular is because it is the most easily accessible location to view the majestic baobab trees. A visit here is a unique and rewarding experience, where you can marvel at these ancient trees and also click amazing pictures.
Follow our blog for your daily dose of travel inspiration, information and tips. We try to publish atleast one article each day. Check this space for all the latest posts.