Baobab Grove (Dhofar)

Botanists may be surprised to find a small stand of baobab trees gracing the thickets just above the Salalah Plain. These magnificent giants, their trunks sometimes ringed with snails, stand head and shoulders over the more typical Dhofari vegetation and are the only such trees on the Arabian Peninsula.

Lonely Planet

According to Nature “The baobab tree Adansonia digitata L. (family Bomb-acaceae) has been variously estimated as being several hundred to several thousand years old. The French botanist Adanson, after whom the tree was named, contended that some specimens were as much as 5,000 years old”

Baobab trees are native to Africa, but they have been introduced to other parts of the world including Oman [Wikipedia] . It is known by many names including; the tree of life, monkey-bread tree (the soft, dry fruit is edible), upside-down tree (the sparse branches resemble roots), and cream of tartar tree. They can grow to between 5–25 m (16–82 ft) in height.  The span of the roots actually exceed the tree’s height, a factor that enables it to survive in a dry climate.

Some of Africa’s oldest and biggest baobab trees have abruptly died, wholly or in part, in the past decade, according to researchers. The trees, aged between 1,100 and 2,500 years and in some cases as wide as a bus is long, may have fallen victim to climate change, the team speculated.

According to the Times of Oman newspaper, The Directorate General for Environment and Climate Affairs in Dhofar has been making efforts in the field of protection and rehabilitation of Baobab trees and replanting them in a number of nurseries to preserve and protect them from extinction. The directorate has also implemented the anti-extinction Baobab tree Protection Project in the Dhalkut wilayat. A researcher in the project stated that “The mists of the Indian monsoon supply the area with humidity during the summer months, enabling a unique dry forest vegetation to grow”. She further states “These closed forests have a high biodiversity; about 200 wooden species have been classified here, of which many are endogenous species. ”

These trees are scattered around the Dhofar region. Salalah. We would recommend a drive up towards Gravity Hill near Salalah and continue further to the marked location below.

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