The World’s Only Pub That’s Inside a Tree

The World’s Only Pub That’s Inside a Tree

Sometimes the name of a pub describes exactly what it is. So it is with the Big Baobab Bar in Limpopo Province, South Africa.

The “Baobab” in the moniker refers to a type of tree that’s native to Madagascar and found sprinkled throughout arid regions of southern Africa. The genus is colloquially referred to as “the upside down tree” — in the dry season, when baobabs sheds its leafs, the branches resemble underground roots.

“Big” is an adjective that describes many baobabs. The trees can grow to a massive size thanks to their remarkable ability to store water. The particular baobab that’s the subject of this article can store an estimated 120,000 liters (32,000 gallons) of water. It’s 47 meters (154 feet) in circumference — it would take 40 adults, with arms outstretched, to encircle it! Botanists figure that the tree is more than 6,000 years old.

Unlike your typical deciduous tree that grows in seasonal concentric circles, baobabs grow in chunky spurts that often lead to hollow areas inside the tree. Which brings us to the “Bar” of the Big Baobab Bar.

Back in 1933, the owners of the Sunland Baobab Estate near Modjadjiskloof, South Africa noticed that one of the baobab trees on their property had a particularly large and interesting hollow area. Being Dutch immigrants, they naturally decided to construct a pub inside. It has been serving up drinks ever since.

[ ALSO ON SCS: 7 Amazing & Luxurious South Africa Safari Lodges ]

The Big Baobab Bar comfortably accommodates around 15 patrons, though 54 (probably inebriated) adults once squeezed in for a party. The bar has many of the trappings of a traditional European pub — draught beer, bar stools, a dartboard — except there are fewer hooligans and many more ants. Coolest of all, literally, is the lower level of the interior tree cavern where the moisture and darkness naturally keep the beer cold.

In addition to the arboreal bar, the grounds of the Sunland Baobab Estate is also home to a treehouse restaurant and a budget resort. See our planning box, below, for some details.

updated: 16 April 2014
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Planning your Big Baobab Bar visit

Getting there: Driving is by far the easiest transportation option — it’s about 3.5 hours from Johannesburg and 1 hour from the Phalaborwa Gate of the Kruger Park. Coming on the main road from Polokwane, your turn-off will be about 6km before Modjadjiskloof. Look for the “Sunland Nurseries” sign.

jungalow The Worlds Only Pub Thats Inside a TreeWhere to stay: At the Sunland Baobab Estate guests sleep in A-frame bungalows (or “jungalows” as they call them) that, while comfortable, are far from luxurious. Rates are R300 (about US$28) per adult for self-catering or double that with three meals included. There’s a swimming pool on the grounds, as well as a bush spa and quad biking trails.

Family friendly? Absolutely! Kids are welcome inside the Big Baobab Bar in particular and around the Sunland Estate in general.

For your bookshelf: The Remarkable Baobab

For your day bag: Baobab Superfruit Chews

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More posts on Spot Cool Stuff:

The Mystery of Poland’s Crooked Forest
Eat Breakfast with a Giraffe
The Okinawa Restaurant That’s In a (Fake) Tree
A Review of the Baumhaus Hotel Treehouse

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Responses

  1. Lauren says:

    What an interesting place to have a pub. I wonder how they made the tree hold the inside of a pub such as electricity, water, etc. Is the age of this tree known? Thanks for sharing this great accomplishment of building into your environment!
    Lauren recently posted..Snorkeling Bora Bora: The Ruahatu Lagoon SanctuaryMy Profile

    [Reply to this comment]

  2. Dave says:

    That is called being frugal and building into your environment =)

    [Reply to this comment]

  3. Phuti says:

    Wow! Very nice,its pretty embarrassing because I am from Limpopo but i never saw this Baobab tree before.Will definitely be there this year.

    [Reply to this comment]

  4. Melanie Schneider says:

    This is fantastic! It is so crazy to think about the things that people will travel long distances for these days. I find that people love being able to say they saw something so unique, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, because it enables people to travel to places they may have never considered before. Places such as these are changing the face of travel into a more unique experience, allowing for other types of travel than the mainstream, touristy itineraries most often thought of.

    [Reply to this comment]

  5. Shaina says:

    such a unique story and design; this is definitely a step-up above the competition even compared to NY and Boston Pubs by far! A true natural setting that brings out the creative side in almost everyone. If someone is looking for a rustic experience, this would be my top choice to refer them to!

    [Reply to this comment]

  6. Chishikoff says:

    This is soo cool !! I really enjoyed reading this. Thanks so much for your photos! Good Design !

    [Reply to this comment]

  7. Benjamin @ barcelona rentals says:


    Twitter:
    Awesome pub, magnificent location, when I’m in the neighbourhood I will definitely visit ;) !

    [Reply to this comment]

  8. SA Accommodation says:

    I agree! What a brilliant idea! I love it!
    Great pics! Thanks for sharing.

    [Reply to this comment]

  9. Vicarious1 says:

    Hi there got to my family friendly photo website
    http://visualsenses.smugmug.com/Travel-Tourism-Countries/Goregous-South-Africa/NORTHERN-Province-PONDORO/7539936_cY35o#486533200_r6iep
    here you can see all about this tree and a link to the actual site. “Come and see the largest Baobab in the world”
    it was awesome we enjoyed our time very much!
    Don’t forget to also go and see the “MUJAJI RAINQUEEN FOREST” very close to there as shown in my photo gallery. It is world unque with all the Cycade trees up to 14m all ages 2-4MILLION years! Awesome, safe nearly always empty of tourists.

    [Reply to this comment]

  10. Grant Lingel says:


    Twitter:
    Great post!! What an amazing idea/pub!

    I will be in South Africa next year for the World Cup… I think I will make it a point to head to this pub while there.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Grant

    [Reply to this comment]

  11. Wandering Justin says:


    Twitter:
    Oh, this is amazing! I’m even willing to put up with the ants for a pint there … great find!

    [Reply to this comment]

  12. Spot Cool Travel Stuff says:

    Hi Nik:

    They do have a site, though it isn’t that great. Click on “LEARN MORE” above.

    If you are actually in South Africa trying to find it, the town of Modjadjiskloof is rather small and there are signs all over the main street for the Sunland Baobab.

    Thanks for the kind words.

    [Reply to this comment]

  13. Nik says:

    Very-cool-stuff spotted! Great find, tks for this!

    I do wish they have a site or something.. I wonder what’s the “address” on the tree in which the site sits.. heh

    Nik’s last blog post..9 Road-Trip Songs You’ve Never Heard

    [Reply to this comment]

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