Have you ever seen a Monkey Orange Fruit in Namibia?

To be honest for a few Namibians (including myself) the monkey orange is known as the ‘Kavango Lemon’. It is one of the most delicious wild fruits grown in Namibia. When it is ripe, it contains a bright orange colour with a hard exterior. Whereas, on the inside one will find juicy light to dark brown seeds that have a sweet-sour flavour.

The eating experience is mostly enjoyed by sucking the sweet flesh from these seeds, however it gets quite messy. Often the seeds can be sun dried for preservation and can similarly be turned into an alcoholic drink.The fruit can be used for desserts too. After the seeds are removed, the woody hard shell is used to make sound boxes for marimba musical instruments. Furthermore, they can be carved and sold as ornaments.

Scientifically the monkey orange fruit is known to grow on the Strychnos cocculoiddes tree, also known as the Corky Monkey Orange. It is an evergreen semi deciduous tree, with a pale grey to brown bark, which grows to 4m high in dry woodland. It is found in northern and north-eastern Namibia within close proximity to the Okavango River and Rundu area.During October to December small green and white flowers can be seen on the trees.

The fruit (seeds), roots and leaves can be used for medicine. Traditionally,people do make use of the roots, bark and unripe fruit to treat snake bites. The bark and unripe fruit is strongly believed to contain a presence of strychnine and alkaloids that are both helpful to overcome the venom of snakes, such as the mamba.

The strychnine is a vital and powerful stimulant for the human nervous system and is able to fight the respiratory depression caused by the venom of the snakes. Additionally, it is used as a treatment for painful eyes.

When headed to the Hakusembe River Lodge you will find the fruits being sold by the local people alongside the road in the Kavango East Region (easily noticeable due to their colour).

Keep an eye out for these fruit when you are visiting the Hakusembe River Lodge, on the banks of the Kavango River.

If you have more information or recipes on the Monkey Oranges, we invite you to share them in the comment section below?

Author –  I’m Nela, from Windhoek Namibia but born in a small village called Omatunda in northern Namibia. I am passionate about writing, research and photography, as it helps me gain knowledge about people and my country.

 

 

 

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Do you know the origin of the Cape Cross in Namibia?

To most, the name Cape Cross relates to the Fur Seal Reserve along the Namibian Skeleton Coast. However, its origins are rather interesting. During the Great Exploration, the Portuguese were the first Europeans to land on Namibian soil. Namely, Diogo Cão in 1486. Before shipping out, he erected a stone cross in honour of the king of Portugal.

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The crosses served varied purposes. Some symbolized religion, proclamation of ownership of the land and of course landmarks for passing ships. Centuries later the cross was taken down and sent to a museum in Berlin. And replaced with another cross, constructed by German settlers in the 1800’s.

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Eventually the German colonials invested further research into Cape Cross and found the  massive Cape Fur Seal colony. The Englishman who was doing the exploring also found a great reserve of guano (i.e. bird poo). Yes, most of us would not find this discovery all too interesting. However, there was a great need for the product in England to be used as fertilizer.

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Just like that, a concession was granted by the German Colonial power for the English to establish The Damaraland Guano Company. Eventually, the general focus shifted from guano to seal skins. The shift included a change in authority as well. Coming to an end in 1903.

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Finally in 2001 all that remained was demolished to make way for the Cape Cross Lodge and the Reserve was founded. Today, the location serves as an attraction to visitors. It is strange to think how much happened at the site and how things have shifted over time.

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This is a great place to visit while staying at The Delight Hotel in Swakopmund.

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If you have any information on the history of Cape Cross, we invite you to share it with us in the comment section below.

Author – Jescey Visagie is a proud Namibian and is passionate about writing and language. Tag along for the ride as she tries to uncover new insights into Namibia and explores what the country has to offer.

 

 

 

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Did you know that the Phillips Cave in Namibia is home to a white elephant?

Truth be told, the title may be a bit misleading… but there is a white elephant in that cave ! Phillips Cave, is a cavern that was discovered on the farm, Ameib. Consequently, the cave was named after the owner at the time, E. Phillip. Located between Swakopmund and Usakos, the cave is about a 45 minute walk from the farm.

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In 1951, this site was dubbed a National Monument. This is due to the various rock paintings left by the nomadic San People. And this is where the white elephant comes in. A painting of a white elephant (drawn over some kind of antelope) is the most prominent piece in the cave. Amongst various paintings, archaeological inspection also uncovered stone tools.

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The cave is only fifteen metres deep, but thirty-five metres wide and seven metres high. Various animals are depicted on the walls of the cave. However, a few paintings of women and hunters can also be found.

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Day hikers can access the site via the Ameib Farm. There is also a popular picnic spot backing stacks of boulders. Including the Bull’s Party, a collection of boulders that resemble a group of bovines.

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This is a great stop on your way to Swakopmund and the Gondwana Collection’s The Delight Hotel.

If you have any stories or information about the Phillips Cave, we invite you to share them in the comment section below.

Author – Jescey Visagie is a proud Namibian and is passionate about writing and language. Tag along for the ride as she tries to uncover new insights into Namibia and explores what the country has to offer.

 

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