Impala Lily

The famous Kruger National Park contains many iconic species of animals, including Africa’s Big Five mammals, along with Cheetahs, African Wild Dogs and much more. However, this incredible park is also home to some star species of flora. The Impala Lily Adenium multiflorum is certainly one of them.

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The Impala Lily, also sometimes called the Desert Rose or Sabi Star, grows in northern KwaZulu-Natal, eastern Mpumalanga and Limpopo, Swaziland, Mozambique and Zimbabwe, extending further to Malawi and Zambia. Most of its range in South Africa therefore falls within the Kruger National Park, and most of the park’s rest camps contain many examples of these decorative beauties.

It is a deciduous, succulent shrub that can grow up to 3 metres high, with a thick trunk and woody base with many thick and fleshy, short branches arranged in spirals.

The Impala Lily, that has been compared to a miniature baobab tree, flowers mainly in winter when the surrounding vegetation is rather dull by comparison to the brilliant white, pink and red flowers that cover these small trees. It is indeed a beautiful sight every time you see it!

The plant contains certain toxins that are harmful to domestic stock although they are seldom eaten by animals; however Chacma Baboons have been seen uprooting whole plants to feed on the tuberous rootstock. The toxins are used by the Bushmen as poisons for their arrowheads, although usually in conjunction with the toxins from another plant. Other San cultures use different species of the Impala Lily as treatments for snakebites and scorpion stings. The watery latex-like substance in the Impala Lily is also made into a “magic potion” used by many different African cultures both in South Africa and Mozambique.

For your chance to see this stunning plant in full bloom, visit the Kruger National Park with us in winter when it is easier to spot animals and the temperatures are milder. On our popular Southern Kruger Safari we visit several camps with many Impala Lily plants dotted in the grounds. Browse through this safari to see what it’s all about or get in touch with us at

The Marula Tree

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If you have ever been on safari in Southern Africa, the chances are good that you have had a sundowner drink called Amarula. What you may not know, is that this drink is made from the fruit of the Marula Sclerocarya birrea.

This beautiful medium-sized tree is common in the Kruger National Park and other miombo woodlands of southern Africa, some parts of western Africa and the island of Madagascar. It is a deciduous tree growing up to 18 metres tall. It produces flowers from September to November and bear fruit from January to March.

The generic name “Sclerocarya” is derived from the Ancient Greek words ‘skleros’ meaning ‘hard’ and ‘karyon’ meaning ‘nut’. This refers to the hard pit of the fruit. The “birrea” comes from the common name ‘birr’, for this type of tree in Senegal. The Marula belongs to the same family as the mango, cashew, pistachio and sumac.
Other common names for the Marula include jelly plum, cat thorn and cider tree. The Marula tree is protected in South Africa.

It has many uses for humans and is of great socioeconomic importance. The fruit has been eaten as food since ancient times, the fruit juice and pulp are made into a traditional alcoholic beverage, the fruit can be burnt and made into a type of “coffee” and Marula oil is used as a skin moisturiser and cosmetic ingredient. The fruit is, of course, also used to make the famous cream liqueur Amarula, a South African icon product the world over. The Marula also has various medicinal uses, including heartburn relief (leaves), antihistaminic properties (bark) and diarrhea relief (bark and branches).

The Marula, apart from providing shade for animals, also provides food for them. Various animals eat the fruit, including African Elephants, Giraffes, Greater Kudus, Common Warthogs and Chacma Baboons. African Elephants also eat the bark and branches of the tree and distribute the Marula seeds in their dung. The tree is also a favourite siesta spot for the Leopard.

The Marula has also featured in the writings and movies of Herman Charles Bosman, Jamie Uys and many others. There is also a firm belief among the Venda people of South African that the Marula has the power to determine the gender of an unborn child!
An interesting tree indeed!

To find out more about our Kruger Park safaris or to book a day trip in the Kruger, get in touch with us at