Today we took guests from South Africa as well as guests who own their own stable yard in France. It was a beautiful summer’s day, and we split the ride up so that I could take the more advanced riders on an exhilarating canter while Anna took the beginner riders on a tranquil trail through the thick bush.
On the way home we had a trot through the dam which has filled up so nicely after the good rains the lowveld have been having.
The horses know that there will always be a drinks break where they can tuck into the green grass, and we stopped at the large dam half way so the horses and riders could relax and eat refreshing marula fruit that grow on the sheltering trees there.
Marula tree is a single stemmed tree with a wide canopy, and is easily recognised by a grey mottled bark. The tree grows up to 18 m tall mostly in low altitudes and open woodlands, and are a favourite with leopards and other climbing mammals in the bush.
The fruits have a light yellow skin and with white flesh; rich in vitamin c – about eight times the amount found in an orange are succulent, tart with a strong and distinctive flavour. The seeds inside the stones have a delicate nutty flavour and are much sought after, especially by small rodents who know to gnaw exactly where the plugs are located.
The seed kernels are high in protein and fat, with a subtle nutty flavour, and constitute an important emergency food.
Marula Oil made from the seed kernel, can be used as a type of skin care oil and is a delicious additive to meals in Africa. An infusion of the inner bark of the Marula tree may be applied to scorpion stings and snake bites to alleviate pain and the leaves are chewed on to help indigestion and to treat heartburn.
Amarula is a popular cream liquer from South Africa also made from the fruit of the Marula tree!