As a ranger, I typically encourage company to make use of all of their senses while on safari. Not solely is it vital to admire the fantastic thing about the bushveld by means of one’s eyes, however for my part, it’s vital to interact extra than simply our sense of sight. Typically after a protracted, dry winter, the arrival of the primary summer season rains carry a lot delight, not solely to the animals however ourselves as nicely. The rainfall has introduced extra birdsong for us to pay attention to, it has crammed our rivers, permitting us to take off our footwear and really feel the water run previous, and final however not least it has allowed us to odor a plethora of aromas.

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The early summer season rains have introduced with them an abundance of bugs. Because of this, lots of the migratory birds reminiscent of Woodland Kingfishers have returned with their loud, trilling ‘kri-trrrrr’ as an iconic chicken name for all to take heed to from October by means of to April

Image this, it’s a heat, dry day and we’re within the early phases of the wet season. There may be an immense cloud build-up over the Drakensberg Mountain Vary and you may see a blanket of rain coming in direction of you. You possibly can odor it earlier than you see it, can’t you? Most of you studying this text will know what I’m speaking about once I describe that stunning aroma that one smells when raindrops hit dry earth. That recent, musky scent fills our nasal passages when raindrops make landfall and produce reduction to barren soil or a scorching tar highway. Don’t let the title of this text mislead you, the rain itself has no scent, it’s slightly the moistening of the soil that hurries up the breaking down of lifeless or decaying matter by a bunch of micro organism, inflicting a sure compound to be launched into the ambiance that we odor.

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A berg wind that comes off of the Drakensberg mountain is commonly a predecessor to an enormous thunderstorm within the Lowveld areas. It’s a scorching, dry wind that blows down the inland escarpment from the excessive central plateau in direction of the coast.

Elaborating barely additional on the method with out making it too sophisticated, the nice odor is attributed to a bunch of actinobacteria, extra particularly Streptomyces, which is current all around the floor and in most soils. The earthy odour is named ‘petrichor’ and it’s the truth is a results of us smelling an natural molecule, geosmin, which is launched because the Streptomyces dies or is consumed by different micro organism.

However how does a molecule within the floor get into the air for us to odor after the rain?

Briefly, it turns into aerosolised. Because the raindrops hit the bottom, tiny little air bubbles lure the geosmin, then shoot up by means of the raindrop and come out the highest releasing the aerosols into the air. The same instance is watching the bubbles pop off the highest of a freshly poured soda or Coca-cola, the place you’ll be able to then odor the coke. The wind then carries the aerosols throughout the land.

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It’s tough to grasp the reduction that the primary rains of the season carry to such desiccated landscapes. After months of little to no rain, all organisms, huge and small, come to life with the primary downpour.

The phrase petrichor is derived from the Greek phrase, “Petros” that means stone, and “ichor” that means fluid that flows from the veins of the gods. An applicable identify and pretty apt description in the event you ask me. It was coined by two researchers within the 1960’s after they found that it was being captured as a perfume and bought in Uttar Pradesh, India. The scent appeals to individuals due to its primal, primitive attributes and people are significantly delicate to it. In actual fact, human beings are extra delicate to the odor of geosmin than every other animal is, and it is a daring assertion! People are extra delicate to the odor of geosmin than sharks are to the odor of blood. A shark can odor one a part of blood per billion elements of water, whereas people can odor geosmin at 5 elements per trillion. Sharks are designed to have the ability to odor blood to seek out meals, people have to be designed to odor geosmin to be able to discover water.


The geosmin is launched in aerosol types which might be ejected from the bottom when raindrops make contact, these aerosols may be carried huge distances within the wind, therefore why we are able to typically odor the rain earlier than feeling it.

The odour is very evident after a protracted interval of dryness and it permeates the air within the early summer season months of October and November. So the subsequent time somebody asks, “Don’t you simply love that odor of the rain coming?” you’ll be capable of inform them what it’s all about!

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