Mmegi Online :: Museum gives up hope of restoring Chapman’s tree
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Museum gives up hope of restoring Chapman’s tree

The Department of National Museum and Monuments (DNMM) have given up on efforts to restore the Chapman’s baobab tree near Gweta village.
By Boniface Keakabetse Fri 24 Jun 2016, 16:37 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: Museum gives up hope of restoring Chapman’s tree








According to botanical records, it is the third largest tree in Africa and is believed to be 3,000 to 4,000- years-old.

The tree, which is a national monument, fell to the ground in January and authorities sent botanists to assess whether it could be restored. The director of DNMM, Gaogakwe Phorano said they have given up hope of restoring the tree’s life.

James Chapman, an explorer, traveling with Thomas Baines, was the first to document the massive tree. The tree, known in the area as ‘Seven sisters’ because of its seven trunks, initially measured 25 metres in circumference.

Phorano explained that they have embarked on an exercise to document the history of the tree.  “We are going to erect information boards at the site detailing the history of the tree,” said Phorano.

Phorano said they suspect the tree went down due to old age but expressed hope that some of its branches would regenerate.

“We hope that some of the Chapman’s branches would grow again to become trees which would

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be protected as its descendants,” he said.

It is believed that the famous explorer, Dr. David Livingstone, crossed the Makgadikgadi Salt pans in the 19th century guided by Chapman’s Tree as the only landmark for hundreds of miles around.

Meanwhile Phorano revealed that efforts to develop sites and monuments in Botswana into tourism sites are bearing fruits.

He said this include Domboshaba Ruins, David Livingstone Kolobeng house, 20 kms west of Gaborone, and old Palapye.  Phorano said they plan to turn some of the 2, 500 heritage sites enlisted as national monuments into tourism sites showcasing Botswana heritage.

He explained that the Tsodilo Hills UNESCO heritage site is receiving approximately 20,000 tourists in a year. He said Tsodilo Hills has created 13 guides jobs and six permanent jobs for the community.

Phorano said the idea is to replicate this elsewhere by turning cultural sites into tourism products. He said this is bearing fruit as tour operators have started including cultural sites into their tourism packages for international tourists.

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