5 Tips for Glowing Skin

As I watched the movie, Black Panther, I marveled (no pun intended) at the beauty of the women’s skin. Lupita Nyong’o’s, Danai Gurira’s, and Florence Kasumba’s skin were flawless like they had been hand-dipped in rich chocolate. I thought − no amount of Hollywood smoke and mirrors can produce skin so radiant.

Photo credit: Matt Kennedy/Marvel Studios

The secret to flawless skin lies within your skincare routine. I’m talking about a routine that goes beyond basic cleansing. Below are five easy things you can do right now to achieve a royal glow.

Dry Brush Your Skin Daily

Dry brushing before you shower or bathe helps unclog pores. It cleans pores allowing your skin to breathe to aid in acne and blackhead elimination. It excretes toxins from the body. It increases blood circulation delivering oxygen and nutrients to your skin. Dry brushing exfoliates dead, dry skin to revitalize, soften and smoothen skin to give it a glow.

Exfoliate with Body Scrubs Weekly

Body scrubs gently remove the outer layer of your skin. Thus, eliminating dead skin cells, dirt and oil. This facilitates in unclogging your pores and exposing healthier looking skin.

Body scrubs are typically blended with sugars, coffee grounds, sea salts, moisturizing oils and butters, and essential oils.

Moisturize Daily with Body Butters or Oils

Body butters generally consist of naturally derived Nilotica Shea, Mafura, Mango, and Cocoa butters. These butters are vitamin-, mineral-, and fatty acid-rich. Because body butters are predominantly oils and butters, they create a protective barrier over skin retaining skin’s moisture for a long period of time.

Oils replenish the oils your body loses during showering and bathing. Oil is natural to your skin. It lubricates, heals, protects and moisturizes your skin. Use oils like Baobab, Marula, and Moringa that are vitamin-rich, hydrating, and skin protecting. No petroleum-based or mineral oils, please.

Enjoy a Weekly Spa Bath

Harness the power of bath salts made from Dead Sea salt, Epsom salt, Himalayan Pink salt, Mediterranean salt, seaweed, goat’s milk, and essential oils. Bathing is a way to release toxins from your body, receive the nutrient rich minerals in sea salts, and softens skin.

Daily Sunscreen

Daily sunscreen is a must to protect from the sun’s rays. Choose a broad-spectrum, non-nano zinc oxide sunscreen product. Don’t be misled by marketing gimmicks and buy a sunscreen with a high SPF (sun protection factor). Anything over SPF 45 does not offer you additional protection.

Incorporating these skin treatments into your skincare routine will leave your skin glowing like a queen. #Wakandaforever


Shocking image of black rhino killed by poachers wins Wildlife Photograph of the Year

A shocking photo of a rhinoceros that was slaughtered for its horns has been named Wildlife Photograph of the Year 2017, reported The Independent.

The image was taken by South African photographer Brent Stirton in the luhluwe Imfolozi Game Reserve in north-eastern South Africa.

It shows a black rhino slumped in the mud with a raw, fleshy area where its horns used to be. The animal was shot during the night by poachers who used a gun with a silencer to avoid being detected. They then hacked off the rhino’s two horns, which in some Asian countries have a street value higher than gold or cocaine.

In China and Vietnam, rhino horn, which is actually made of the same material as human toe and finger nails, is believed to cure an wide array of illnesses. Black rhinos are now a critically endangered species, largely because of the illegal trade in their horns. There are thought to be only around 5,000 left in the world.

The image, named Memorial to a Species, is part of a series captured by Mr Stirton. He visited more than 30 sites at which animals had been killed.

He told BBC News: “My first child is going to be born in February; I’m 48. And I think I left it such a long time because I kind of lost faith in a lot of the work we see as photojournalists. You lose faith in humanity to some extent.

“For me to win this, for the jury to acknowledge this kind of picture – it’s illustrative that we are living in a different time now, that this is a real issue. The sixth age of extinction is a reality and rhinos are just one of many species that we are losing at a hugely accelerated rate and I am grateful that the jury would choose this image because it gives this issue another platform.”

Source: Weird
Story first published: 19th October 2017

Wellness Is Not A Trend

In the media, we often hear the conversation, “What’s the latest wellness trend?” The ‘trend’ concept of wellness suggests that it’s a movement for the moment that could drift depending on external forces or swing along an irregular course.

Actually, the more important conversation is, “How to create a wellness lifestyle for a higher quality of life.” This would elevate the conversation from what’s fashionable, or faddish, to a dialogue about a dedicated way of life. In turn, this would elevate wellness to a driving force of human existence.

Photo credit: Julia Caesar on Unsplash.

In this age of self-care, living with intention and well-being, more and more people are shifting their thinking to wellness. According to the National Wellness Institute  (NWI):
“Wellness is an active process through which people become aware of, and make choices toward, a more successful existence.”

Furthermore, the NWI interprets wellness as a conscience, self-directed choice that’s multi-dimensional and holistic, positive and self-affirming.

The widely accepted paradigm of wellness comprises:

  • Physical – maintaining a healthy body through exercise, nutrition, and good lifestyle practices.
  • Intellectual – being open to new ideas, experiences, and learning.
  • Professional – being engaged, stimulated, and satisfied with your work.
  • Emotional – understanding your stress and the ability to cope, problem-solve, and manage our emotions.
  • Social – having healthy relationships and networks with family, friends, and others.
  • Spiritual – having moral values, forgiveness, empathy, and gratitude.

When we evaluate the wellness constructs, there may be gaps that we identify in our lives. Identifying these gaps can help us determine where we may need to put in some extra effort. And it’s an ongoing process, not a ‘trend’.

The focus on wellness is of paramount importance. Every action, reaction, or emotion reflects our overall wellness. When these components exist in our life, then we begin to experience a higher quality of life.

The small African nation leading the defiance against Trump.

His Excellency President Seretse Ian Khama

Botswana might be home to just 2.2 million people but its leadership punches above its weight in standing up to Donald Trump. Whether responding to his crude comments about Africa or defying him at the United Nations, Botswana has stood taller than many of its bigger African counterparts.

Following Trump’s comments referring mainly to Haiti and African countries as “shithole countries,” Botswana’s government has asked the US ambassador to the country to “clarify” if it’s one of those Trump considers a shithole country. It has also described the comments as “irresponsible, reprehensible and racist.”

It’s not the first time Botswana has been stood up to Trump’s America. In December, Botswana kicked against rhetoric from Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the United Nations, which suggested that action would be taken against countries that voted against the US in the general assembly vote on the status of Jerusalem.

“Botswana will not be intimidated by such threats and will exercise her sovereign right and vote based on her foreign relations principles,” the country’s government noted in a statement. “The threatening and grossly inappropriate communication, whose purpose would be to undermine the sovereignty of Botswana as an independent country, also demonstrates unprecedented diplomacy,” it added.

From: Quartz 12 January 2018

Down, down, down it goes…

…down the bathroom sink, the bathtub/shower drain, the toilet – all those places that we allow the “dirty” water to pour into… ever wonder where that water goes?

For most of us, that water heads for a treatment plant, where – once cleaned – the water heads out to a stream or river or lake. But, the question must be asked: How “clean” is that clean water?

Treatment plants do a great job at removing objects and solids then adds filtering processes to remove small particles. Further treatment with bacteria and chemicals leave the water clean enough to drink directly – supposedly.

But, what exactly is “clean”? What about some of that stuff that goes down drains that may get through all the treatment procedures, e.g., chemicals? Ever wonder about those ingredients in your shampoo? Skin lotion? Bath bar? Makeup?

At present, treatment plants handle many common products found in waste water, but what about other chemicals: dietary supplements, drugs – prescription, over-the-counter,  veterinary – whole and ingested, pesticides, sunscreens, laundry soaps… the list goes on.

That anti-bacteria hand soap? What happens to that? As bacteria are an integral part of the water treatment process, can the anti-bacterials have an adverse effect in our eco-systems? If the chemicals are not removed, what happens to the ecology of our lakes and streams?

One study evaluated the presence of pharmaceuticals, hormones, and other organic contaminates in 139 streams in 30 states. They found 82 of 95 antibiotics, non-prescription drugs, steroids, and hormones in at least one sample. Eighty percent of streams sampled had more than one contaminant. Seventy-five percent had two or more. Fifty-four percent had more than five, 34% had more than 10 contaminants, and 13% of streams tested positive for more than 20 targeted contaminants.*

And that is just what they were testing for. Who knows what they missed.

Down the drain it goes, where it shows up, no one knows.

*Kolpin, D. W. et al. 2002. Pharmaceuticals, hormones, and other organic wastewater contaminants in U.S. streams, 1999-2000: A National reconnaissance. Environmental Science and Technology 36(6):1202-1211 in https://extension.psu.edu/pharmaceutical-disposal-and-water-quality.

The Loss of a Gentle and Gifted Man

We are deeply saddened to announce the passing of a mentor, friend, and colleague, Willie Alberts.

Willie lost a courageous battle to cancer. His tenacity, incredible spirit, and love of life nearly won the day, but his body was too badly ravaged from drugs and disease.

Willie had been an important part of DLG’s expansion into Botswana. He brought his keen intellect, a remarkable sense of quiet humor, unwavering patience, a plethora of skills, ranging from computers to plumbing, and a perseverance that never quit.

Willie started his career in South Africa as a researcher in  animal husbandry and became a practical agriculturist due to  extensive commercial farming experience. He was also involved in  research working with African indigenous fauna and flora.

He became involved with human resource development and advanced  in a training career within the agricultural disciplines. He  held the post of Rector of a Technical and Agricultural College and became involved in numerous community projects when he joined SAEOPA (Southern Africa Essential Oil Producers Association) in 2000. He had been the primary Agricultural Advisor for the association since then.

Willie had a unbridled love for nature and served as an Honorary Ranger for the South African National Parks, where he had been actively involved in conservation work.

Our condolences to his family, especially to Karen Swanepoel, Willie’s longtime partner.

Willie will be greatly missed.

“People are so difficult. Give me an elephant any day.” – Mark Shand

And now, let us entertain you.. with a fun youtube video and little elephants (the term “little” is relative).

“Of all African animals, the elephant is the most difficult for man to live with, yet its passing – if this must come – seems the most tragic of all. I can watch elephants (and elephants alone) for hours at a time, for sooner or later the elephant will do something very strange such as mow grass with its toenails or draw the tusks from the rotted carcass of another elephant and carry them off into the bush. There is mystery behind that masked gray visage, and ancient life force, delicate and mighty, awesome and enchanted, commanding the silence ordinarily reserved for mountain peaks, great fires, and the sea.” – Peter Matthiessen


Ending on a more sober note, one elephant is killed every 15 minutes by poachers in Africa.

“The question is, are we happy to suppose that our grandchildren may never be able to see an elephant except in a picture book?” – David Attenborough

Marula, Chobe, and Women Guides

We keep trying to talk about marula oil in this blog, but occasionally something comes along that we simply have to share with our readers. This time, it is an article written by Hillary Richard in the travel section of the Aug 27 issue of the New York Times: “The Wonder Women of Botswana Safari.” (Our thanks to Tony Carroll for calling this to our attention.)

Photo credit: Alexander Lahti

This article was intriguing for a couple of reasons. First, Botswana is the country where we harvest and process luxurious marula oil, and the Chobe National Park in Botswana is a true national treasure.

Photo credit: Hillary Richard

Second, Ms Richard speaks at length to this relatively new role of women in Botswana: Park Guide, a profession long dominated by men. Ms. Richard notes: “Guiding in Botswana is a prestigious career. Applicants must complete a standardized course that includes a placement at a safari camp, plus tests to evaluate English skills and scholastic aptitude.”

These women love their jobs. We support all efforts at elevating the status of women everywhere, especially in such challenging and demanding careers.

Chobe Game Lodge. Photo credit: Joao Silva, New York Times

Third, we encourage our readers – their friends and family – to consider traveling to this beautiful country and embarking on a great and memorable adventure: a safari! A number of excellent lodges are available, offering services and facilities that will meet even the highest standards of travelers.

Looking to travel Botswana? We can help. While we do not profess to be travel agents, we can answer questions and get people pointed in the right direction. Just ask.

Maybe we will see you here!

The Story of Marula, Elephants, and Beer

As many bloggers will note, sometimes staying on topic can be difficult. Anyone, who has ever written a paper or a journal, knows to stay on topic. Fortunately, no such rule exists for blogging!

In a previous post… actually previous two posts, we tried to stay focused on marula. DLG sells marula oil to international clients, so we have a particular interest in the subject: What makes marula oil so special? But, as in life, we have those “squirrel!” moments. Something attracts our attention, and off we go!

Photo credit: Ross Couper and Singita Safaris

This time, it was elephants! But, we stayed clear, intent on marula. No great, gray pachyderms would deter us from our appointed rounds. (Actually, elephants and marula do have their own story!)

Our focus this time is the marula fruit itself, the pulp that serves as food for animals and humans. But like many other kinds of fruit, marula can also be fermented. People in southern Africa make a “beer” (“mokhope” or “ubuganu”) from the fresh fruit, although “beer” may be the wrong descriptor. For those of us, who have brewed beer at home, about 4 weeks is required to complete the brewing process.

Not so with marula. We are talking a mere couple of days here. Days, not weeks. In fact, anything past three days is probably too much. After that, the concoction is very potent – even if any is left to drink!

Brewing marula beer is a cultural and social activity, taking place in the first few months of the year when ripe fruit is available… and there is plenty of ripe fruit! Woman peel the fruit, crush the pulp, and remove the stones (similar to plums). (Watch this video for a demonstration.) Water is added in an equal amount to the mash (oh, yes, don’t forget to remove the worms first), which is then left in a covered bucket for…

… one day, maybe two. If you are brave, you might try the three-day beer. Anything past that, fair warning!

After that, it is festival time! One of the biggest is the Limpopo Marula Festival. Out in the villages, however, people sit around in a shady circle, scoop beer from a communal vat, share large pitchers of the brew, and give thanks for fruit, the “mokhope,” and the wonderful, joyous tradition passed from generation to generation.

Now, about the elephants…. Well, maybe next time!

Marula – from Stem to Stern (or root)

Photo credit: Stephen Sporik. Paintings inside Pomongwe Cave.

We noted, in a previous post, a cave in Zimbabwe: Pomongwe cave. When discussing marula, specifically marula oil, bringing a cave into the conversation does not seem relevant. Except that it is from a historical context.

Marula has been part of the African life for centuries. As far back as ten thousand years, and very probably longer, marula has been part of the southern African diet. The fruit is highly nutritious, as are the seed kernels. Inside Pomongwe cave, evidence exists that over twenty million marula fruits were eaten.

Photo credit: Brett Hilton-Batber

The marula tree (Sclerocarya birrea) is one of Africa’s treasures. Not only is the fruit so highly valued, but every component of the tree can serve a vital purpose. The tree bears fruit from January through March – give or take several weeks, depending upon location, beginning when the tree reaches seven to ten years of age. Trees continue fruiting into their hundredth year and beyond (at over fifty feet tall, the ancient trees are quite majestic!).

While the fruit itself is important (especially to us here at DLG, and we will discuss it in future posts), Africans have used virtually every part of the tree:  The wood can be carved and the bark made into a dye or brewed into a tonic used as part of a marriage ritual (marula is known as the “marriage tree”). The bark contains antihistamines and is also used to treat fever, malaria, scorpion stings, snake bites, dysentery, and diarrhea.

The “mopane worm” – Saturniidae “Emperor moth” caterpillar. Popular food item in southern Africa. Large numbers of caterpillars can be harvested before the start of the rainy season, dried, and stored. Photo credit: P.A. Hulley.

The inner bark makes rope. Insects – e.g., the large Saturniid caterpillar, a resident of the tree, and the larvae of the cerambycid wood-boring beetle – can be roasted as nutritious treats. (We here are DLG have enjoyed the mopane worm as part of our meal.) The leaves are commonly used to treat heartburn and indigestion.

Marula trees are dioecious, i.e., they have a gender. The Venda believe bark infusions can determine the sex of an unborn child. If a woman wants a son, the male tree is used; a daughter, the female tree. But, if the infusion fails (a child of the opposite sex is born), then the child is designated as very special: he or he defied the spirits.

We cannot forget the roots, which are used for bilharzia (a disease caused by a parasite worm), sore eyes, weakness, and making an alcoholic medicine known as kati.

Finally, the fruit.  Inside the fruit, and held firmly by a concrete hard pit or stone, are one to four seed kernels. These are tasty, protein-rich food sources, and their high oil content makes for a lovely skin cosmetic – and it is the oil that we will focus on in future posts.