Menabe Region, Madagascar
Avenue of the Baobabs

A path lined by the renala, the caregivers of the land and living history trapped in bark.

They said it was on the path between the town-city of Morondava and Belon’i Tsiribihina in Western Madagascar. Breaking the monotony of flat lands, dusty fields and rice paddies are bulbous towers clustered by the banks of a small lake. The gods had planted them with their canopies underground and roots to the sky because the trees had been too boastful of their beauty they said. Others whispered that each trunk was a vessel for the deceased, the largest housing the spirit of the king of the land. They placed offerings of flower and rum at its feet in hopes of pleasing their ancestors.

Renala in Malagasy means ‘mother of the forest’ and is in reference to the Baobab trees found in the Avenue of Baobabs. The stumpy trees found here are native to Madagascar and this is the largest cluster still living. Towering at 98ft in height and circumferences of up to 160ft. Recreating a prehistoric age before the dinosaurs, some of the trees are in fact 800 years old and continue to be revered by the people traversing down the road daily. Seeing the trees against the setting sun, their trunks painted in liquid gold, it’s hard not to be struck dumb by their awe. Such an unusual sight can be found in only one place and that’s none other than Menabe.

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Tips Before You Go
There are many reasons for why the Avenue of Baobabs is one of Madagascar’s most famous sights, one of them being how this is one of the most accessible locations to view the trees. This measure is however relative and while it can be crossed by foot, bike or taxi-brousse, a hired driver and a 4WD are the safest ways to get across. Fair warning however. Be prepared for roadblocks, randomized road checks and roads being washed away unexpectedly as the road conditions are highly unpredictable. Additionally, if you can time your trip, aim for some time between February and March when the trees are supposed to bloom.
RT 8, Morondava 619, Madagascar