Marula Tree and Fruit – Nature’s Own Intoxicator

Marula Tree and Fruit – Drunken Elephant Time?

The Marula Tree. It’s a tree native to Southern Africa, and is used in the fermentation of the national liqueur of South Africa called Amarula – a milky liqueur similar to Bailey’s Irish Cream, but it does have its own unique taste.  I quite like it.  It’s best served on ice, and it’s a nice dessert type drink.  Actually, pour some over a bit of vanilla ice cream for something different, or use it in an alcoholic thickshake – possible watching the sun set over Cape Town.

Marula Tree and Fruit Drunk Animals - Amarula Logo

Amarula is also used in the South African national shot called the ‘Springbok’, which I’ve listed in my 52 Weird Food and Drink Facts.  As mentioned in this list, the main danger of the Springbok is the actual drinking ritual, not the drink itself.

However, becoming drunk on fermented Marula fruit is not the exclusive domain of humans – other members of the animal kingdom can often participate in the drunken festivities.

I’ve included a video here shot in the 1970’s of animals allegedly becoming drunk after eating the fermented fruit.  Yes, it involves staggering African animals that look like most pissheads after having one too many in the local pub.

However, there is some debate about whether this video is fake (or staged) or real.  For example, I’m thinking that an elephant would have to eat an enormous amount of fermented fruit to become completely rat-arsed (this means drunk).  Can you imagine what an elephant’s hangover would be like?

Unfortunately, there are no kebab stands in the African bush to satisfy those after-booze-up munchies.  That would drive me insane.

I live on kebabs after a big night out drinking.

The Marula Tree and Fruit Drunken Video

Anyway, even if it’s fake, it’s still funny!  Enjoy the drunk animal video.

More Marula Tree Stuff

You can read more at Muthi and Myths of the African Bush: From the African Bush and Umthi We Marula/The Marula Tree. Someone has even called an album Amarula Tree!

Other things to do in South Africa after eating Marula fruit – make a Phone Call from Soweto or buy an traditional African Mask infested with bugs.

About Anthony The Travel Tart

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  1. James James
    June 9, 2009    

    Scientists agree (after a thorough study in 2005-6) that this film was staged, as it is impossible for animals (esp. elephants) to become drunk from marula. Unfortunately that means the filmmakers likely did something untoward to these poor animals, so it’s actually not funny at all.

    • June 9, 2009    

      Who knows how they did this clip? Could be one of those urban myths.

  2. June 9, 2009    

    This is hilarious. I was at the travel Indaba in Durban last month and this topic came up twice at separate cocktail parties. I read somewhere that Nat Geo proved it wasn\’t possible but i still love it. Here\’s something that I wrote on the topic as well: <a href=\"\"> </a>.

  3. Bilety lotnicze Bilety lotnicze
    June 22, 2009    

    Brings back memories – watched that film (Animals Are Beautiful People by Jamie Uys – although i seem to recall it was called Capricorn’s Beautiful People) when i lived in Botswana over 20 years ago. The same director did the Gods must be crazy part I and II – really very funny films. The documentary itself is very well done with a lot of funny gags and interesting facts about animals.
    As to the drunk elefants – i doubt that it was staged… how would one convince an number of animals to loiter about under a tree.. not to mention if one actually tasted the marula “drink” you would know that it could probably bring down the biggest of drinkers :d

  4. Buddy Cook Buddy Cook
    January 4, 2010    

    Iake or doctered in any way saw an educational film probably 40 years ago and the behavior of the animals was remarkably similar and I doubt that film was f

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