The Impressive Big Tree Victoria Falls

One of the main attractions, The Big Tree Victoria Falls, is approximately 2 kilometers from the waterfall with an easy drive to reach it.

It has become known as the “Big Tree” because of its impressive size. This giant baobab of Victoria Falls is one, if not ‘the’, largest trees of this species and the oldest in the region.

It is definitely a must-see pitstop on your African travels if you are a tree enthusiast.

If you have never seen a baobab tree before, then this is the one to see. You will not find a more impressive sized tree anywhere else in the country.

This massive giant baobab is considered to be one of the biggest in Zimbabwe and is famous both in the country and elsewhere in the world. It is, consequently, protected and has been designated a heritage site.

Unfortunately, larger baobab giants were engulfed by floods in 1956 as a result of the completion of the man-made Kariba Dam, while others were destroyed so they wouldn’t become submerged hazards.

The Big Tree Victoria Falls

Where Is The Baobab Tree Found?

This huge baobab tree can be found quite easily as it is right next to the road.

When traveling on the Zambezi River Drive, you will see it not far from the Zambezi riverbank.

A security fence deters potential vandals and name-carvers from approaching this specific specimen, which is protected under the authority of Zimbabwe’s Museums and National Monuments.

What Is The Size Of The Big Tree

This majestic tree measures 22.40 metres in girth (in 2004) and is 24 metres tall (in 1985). The tree is an oddity as, unusually for a baobab, it has both an impressive girth and is very tall.

It is not old at 1 500 years, by baobab standards, and it has still got two-thirds of its life expectancy to go. Considering its current size, this is impressive indeed.

Some speculate that this Zimbabwe baobab tree is actually 3 trunks or trees joined together to create the impressive girth. This conjecture, if true, would make the tree younger than the original estimate.

Age Of The Big Tree Victoria Falls

The historic Big Tree in Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe, was radiocarbon-dated to establish the age, growth, and architectural characteristics of this famous African baobab. It has thick branches, numerous stems making up its trunk, and a big, gaping hole in the middle.

Three juvenile stems, one false stem, and five major stems make up the magnificent baobab. It has an open ring-shaped architecture that enables baobabs to grow to huge sizes and live long lives.

A number of wood samples were taken from four stems. The Big Tree at Victoria Falls is 1150 years old based on this calculation.

Different from other baobab trees, the African kind has many stems knitted together at the base to create a ring shape. Each stem deserves its own investigation because they might have each started developing at a different period.

It has been discovered that the Big Tree’s several stems have varying ages, with the oldest one dating to roughly 870, just before the Vikings first settled in Iceland.

The nine stems—including a “false” stem that sprang from a neighboring stem—can be divided into three different generations. The oldest is between 1,100 and 1,200 years old.

There is a generation that is between 200 and 250 years old, and two groups that are roughly 600 to 700 years old. Additionally, the study discovered that the oldest stems haven’t expanded for more than a century.

The tree is still alive and still makes leaves and blossoms, thus the stunting may be caused by stress and aging.

How baobabs can survive for so long is a mystery. There is a thought that the trees may persevere and grow to enormous sizes because of their ability to regularly develop new stems that join together to form the recognizable ring-shaped architecture.

Others assert that since they may be unusually resistant to outside influences like diseases, malignancies, and pests, monumental trees can live incredibly long lives.

David Livingstone

David Livingstone
David Livingstone

It is known that David Livingstone saw and witnessed this tree in 1855, and it would have been well over 1000 years old when he passed by on his travels.

It’s interesting to note that although this tree is occasionally referred to as Livingstone’s tree, the Scottish explorer actually inscribed his name into a smaller Baobab tree on Garden Island, nearer Victoria Falls. The island sits above the precipice of the waterfall, where he first witnessed this natural phenomenon.

In the past, the big baobab tree has been used as a meeting place for the early British explorers and intrepid travellers and traders passing through the area.

It was a conspicuous landmark that was easy to locate for get-togethers and meetings.