The origins of mead can be traced back to the African bush more than 20,000 years ago. Then, feral bees were well established, elephants roamed the continent and weather patterns were seasonal, as they are today in Africa. Extreme drought conditions during the dry season and torrential rains in the wet season were common.
This weather pattern would eventually cause hollows to rot the crown of the Baobab and Miombo trees, where the elephant had broken branches. During the dry season, the bees would nest in these hollows, and during the wet season the hollows would fill with water. Water, honey, osmotolerant yeast, time and viola – a mead (or !Karri) was born. Early African bushmen and tribes gathered not only honey but also mead, and as successive waves of people left Africa, they took with them some knowledge of mead and mead making.