BAOBAB – SAGOLE BIG TREE
The Big Tree, situated at Zwigodini village of Mutale is the world's biggest and oldest Baobab tree. It is estimated to be more than 3000 years old with a base circumference of 43 meters. The scientific name of the tree is “Andansonia Digitata” but it is also known as the “upside - down tree”. Elephants who eat the tree's bark have left many scars on the tree. People can eat the fruit and leaves while water can be tapped from the roots. The bark can be used as a rope or string and bark cloth.
The Big Tree is also the nesting spot of a bird called the Mottled Spinetail. Mutale in Northern Limpopo is the only area in South Africa where these birds are found. The best time to view these birds is late dusk or early in the morning. The Baobab tree is pollinated by bats. The loss of bats in the area creates little chance for survival of Baobabs in general.
The Big Tree has been a centre of attraction to tourists for years. To protect the tree and its surrounding environment, the local chief gave Mutale Municipality permission to develop the area into a recreational facility. The recent development includes — fencing of the area and construction of a security gate, braai stands, lapas, ablutions, landscaping and a caravan park.
BRACHYSTEGIA WOODLAND – GUNDANI
This is the only known patch of Miombo (Brachystegia) woodland in South Africa. Miombo woodland is common in Zimbabwe and further north. A number of bird specials associated with Miombo have been seen here. These are White-breasted Cuckooshrike and Southern Hyliota. Frequently seen are Pink-throated Twinspot. If you are lucky you might find Blue-spotted Wood-Dove. There are unconfirmed reports of Red-throated Twinspot and Spotted Creeper (so please send reports of sightings of these species).
A charming campsite has been opened at the woodland, funded by the Jensen Charity Foundation and facilitated by the birding route. The campsite will assist the community derive economic benefit from tourism, especially avi-tourism. The people who manage the campsite live in the village and are otherwise unemployed. All proceeds go directly into maintenance of the campsite and into a community fund. There are hot / cold showers, flush toilets, firewood for sale and 6 cleared tent sites
There is a marked trail into the woodland and thus 4x4’s are not required. However do be careful in the campsite as the area is very sandy! If you do get stuck the camp assistants will help push you out.
MAGIC TREE –MUTHAVHASINDI NATURE RESERVE
This nature reserve has been established to protect the Brakenridgia zanzibarica trees or ‘Magic Tree’. It is the only place in South Africa where these trees are found and its bark is used by traditional healers. There is usually a local guide that can give you an informative talk.