Bushveld toiletries

This morning’s safari started out with not too much happening. After about half an hour of impala sighting after impala sighting I noted my guests becoming a little restless. While Jeffery my tracker was out following tracks of the male lion, I decided to show my guests some useful vegetation found all around us.

 

We started out looking at a Weeping Wattle (Peltophorum africanum) which was used by the local Shangaan people as toilet paper due to the softness of its leaves. A few comments were made about one or two ply tissue. I then showed them the Magic Guarri (Euclea divinorum), which is a small shrub with very wavy leaves. The branches of this tree are extremely fibrous, so by removing the bark and loosening the fibres, the branch makes a nice tooth brush. Now what use is a toothbrush without toothpaste?

 

Next was a Leadwood (Combretum imberbe), the ash of which is very white, indicating high calcium content. Mix it with a little water and put it on the toothbrush and your teeth will sparkle when you are done. Now all you need is some soap. This can be acquired by rubbing the leaves of the Devil’s thorn weed (Tribulus zeyheri) in your hands, which quickly start to form a slimy soap-like substance.

 

So there you have it, an entire toiletry bag in the bush.

 

Once I had finished, Jeffery returned with some great news, he had found the lions!

 

Dean Robinson

Head Ranger

Kapama Main Lodge



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