Marula Festival – Phalaborwa
Apart from being the month of love, February is also marula month in the lowveld, where marula trees are dropping their round, sour fruit on the ground below them. Some adventurous souls randomly collect the green marulas to make marula jelly (preserve), while others use the yellow, ripe ones make a home-brewed marula beer.
Phalaborwa, being the home of Amarula, where the popular Amarula liqueur is made, draws thousands of locals, national and international tourists to this venue, just outside town. The 'town of two summers' is hosting the 13th Limpopo Marula Festival with the focus on the fruit under discussion, accompanied by a programme of entertainment.
This year is different to others in that the venue of the festival has changed. Instead of the Impala Park Rugby Stadium, it will be held at Ingwe Park this year.
MR Seaparo Sekoati, MEC of the Department of Economic Development, Environment and Tourism, outlined what this year's festival will entail: a street carnival, 4x4 challenge, community marathon, trade fair and exhibition, youth rugby and festival, career expo, a gold challenge and jazz festival. The festival coincides with the harvest season of February right through to the end of March.
Phalaborwa boasts an airport and golf course, a wide variety of choice accommodation and the privilege of proximity to the Phalaborwa Gate to the Kruger National Park.
Guests from Cuba, Venezuela, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Angola and Namibia have been regular annual visitors. Sekoati said: "The Festival draws domestic, regional and international tourists to Limpopo during this season." A fact-finding mission was sent to Germany's Munich Oktoberfest two years ago to glean knowledge and skills on how related festivals can be successfully conducted in a sustainable way.
This year's Limpopo Marula Festival kicks off with a half marathon and fun run on 24 February 2018. The event has three route options: 21.1km, 10km & 5km. Entry fees are respectively R57, R45 and R25. All races start and finish at the Bollanoto Information Centre on the road to the Kruger Park (opposite SPAR). Runners and walkers of 10km and 21,1km: 6:00. Fun Walk and Run: 6.45am. The cut-off time is 3,5 hours where-after the prize-giving at 9:30.
Other attractions at this festival include the Marula Beer Tasting with local brewers supplying the beer, exhibitions featuring products made from Marula - including soaps, candles, butter, jam, massage oils, chutneys and skin ointments.
Source: Pressreader, Google.