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Eswatini's Traditional Marula Drink: Buganu

Eswatini's Traditional Marula Drink: Buganu

Imagine a beverage so cherished that it warrants its very own annual festival. In the heart of Eswatini, this delightful concoction is celebrated for its unique flavours and its potency that adds a special spark to any gathering. We're talking about Eswatini's traditional Marula fruit drink, often referred to as "buganu." This exceptional brew is crafted from the succulent juice and pulp of ripe marula fruit, and its creation is a time-honoured tradition. Join us as we delve into the fascinating process of how this beloved drink is made, from peeling ripe marula fruit to the magic of fermentation, resulting in a beverage that captures the essence of Eswatini's rich cultural heritage. So, get ready to embark on a journey into the heart of Eswatini's culinary traditions and discover the secrets of this extraordinary Marula fruit drink.


Preparation time

6 Hours



  • Marula fruits (quantity depends on the desired yield)
  • Sugar
  • 20 Litres of Water
  • 3 x containers



  • Find at least three containers to work with. You'll need one container for raw Marula fruits, another for peeled Marula fruits, and a third for the peels. Having an extra pair of hands can be quite helpful during this process.
  • Peel the Marula fruits and place the peeled ones in a separate container. The peels should be collected in the third container.
  • Extract the Juice by using a specialised tool or your hands to smash the fruits and separate the meat from the stone. It may require some effort. Squeezing the fruits with your hands can make a difference and adding a little water when it gets sticky can help.
  • Adjust the consistency by pouring just enough water to make the juice look more like soup than paste. Smash and squeeze the fruits further until the meat separates from the stone. Give a final squeeze to extract all the juices and then discard the leftover stones into an empty container.
  • Begin Fermentation by covering the bucket and leaving the mixture to ferment for a few hours.
  • After a few hours, you'll see clear juice settling at the bottom of the bucket while the rest floats to the top. Scoop off the top layer or foam, as it won't be used. You can now drink the sieved fruit juice.
  • Add the sugar and let sit for 2 more ours

- If you wish to turn it into alcohol, let it ferment for 2 - 4 days (optional: add sugar each day you check if desired).

Once fermentation is complete, serve the Marula fruit drink in a cup or "lidziwo."

Enjoy your homemade Marula fruit drink, a traditional taste of Eswatini!