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What does a safari smell like?

posted Jul 31, 2012, 10:02 PM by jj pionke
Got this question from a reader and it's a pretty good question.  We went through forest, jungle, savannah and a transition area between savannah and jungle and they all smell a bit different.  They smell like themselves.  The jungle was warmer and more earthy, the forest was like a cool forest back home, the savannah would have been quite over warm if it had been sunny.  The river didn't smell badly.  Mostly it smelled like clean water (even though the river is a dull brown) though the smell changed from place to place.  Sometimes it smelled more muddy, sometimes more grassy, and in one area it was quite floral.  In the inhabited area of the drive (going to and from the park), the overwhelming smell was one of fire.  Often the fire was a refuse fire so it wasn't the best smelling thing on the planet, but there were times when it just smelled like a fire you'd have at a campsite.  Honestly, the safari made me feel like my lungs had been cleared out.  There are mufflers and catalytic converters here but once they go badly, especially the converters, they aren't replaced.  There are a lot of vehicles on the road that belch out black or white smoke and of course, I walk everywhere so I am constantly breathing in pollution.  It was refreshing to just breathe fresh air and to not be around lots of people.  I hadn't realized how much of a press of people there are here and the press of the stares until I was gone from them.  I was discomforted by the stares when I first got here and then, after being here for weeks, you get used to it.  I'm always aware of being stared at but now I just don't particularly think about it but being in a place where it was gone made me realize how much I am still aware of it and how much low level stress it causes.  At any rate, doing the safari where I was breathing in clean air, eating excellent food, and seeing amazing things was really awesome.

I did bring a pair of binoculars with me on the trip and I am very glad I did.  We didn't use them as much on the game drive, but they got used extensively on river cruise and since I had an exceptionally good pair, I was able to see a lot more and a lot further than most people.

A picture of the forest:

The forest path.