First Day at Kwa Madwala

This morning we went on our first bush walk in small groups. The main purpose of this was learning to identify plant and their medicinal uses, as well as animals and their tracks. We saw some impala and maribou stork, and the ranger taking us on the bush walk had some great stories. The reason I had gone to Kwa Madwala was through recommendation from a friend, who had been on his gap year there the year before, so me and the ranger discussed him for a bit.

Some of the plants we learnt and their cures were as follows:

Common thorny bush – The hangover plant.
Devil thorn – Has pods you can rub to create shampoo.
Sliver cluster bush
Monkey orange tree – Used for underwear. I believe men use the hollowed out oranges to cover their privates.
Buffalo tree – Buffalo hide under them hence the name.
Aniseed plant
Rooibos bush – The bush which red bush tea comes from.
Wild lemon/mint plant – It smells so good.
Common segal plant – I really don’t think this is spelt right, but it certainly sounded like that!

Lucky bean tree. Image not my own. 

Lucky bean tree – This tree has amazing red and black berries on it, that are often used as eyes for animal carvings. In fact I brought some back to the UK with me.
Marula tree – This is the tree from which Amarula comes, a fruity cream liquer like Bailey’s is the best description. Elephants are well known for eating the fruits and becoming drunk.
Aloe – It tastes horrible. Each level represents each year of life.
Num num tree – Possibly the best named tree.
Bush willow

Pretty much all the plants seemed to treat diarrhoea.

Geoffrey the giraffe as he approached.

Tracks we learnt included impala, kudu, giraffe and zebra. We also saw how far we could spit impala poo. In my case really not far. Geoffrey, a giraffe, who hangs around near the game lodge, came near by on our walk to say hello. Eventually we returned to the game lodge via the rickety bridge over the dam.

In the afternoon we headed into the local town, Malelane, after a macaroni lunch. Then we headed out for an evening game drive, as wildlife is most active at dawn and dusk in the bush. It was raining too hard to see anything much so we came back, but not before seeing some kudu.

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