Baobab Stories – About the African Baobab

Heike Pander, Baobab Love

Heike Pander, Baobab Love

Hi, I am Heike Pander and on Baobab Stories ( I publish stories, myths, oddities, forms of use in former times and today, travel experiences, information of how to take care, data, facts and figures about the Baobab. You will find all sorts of relevant information revolving around the magnificent “tree of life”.

Champman's Baobab

Champman’s Baobab

Baobabs are fascinating! Icons, Giants of the Savannah, Trees of Life – are synonymously used to describe those incredible trees. Uncountable stories evolved around them. They are well known on the African continent and far beyond.

The Baobab has a unique, distinctive look and emanates an almost mystical aura. It may become 1000 years and older. The trees are important for survival for humans and animals alike. Myths surround it and it features as an icon in art and culture.

Traditional medicine appreciates the tree for its healing effects. Therefore, it is known as “pharmacist tree”. Recently the fruit gain international attention due to their healthy ingredients.

Baobabs are a connecting topic all over the world. Not only transgressing geographical boundaries but also with people everywhere. Stories about the baobab are as widely spread as the root system of a very large and old tree.

There is lots to talk about BAOBAB!

Baines Baobabs, Botsuana

Baines Baobabs, Botsuana

My offer:

  • I write posts / articles about baobab with different focus:
    • meaning / use of trees, past and present
    • Medical importance in traditional medicine
    • ecology, biology, geography, history
    • Sustainable use of baobab wild fruit collections
    • Economic importance of fruit for small farmers, southern Africa
    • stories about baobab (myths, legends, stories)
    • Afforestation and protection
    • portraits of individual collectors and producers
    • Increasing market presence of fruit powder and oil
    • importance of fruit powder as a “superfruit
    • Extensive photo documentation
  • Are you looking for specific information about baobabs? I am happy to do a thorough topic research for you.
  • Would you like to highlight the baobab on your website / blog? As an online editor I create authentic and unique content for your platforms.
  • Do you plan a baobab event and need excellent photo material, a photo documentation, presentation or multivision show for your visitors? Based on my pool of baobab photographs I can create a suitable product for you.
  • Would you like to decorate your baobab event with paintings and photographs? I am glad to offer mine. I could even add some of my living baobabs that otherwise decorate my home.
Baobab Leaves, Window Sill

Baobab Leaves, Window Sill


Print – for example: (in German)

logo_sa“The Powers of the Baobab”, Article in GERMAN, Süd-Afrika Magazin, October 2016

default_0The New Superfruit, Article in GERMAN, Forum Weekly Magazine, October 2016


Logo_foodaktuell_und_alimenta_mit_Baseline_630x500-300x238“Culinary Inspiration from Africa”, Technical Contribution, Alimenta Switzerland, GERMAN & FRENCH, May 2016


tp_logo “Baobab: Source of Income”, GERMAN, March 2016

Gondwana_Heritage_eng-209x300“Baobabs – Icons of Savannah”, Chapter 18, In: The cultural groups in Namibia Eastern Zambezi Region (Eastern Caprivi). A Historical Perspective. Publisher: Antje Otto & Manfred Goldbeck. Gondwana Heritage, Gondwana Publishers, Namibia. ISBN: 978-99916-896-7-8, ENGLISH & GERMAN, 2014

ma-logo-frei“Not everything goes to plan” items Motorcycle Adventure, GERMAN, 2012

Online – for example:

  • Forum Magazin: “The New Super Fruit”, October 2016
  • Deutsche Welle: “Baobab – the Comeback of the African Superfruit”, German Broadcaster (German, July 2016)
  • Alimenta Switzerland: “Culinary Inspiration from Africa”, Technical Contribution, Alimenta/Foodaktuell (German & French, May 2016)
  • Die Tagespost: “Baobab as Source of Income” (in German, March 2016)
  • The Huffington Post Germany (German)
    • “A Passion for Baobabs and Elephants” (September 2016)
    • “Why Baobab helps the poorest” (March 2016)
    • “Baobab Ecology: Jumpstart for the Giants” (February 2016)
    • “Baobab: why fair trade of superfruit is so important” (November 2015)
    • “Baobab is the super fruit” (July 2015)
    • “This super fruit is healthier than anything we know from the supermarket” (April 2015)

Guest Articles (for example):

Heike Pander’s Baobab Internet Platforms:

Baobab, Planet Baobab

Baobab, Planet Baobab

Guest Contributions and Art Features

  • Your topic is “baobab“, you have a story to tell about the trees, could write a guest contribution for my website or know an odd story which you would like to share? Please contact me HERE.
  • You paint, draw or create other forms of art and express your thoughts and/or feelings about baobab in your work or the tree keeps on showing up in your photography? Maybe this website could display some of your work. Please contact me HERE.
Sagole Big Tree, Detail

Sagole Big Tree, Detail

My background:

For more than 20 years I have gained Baobab expertise as an ethnologist and author. I collect stories, talk with residents and users of the trees and nurture a lively exchange with scientists, other experts and producers.

I visited Baobab locations in Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botsuana, Namibia, Mozambique and Southafrica. Travelling to Westafrica, Australia, Madagascar and to the Caribbean are on my “bucket list”.

  • Over the years I gained intensive work and travel experience in Southern Africa and I regularly visit baobab locations and events
  • I do holistic research on the subject of baobab internationally
  • Intensive involvement with baobabs: I write about them, explore their habitats, photograph, draw, paint and cultivate them. I present my working results in multivision shows and exhibitions
  • 20 years of work experience in development cooperation for German and international organizations (training of professionals; planning, monitoring and evaluation of projects and programs; impact analysis; freelance consultancies; natural resource and border zone management; land rights; participatory approaches; gender; facilitation of workshops and events
  • I work as a freelance ethnologist, journalist and artist with a focus on sustainability, fair trade (tourism, food, fashion), traveling, art, culture, lifestyle and of course my specialty: baobabs
Baobabs, Epupa Falls

Baobabs, Epupa Falls

Educational background:

  • Master degree social and cultural anthropology (major), Psychology & Art History (1996)
  • Postgraduate studies in rural development (1997)
  • Since 1998: self-taught in painting, drawing and photography
  • Training as online editor (2014-2015)


  • English (excellent)
  • French (basic)

Further skills:

Organization of:

  • Exhibitions
  • Lectures
  • Events

Implementation of:

  • Qualitative and quantitative surveys
  • Interviews and expert discussions
  • Photo documentation and filming

Moderation of:

  • Workshops, Events and Conferences
  • Colleague Counseling
Baobab Seeds

Baobab Seeds


BBK_Logo_6272-001Federal Association of Artists (BBK), Bonn – Rhein / Sieg


bbk_48    Professional Association of Artists, Berlin


Vereinigung Deutscher ReisejournalistenAssociation of German Travel Journalists



German Union of Journalists (DJU / Verdi)

Current Projects

  • “Baobab Mission” to the baobabs in the Limpopo Province north of Thohoyandou in the area where the Sagole Big tree grows. I accompanied clients planning to market a healthy baobab fruit juice in New York. The clients were keen to meet the ladies collecting the fruit and the baobab fruit powder producer in Louis Trichardt.
  • Illustration of a baobab fairy tale for adults with prints of my most recent etchings. I work in the Werkstatt Künstlerische Lithographie nearby.
  • Ongoing: my collection of baobab stories is growing. Currently I am busy writing up the stories I collected during my visit in South Africa in May 2018.
Are you interested in cooperating with me?

Please contact me by email: or simply click HERE.

Heike Pander

Open Baobab Fruit

Open Baobab Fruit

40 Replies to “Baobab Stories – About the African Baobab”

  1. Hello Heike,

    Thank you so much for sharing your passion and knowledge about baobabs. I also am fascinated about these wonderful trees. I’m an history teacher at Lagos – Algarve – Portugal and I’m organizing the celebration of the Africa Day, in May. My fellows and I are planning to build a Baobab (a kind of a sculpter) and I would like so much to present some written stories and myths about that tree. Do you have some stories you can share?
    Thank you so much
    Wishing you a very happy 2016

  2. Thank you for sharing your baobab journeys and the special stories of people taking care of baobabs. They are everyone’s favourites, even people who know little about trees. I love them all!

  3. Dear madam Heike Pander
    We are Sudanese businessmen who are interested in processing baobab and market the finish pruducts localy and for exports. As you know we have ,in Sudan , very good quality of baobab fruits so if you allow us to ask your technical advise and experience in stablishing this business .
    Best regards

    • Dear Mr. Badr,
      thank you for your comment. I understand that you are a Sudanese businessman. I am writing about baobab – as you can see on this website but I do not have technical information in how to go about establishing business conections with German traders.
      All the best for you.
      Kind regards, Heike Pander

    • Hi Alex, this depends on where you live. In Europe you can buy them on the internet. In many African countries you can buy them on local markets. Hope this helps. Cheers, Heike

  4. hI,

    I love this page. Two questions. Firstly, you mention that your baobab travels have taken you to Malawi – where exactly in Malawi? Secondly, how to I get your blog posts in my yahoo inbox? Probably my fault, but I cannot find a place to subscribe.

    Thanks, and once again, I love this page and your work.

    • Dear Andy, thank you for following my baobab contributions and your wonderful & encouraging feedback regarding my website – I appreciate it very much. I have been to the baobab areas around Lake Malawi and from Mangochi further south as well as north of Mzuzu around the Rumphi area. If you like you could get regular information through the RSS Feed on my website which you can find at the bottom of the left column. You must be a baobab fan, too – where have you seen yours? In Malawi? All the best, Heike

  5. Hello Heike, it was wonderful travelling with you on a media trip in Zambia, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Botswana and in my eyes you are the ‘Baobab Queen’. You showed me my first baobab flowers and and inspired in me a greater interest in baobabs than merely looking at these iconic trees. Love this website.
    Warmest wishes from Carrie aka Safari Tart

    • Hello Carrie, thank you so much for your lovely feedback – I appreciate it very much. I had a lot of fun showing you the flowers of the baobab at Xaro lodge in Botswana. Look forward to travel with you again one day 🙂

  6. Dear Mrs Heike Pander
    I come from Dubai where the summer temperatures are very hot ( up to +47 C ) and very humid
    Is it possible to have the Baobab grow under this temperature and humidity ?

    I have some Baobab trees which I have grown at home in pots

    I transferred some to a garden I have
    This garden the soil has salt content it was marsh land but I have topped it with sweet sand and it is irritated with fresh water
    Is it possible to grow Baobab trees in these soil conditions?
    What is the chance of my Baobab trees to servive ?
    Is there any thing I can do to improve the plants ?

    but this garden

    • Dear Jabbar Gargash, thank you for contacting me. Baobabs like it hot and I know of some trees that grow close to the coast where it is humid as well – for example in Kenya (Mombasa and further north). The books on baobabs usually say that the trees do not like salty soils but I have heard from other baobab experts (for example close to coasts) that they can grow in soil that has a salt content. For the trees it seems to be a matter of adjusting to the conditions – but nobody can give you a guarantee that your trees will survive with a high content of salt in the soil. I am not sure about the percentage of salt that baobabs still could tolerate.
      Usually I would say that baobabs thrive in hot conditions and can even make it when it is humid – as long as it does not rain too much. The soil should not be too wet and have good drainage. In the wild baobabs suck up as much water as they can in a short period of time – usually the rainy season. During the first growth stages baobabs develop a tap root – which means that it grows deep. In later years they spread their roots more under the surface. The taproot could give problems as it grows deep and you might not be able to exchange all the salty soil where you want to grow your baobabs in your garden.
      I think it is a good idea to exchange as much of the salty soil as possible and give it a try with your baobabs in the garden. But as I said: there is no guarantee that they will make it. Maybe you’d like to try with one tree and see how it develops before you plant all of them. By the way: how many baobabs do you have?
      You could also try to grow baobabs from seeds right in your garden – if they germinate in the salty sand, they are likely to make it because they chose to germinate there. You can see how to grow baobabs from seeds here:
      I hope this email helps. Good luck with your baobabs – Kind regards, Heike

  7. Hi, I want to plant a baobab, I have a big back yard, is huge. Can you help me find some seeds or a tree of 2 or 3 years. What do you recommend me?

    • Dear Alonso, thank you very much for your enquiry about baobabs and where to get seeds/saplings. Unfortunately I neither sell seeds nor plants and therefore recommend that you try to find a source on the internet. As I do not buy seeds or plants online I am not of much help in your query. The scientific name of the trees you are looking for is Adansonia digitata – maybe you can find a reliable source with those keywords. Sometimes you can find seeds in shops of botanical gardens or zoos. Good luck and all the best. Kind regards, Heike

  8. Dear Heike
    Would it be possible to plant a Baobab in Paris, France with success of it living? If we take a tree already grown as opposed to just a seed?
    I would appreciate an answer directly on my email as I discovered your site totally by chance and may not go back to it!

    • Dear Joelle, thank you for your inquiry. You can grow a baobab plant indoors in Paris and on your balcony or in a garden during summer time. Baobabs do not tolerate frost and will die if you leave them outside – therefore you have to take your baobab into your house/apartement in fall. Kind regards & good luck with your tree – Heike

  9. dear Heidi,
    I have 2 baobabs in pots grown from seeds I brought back from Senegal – they are 2 and 3 years old now. They spend th summer outside on the terrace and the cold weather inside as I live In France ( near Geneva so we do have warm sunny summers). How do I get the trunks to thicken and the trees to grow out rather than Up? I did pinch the top shoots – but still grow up.

    • Hi Stefanie, thank you for getting in touch. Well, very young baobabs do have the tendency to drive their branches and stem up as they need to gain height quickly to be safe from browsing animals. Although baobabs grow quickly during their first years you will need time and follow some bonsai rules – which you can find online or in books. You can cut back your baobab regularly – that it does not invest energy in the branches. I have read that some people even cut the roots 1/3 rd of their size – which I have never done. One step you could easily follow is putting little weights on the branches – that can bring them down or you put a wire around the thin branches that keeps them in the position that you want to have them grow. Hope that helps. Kind regards & all the best, Heike

  10. I’ve been a big fan of the majestic Baobabs. I am about to try to plant one and hopefully will get a nice tree for me and to spread the word about how great this tree is.

  11. Great site Heike, I am a big fan of these majestic Baobabs. Hopefully someday I could plant my own. One of my goal is to visit the places you’ve been to and for me to take the experience and photograph them back here in the Philippines. Wishing all the likes of people who wanted to nurture nature a good and safe travel always.

  12. Hi there
    Hope you are well.

    I am searching for an old dead baobab to use/repurpose as an art sculpture installation in a large foyer area. I am from South Africa Johannesburg and just wondering if you would know about one and where it was located (must be a South African baobab).

    Also, where can I get baobab seeds or young baobabs to plant in Johannesburg?


    • Hi Charles, thank you for getting in touch regarding your interesting quest on finding an African baobab. I am not sure whether you have heard of the Platland baobab that has died in 2016/2017 – that was a huge tree and I do not know whether there are still parts of it there. The tree grew on private land and I heard that it is not accessible. I have seen a dead one in the Kruger NP – but as far as I know no material can be taken out from there. At the moment I am not aware of any other dead baobabs. I have seen baobabs being rebuilt life-size with other materials and they did look like the “real” thing. With respect to little baobabs for sale: in Louis Trichard is the company Eco Products and I saw that they have little ones on their compound. I am not sure if they sell them nowadays. Anyway – you could look in any tree nursery – I have seen some in the Kruger nursery years ago. You can get seeds in the areas where they grow for example or at Eco Products (probably)… Good luck with your project & all the best! Kind regards, Heike

  13. Hi Heike,
    Back from Tanzania, I collected a Baobab fruit full of seeds that, as a garden designer in France, I plan to make grow. I watched your video about plantation, it is super clear but I wonder how do I take the pulp off the seed ?
    Do I have prepare the seeds before the steps you show in your video ?
    Thank you for coming back to me and congrats for your website.
    Baobably yours

    • Hi Perrine, taking the pulp off the seeds is easy to accomplish: either sieve it and separate the kernels automatically. Alternatively put it in water and stirr – the pulp will come off and make a nice beverage. You can put the pulp into milk and stirr – that makes a lovely kind of yoghurt. Or just take some pulp, put it into your mouth and suck on it until you can feel the seeds klick against your teeth. That is how local people use the pulp taken directly from the fruit. In oder to make the seeds grow as you saw in my video you do not have to prepare them in any other way than what I show on the video. If you want to take advantage of natural conditions do not start growing the seeds now – wait until temperatures outside get considerably warmer. Germinating seeds like 24 °C 24/7. Good luck & let me know of progress, if you like! Kind regards, Heike

  14. Hi Heike,

    I successfully germinated 3 Adansonia digitata seeds February of 2021 using your advice (I named one of the Baobabs Haike to thank you). I gave one away but the other two are both over 1.3 meters after only ~16 months. One is putting out leaves with 6 leaflets. I wasn’t expecting this rapid growth. I live in Phoenix, AZ and have to take them inside during the winter b/c it gets down to around 5 degrees centigrade during the winter. Is there any way you know to slow their growth? If they get too big I can’t move them. I grow a number of rare tropical trees and they are all growing faster than in their natural habitats.

    • Hi Stephen, thank you so much for your kind words of appreciation and naming a baobab tree after me – wow! That is quite an honor 🙂 Baobabs do grow very fast during their first years in order to escape hungry browsers. The only way that I know of in how to reduce height is to cut the stem or branches. Slowing down their growth enthusiasm – I dont know about. Does that help? All the best to you, your baobabs and your adventure together! Kind regards, Heike

  15. Hi. I hope this message reaches you.
    I am based in Johannesburg and would like to visit a baobab location in South Africa. Which would be a good location to visit for Baobabs from Johannesburg
    thank you

  16. hello Heike, At Banjul Airport, Gambia, in the taxfree shop, baobab cuttings are being sold. I have no talent for plantcare, so I decided not to torture any cuttings and left them where they were. Still, I was inspired and realized I carried pulp with seeds in my luggage. That was meant to be turned into beverage. But why not try my luck and germinate the seeds?
    Thank you for your clear instructions, and wish me luck!

  17. Hallo Heike, ich habe jetzt 23 Boabobs in Pflanzbehältern, mein Ziel ist ein Baobab-Wald in der Schale als Bonsai-Wald. Ich habe auch andere Outdoor-Bonsai wie Linde, Buche, Feldahorn etc. Ich muß sagen dass der Baobab mit Abstand die schwierigste Pflanze ist die ich kenne, wie du schon sagt, jede Pflanze scheint ihren eigenen Kopf zu haben.
    Nachdem die Baobab’s den Winter im Wohnzimmer auf der Südseite verbracht haben, habe ich sie Mitte Mai im Regal auf die Veranda vor das Wohnzimmer gestellt. Etwa die Hälfte der Pflanzen haben durch die stärkere UV- und Sonnenstrahlung ihre Blätter verloren und seitdem trotzdem sie den ganzen Tag jetzt in der Sonne stehen keine neuen bekommen, andere trieben wieder aus.
    Ich achte darauf nicht zu viel zu giessen, mir sind schon einige umgeknickt wenn die Wurzel fault.
    Ich verstehe ehrlich gesagt nicht warum die Hälfte der Boababs seit Wochen trotz schönstem Sonnenschein keine Blätter mehr ausbildet, ich weiß nicht auf was die Pflanzen warten.
    Wenn du willst kann ich dir ja mal ein paar Bilder schicken.

    Danke und Gruß


    • Hallo Volker, vielen Dank für Deine Nachricht – ihr entnehme ich, dass Du bereits vielseitige Erfahrungen mit Deinen Baobabs gemacht hast. Es kann durchaus sein, dass sich die Baobabs für dieses Jahr von ihren Blättern verabschiedet haben und auch zeitnah keine neuen austreiben. Du solltest darauf achten, dass Du nach wie vor gießt – aber eben nicht zu viel, da die Bäume aufgrund der fehlenden Blätter weniger Wasser aufnehmen. Vielleicht treiben sie aber auch in ein paar Wochen wieder neue Blätter aus – das lässt sich so nicht vorhersagen. Hauptsache, sie entwickeln keine Wurzelfäule im Topf bzw. trocknen nicht aus. Ich kann nur empfehlen, Geduld zu haben. Bei Baobabs kann sich die Lage schnell wieder ändern. Vielleicht war der schnelle Wechsel von drinnen zu draußen mit höherer UV-Strahlung für manche eine Art Schock, den sie noch verdauen… Alles Gute & beste Grüße, Heike

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