It’s Monday 16th April 2018 and time for Marula fruits at Mkulumadzi.

I do hope that you are all well. Here it’s the beginning of yet another busy week of hoping that the rains stop; but in the same breath finding a way in which to get Bertram and a team of guys up to Tena to start the process of camp building as we have a month to go. Once Bertram is in and sorted the next challenge which is a slightly harder one is getting teams in and up to Nsefu. However, we are not here this week to listen to stories from the Luangwa we have news all the way down in Mkulumadzi so for this week over to Erik:

“Here at Mkulumadzi we are beginning to get excited about the arrival of winter, which in these parts mean that the marula fruits are getting ripe, and that we will have a great deal of elephants moving into our part of the reserve and they will be with us for some time. They can be found in abundance stuffing themselves on these delicious fruits in the shade of the beautiful trees. Now, legend has it that elephants get drunk after eating the marula fruits, which have fermented in their stomachs. This makes for a really good story – however, scientists have debunked this as a myth. The conditions in an elephant’s stomach are simply not right for such a process to take place so we are quite unlikely to see any drunken ellies leaning against the marula trees. Instead though you are probably far more likely to come upon some humans grasping trees for support after having enjoyed the famous liqueur Amarula which is made from the marula fruits!

This tree is deciduous but also dioecious and that means that the tree can be either male or female. There is a strong belief in the villages around Majete that drinking the infusion of the bark of a male tree will lead to the birth of a baby boy, or that of a female tree, to the birth of a girl. I have seen our staff often turn to this tree for medicinal remedies. The leaves are chewed to reduce heartburn and ladies sometimes extract the oil from the nut to be used as a skin lotion. The fruit itself is only the size of a small plum but it has 4 times more vitamin C than an orange and is delicious eaten fresh. It can also be cooked to produce juices and jams.

Other than that, on the mammalian side of things, we have been very fortunate to have some good leopard sightings recently. Our resident lady leopardess is still hanging around the lodge hunting bushbuck and impala and we often find her tracks along the Shire River. Some guests were lucky to spot another individual in broad daylight and got some good photos for proof.

We are also eagerly awaiting the arrival of some new lions here in Majete soon. 3 females and 1 male are scheduled to join us from South Africa in the near future to further increase Malawi’s lion population. Depending a little bit on the dynamics between the lions, we are hoping that they will form a new pride and establish themselves in a resourceful part of the reserve where they can thrive and give us many more lions.

So those are a few updates on what is happening down here in the Shire Valley. We are looking forward to the main season starting soon. The lodge, the staff, the guides and the animals are all ready for it. Hope to see you there soon.”

Thanks so much Erik, it’s always fab to get updates of what is happening down at Mkulumadzi and good luck trying to beat the elephants to the marula fruit! Right well from my side I am going to leave you all to it and hope that you have a wonderful week with lots of smiles and laughter.



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