It is Marula time in the Lowveld and everywhere you look you can see the Marula trees and fruit lying on the ground. Marula fruit is well known in South Africa and the delicious taste of Marula fruit reflects its origins as the “food of kings.” Marula fruit has up to four times the Vitamin C of orange juice. Many people from all over the world are also familiar with the delicious liquor Amarula that they produce from these fruit.

For years women in the rural areas of Africa have cracked the nut of the Marula fruit to extract the precious kernels from which the oil is made. Traditional uses include putting baked nuts into foods as a spice, over meat as a natural preservative, and in using oil from the kernels to soften the skin. Marula oil is indeed Africa’s miracle oil and it has remarkable qualities; it is rich in antioxidants and essential components for the maintenance of a healthy skin.

Can Elephants become drunk when they forage on the fruit of the Marula tree – this is an ongoing myth and tale that has been established now for many years…..?

The average human body weight is around 70 kg, while elephants weigh between 5000 and 6000 kg for males and 2500kg to 3000 kg for females.

An elephant would have to eat about 1500 fermented marulas to get drunk, meaning that an elephant must consume around 55 liters of Marula juice.

Elephants can consume one to two percent of their body mass per day. Thus an elephant eating only marulas may eat in the region of 30 kg of marulas in one day or approximately 714 individual fruits. This is less than half the amount of marulas needed to produce intoxication.

Wayne – Kapama River Lodge

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