Marula Fruit: Uses and Benefits

At the launch of Amarula Gold, I got to experience Marula fruit for the first time.  Imagine that, Marula fruit is an original produce of the African soil and most of us never get to experience how it feels to the touch, taste or even smell.  Well, I anticipated the opportunity so much that when the fruit was right in front of me I got a sense of smell and took some home to taste later.

Andie, beat me to it, she ate up all the three Marula fruit that I had with me and for that I asked her to describe it for this post, and this is what she had to say:

“The outer surface is tough and kind of difficult to peel off, it tasted a bit sour with a touch of sweetness.  It is a juicy fruit and I could taste the flavour synonymous with Amarula Cream Liquor even though it was subtle.  The texture is somewhat similar to that of a Litchi and the overall taste is more like that of sour grapes.”

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I personally think the fruit is not getting the credit it deserves; think about it, Marula fruit embodies the essence of the African continent.  It heals, feeds, soothes and nourishes its people and of course its animals.   For those who are lucky enough to have Marula fruit grow in their province (and their backyards), it is eaten by all, from children, adults, kings and not forgetting the animals.  Villagers have been using different parts of Marula tree as a healing source, food source as well as a recreational beverage.  Even animals caught up to this, (well we don’t know who started it first, the animals or humans, but we aren’t complaining, right?).    Come to think of it, these animals must be having one hell of a party between the months of February and March.  This is when the fruit is ripe.

Now to the more informative part; Marula fruit only grows and it is widely available around the African continent more especially around the Southern areas such as Zimbabwe, Namibia, Botswana, South Africa etc.

Every part of the tree has some use from the roots, bark, leaves to the actual fruit.  The tree itself carries a lot of symbolism within the different cultures of the African continent.  For an example:

  • Marula is believed to induce fertility – It is believed that women who it Marula fruit have a higher prevalence to conceive than those who do not.
  • Shangaan sangomas use the Marula nut when “casting stones” to foresee the future of their clients.  Vumani!!! Imagine that!
  • Marula nut is also used to make a snack called Dikgedu.
  • Oil is extracted from the nut and used to manufacture body moisturisers and lotions.

Marula fruit is used to manufacture several products ranging from cosmetics, furniture, pharmaceutical, food etc.  So, next time you come across a product using Marula fruit as an ingredient, please show your support.

Check out the video and see how the animals get drunk from consuming ripe Marula fruit.  Makes me think, I want what they are having!

About Author


Thuli Gogela is a Food Technologist with 8 years of experience developing products in food manufacturing. She is dedicated to discovering wholesome traditional dishes and recipes with a distinctive taste from different parts of the African continent. Thuli is well known for her food blog, Mzansi Style Cuisine which was established in 2010. She saw a gap in the traditional food market that people were hungry for. From there, it didn’t take long to build her brand. In 2013, she started writing a recipe column for the Cape Times for and has collaborated with some of the biggest brands in South Africa namely, Knorr, Nedeburg Wines, First Choice and Spekko rice. Not only does Thuli feature traditional African dishes, she’s also open to developing recipes, food consultations and brand collaborations.

Comments ( 6 )

  • Flee

    LOLOLOL… 🙂 That vid is hysterical, thanks for starting my Friday off with a giggle. The Hangover looks bad … Thanks

    • Hehehe!

      You are welcome, Flee! I’m glad it got you into a good weekend mood!

      XXx Thuli

  • Vonny

    Wow, an absolute scream, but so true. My hubby saw elephants falling all over the show, when he lived in Zimbabwe. We are so lucky to have a small marula tree in the bush where we live, in Bela Bela/Warmbaths in Limpopo, so will definitely make jam and try to dry the nuts etc.
    So very interesting to learn all about the marula fruit!

    • You are lucky indeed Vonny. Let us know how your jam turns out.

      Thuli XX

  • Gcinile.jiyane

    mmhm wow this is so interesting like my friend from Mpumalanga once asked if we have amarula fruits at Vryheid “Mondlo” and I said no coz I only saw them on the amarula advert until Monday this when we were about to attend class.There was this green thing on the floor and I took it and showed this other girl and she said this is a amarula fruit try to eat it.I did and guess what I looked for the tree the whole campus and found it and ate so many.They are so nice I like most the scent of it that is linch like..they are awsome

    • Thank you for your comment Gcinile!

      Lucky you for finding the Marula tree! That must have been quiet an experience and we don’t blame you for eating as much as possible lol!

      Thuli XX

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