The Baobab trees of Dhofar

Story Gautam Viswanathan

Baobab trees, locally known as Ankiji or Al Mashwa, grow naturally in the Hinnah Valley of the Hasheer Mountain in the Mirbat wilayat of Dhofar governorate. They grow alone in the Dhalkut wilayat, as well as in the wilayats of Sohar and Liwa in the North Al Batinah governorate.
There are about 200 Baobab trees in Dhofar, which are 15 metres high with trunks that are nearly two metres in diameter. In places such as Africa, the number of such trees is almost double, because there they grow and multiply in large numbers. 

There are nine species of the Baobab in the world. Seven of them are in the island of Madagascar and one each in Oman, Yemen, and Australia. The Baobab trees in Dhofar attract visitors and researchers interested in plant life. They are unique as compared to others growing in the mountains of the governorate.
The Ministries of Environment and Climate Affairs, and Agriculture and Fisheries are keen to look after nature conservation and protection of wildlife. They play an important role in nurturing wild plants and a number of endangered trees in selected sites, in collaboration with the government, private institutions and the local population.

The Directorate General (DG) for Environment and Climate Affairs in Dhofar has been making efforts in the field of protection and rehabilitation of Baobab trees and replanting them in a number of nurseries to preserve and protect them from extinction.
The directorate has also implemented the anti-extinction Baobab tree Protection Project in the Dhalkut wilayat.

The DG has collected the seeds of Baobab tree and replanted them in the Niyabat of Qairon Hairiti and in the park in Salalah, in addition to distributing them to a number of governmental and private entities.“Wadi Hinna is located at a 240-metre altitude within the Dhofar limestone mountains,” said Sara Preissel of the Oases of Oman initiative, a joint interdisciplinary research and documentation project between Sultan Qaboos University and University of Tubingen, University of Stuttgart, University of Kassel and German Archaeological Institute.

“The mists of the Indian monsoon supply the area with humidity during the summer months, enabling a unique dry forest vegetation to grow,” she explained. “These closed forests have a high biodiversity; about 200 wooden species have been classified here, of which many are endogenous species. ”