Aside from the majestic Baobab tree, the Marula tree is also a very famous and wide spread tree that can be found not only in the Kruger National park, but also wide spread throughout South Africa. The Marula tree is a fugacious tree that can grow up to 18m high. Marula trees grow in various woodlands in sandy loam soil. Found all throughout South Africa and Central Africa, From Ethiopia to KwaZulu Natal. Marula trees have beautiful flowers that bloom from September to November and bear juicy fruit from January to March. Rich in Vitamin C and very juicy, marulas are healthy and delicious. Many animals, including Kudu, Elephant, Monkeys, Warthogs and more, eat the fruits and leaves from a Marula tree as they are nutritious and high in fluids.
The Marula tree and its fruit have a large variety of uses. The wood from a Marula tree is soft and a perfect material for carving, the inner bark is strong and perfect for making rope, the skin of the fruit can be used as a substitute for coffee (when burned) and can be made into drinks after being boiled. The marula fruit is about the size of a small plum and has an amazing fragrance and is very juicy. Marulas can be made in to a variety of jams, and juices and can also be distilled to make alcohol. There are also many medicinal and cosmetic properties to be found in a Marula tree. Green leaves can be ingested to relieve heartburn, crushed bark and water can be ingested to treat diarrhea and dysentery and is also a malaria prophylactic.
Marula trees are dioecious, meaning a tree can be a male or a female. This is something that was part of the Venda belief that states that infusing barks could help determine what the gender of an unborn baby is. If the woman wants a girl, the female tree bark is used and if she wants a boy, the male bark is used. If the child that is born is the opposite gender of the tree, the child is considered to be special as it has defied the spirits. The Marula tree is part of a group of vegetation that makes up the Bushveld. The bushveld is a mixed vegetation type that covers Mpumalanga, a section of the Kruger national park and the slopes of the Plateau. The other vegetation that also makes up the Bushveld include the Baobab, Green Mopani, Fever, Acacia and tall grass.