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A baobab is any of nine species of deciduous tree in the genus Adansonia, found in arid regions of Madagascar, mainland Africa, Arabia, and Australia, says Wiki. Of the nine species, six are native to Madagascar, two are native to mainland Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, and one is native to Australia.

The baobab trees, it appears, have found a home in southern Oman in Dhofar as well, far from its natural habitat. When the brother-in-law and sis heard there was one, a solo tree, somewhere near Sohar, they decided we should drive over to see it.

I was mighty pleased.

It is no secret that I love trees and a trip to see a baobab was all I could have wished for. Having never seen one face-to-face until then, I welcomed this opportunity to do so. Of course, I had seen pictures of the baobab, but for the life of me couldn’t really recall what it looked like. I didn’t check Google, preferring to let my imagination take over and fill in with various possibilities till the face-to-face happened.

Off we went… with the brother-law at the wheel and the sis doing the navigating. Friends followed in another car. We were depending on a map shared by a colleague of the BIL. We simply had to follow the road shown in the offline map. After a while of driving, we were off the tarred road and on to a dirt track. On and on we kept driving, but slower now.

The rugged beauty of the terrain we drove through was breathtakingly beautiful. In some places the track went steeply up, and then took such dips that one had one’s heart jump in the mouth.

In all the while we drove we didn’t find a single living soul, except a few goats nibbling on dry grass somewhere along the way. There were no other cars plying the route either. We crossed wadis (river beds) and the small streams flowing, drove through pebble strewn roads, all the while watched over by the stern mountains standing sentinel on either sides.

Where we going the right way or where we lost? Will we have to abort and turn back? How far away was the tree? And another thing, just HOW did people manage to find anything like this in the days before Google?!! Here we were hanging on to what Google (the offline map shared by the friend) had to say. Google insisted we were right on track, that we had some more distance to cover before we hit our destination. So we took Google’s word for it and pushed on without giving up.

And whaddya know? After lot of shaking and rattling and kicking up of much dust in our wake driving through the dusty and rough terrain, we FINALLY reached the spot where the baobab tree stood. Mission successful.

Here are some pictures.

©Shail Mohan 2018

februaryramblings@shailsnest

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