The Marula Tree
The Marula tree, the source of several fascinating legends, has become a sacred and intricate part of ancient African culture. The ripening of the Marula fruit in summer coincides with great celebrations in many parts of Southern Africa. Locals have revered these trees for centuries and refer to them fondly by various names. Because elephants travel for miles to feast on the wild fruit, locals call it 'The Elephant Tree'.
Like the elephants, the Marula trees are protected under South African law. The Marula trees cannot be cultivated. No matter how hard people have tried, these mysterious, African trees stay robustly true to their earthy roots and grow only where they choose. Only once a year, at the peak of summer, the female Marula trees bear their unique fruit. When the scent of ripe Marula fills the air, the elephants travel vast distances in order to get a taste. This is the cue to begin the harvest. Local communities are an integral part of the process, and carefully hand-pick the fruit once the elephants have raised their trunks in approval.