Out and About: Amarula Lapa Experience, Phalaborwa, Limpopo Province

Outside the Lapa

As you may know, I’m spending sometime in the Mpumalanga province.   Sometime last year I posted about the harvesting of Amarula………

So when I was planning my trip to Mpumalanga I remembered the story and made arrangements to visit the Amarula Lapa in Phalaborwa.   I am based in Hazyview and Phalaborwa happens to be a two hour drive.   It was my first time in the Limpopo province so I looked forward to experiencing the way of life and meeting the people.

Inside the Lapa
Inside the Lapa

I was welcomed by Lavish Mhlari of the Amarula brand.  When you visit the Lapa, you are greeted with a glass of Amarula served on the rocks.  The greeting is then followed by the question “where are you coming from?”.  This is not surprising as people come from different parts of the country and certainly from all over the world to experience the Amarula Lapa.   She took me through the processing and explained the brand and its involvement with the community.  Unfortunately, production only takes place in the summer season, therefore I couldn’t witness all the action.

Processing plant for marula pulp

The lapa is a both a processing plant and a hospitality centre for consumers to experience the brand Amarula.  It offers a coffee shop serving light meals and a curio shop selling Amarula Cream branded items.  There’s a also a lounge area and a story telling area where visitors get to watch a dvd with the story of Amarula.

Under Umbrella

The Amarula is a brand that involves community.  It is a brand by the people, for the people and the rest of us get to enjoy!  This whole visiting experience made me realise that the next time I get to buy a bottle I will be thinking of community in the town of Phalaborwa.  How they nuture their trees to make sure they bear fruit in order for them to supply to the Amarula plant and thus earn a living.

I drove around Phalaborwa immediately after visiting the Lapa.  I couldn’t help but notice something different about the houses.  Well, they are different to what I am used to.  The residents on this side of the country do not bother about painting the exterior of the houses. As a result the majority of them are brown or should I say they have the cement colour.    Where I come from houses are painted almost every year especially during Christmas time.

Houses in Phalaborwa
Houses in Phalaborwa

See more pictures from my visit here

Visit the Amarula site: http://www.amarula.co.za/home OR like Amarula  on facebook.

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 )

  • Sounds fascinating to see where Amarula comes from – wonderful that it is such a community based effort. Makes it taste even better!

    • Hi Kit, it is so green there on that side of the country. Every household has a garden, banana trees/marula trees you name it in their backyard. It’s a very interesting way of life. The fact that Amarula is involving the community in the production of the product gives them a sense of pride, achievement and ownership. It’s a great initiative. I wish all companies did the same.

  • Zandi

    Hi Thuli

    I read your article about Amarula Lapa. I’m original from Phalaborwa, and am proud of my heritage and the beauty of our Region. I can not stop to rave about the clean and beautiful townships and town. Phalaborwa is a small town, and yet it has a lot of cultural and economical diversities. Just for interest’s sake, where do you come from?

    • Hi Zandi,

      I didn’t get to see much of Phalaborwa but I drove around and found it interesting and different to what I’m used to. Check the about page…

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