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Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Aromas of the Bush – Mashatu Sport Reserve

Sights, sounds and smells abound within the African bushveld. A superb safari will indulge all of those senses, from the early morning refrain of the birds to the alarm calls of animals that lead you to predator sightings.

Whereas seeing and listening to are the obvious senses we use within the bush, it’s the sense of odor that’s usually uncared for.

Listed below are just a few of our favorite bush aromas in Mashatu Sport Reserve.

  • Wild Sage (Pechuel-Loeschea)

This sturdy fragrant herb is synonymous with the bushveld for a lot of. It grows nicely in semi-arid areas and is prolific at Mashatu Sport Reserve. Additionally it is identified in different elements of Africa because the Stink Bush and the Sweat Bush, due to its barely bitter odor. The gray velvety leaves are used historically as an insect repellent.

  • Stink Shepherd (Boscia foetida)

Often known as Smelly Shepherd, this bush releases a really distinct aroma through the months of September and October when it produces small inexperienced flowers. Within the dry months at Mashatu, the tiny leaves function a lifeline to browsers whereas the berries are additionally a supply of meals for each animals and birds. Described as disagreeable, the odor is a selected favorite of mine, which unusually jogs my memory of the scented pencils and erasers of my college days.

If in case you have ever been driving within the bush and thought you smelled sizzling buttered popcorn, you aren’t imagining issues. Likelihood is a leopard has not too long ago scent-marked within the space. Leopards spray their urine on bushes and tree trunks to mark their territory, and convey loads of details about themselves to different leopards, equivalent to their gender and their reproductive situation (if feminine). You might not see the leopard, however in case you see recent tracks and decide up the odor of popcorn, it could be seeing you.

Elephants can produce about 100kg of dung a day, and with Mashatu being dwelling to the most important elephant inhabitants on non-public land in Botswana, that quantities to loads of poop. Elephants are herbivores and so they solely partially digest their meals, leaving their dung filled with fruit and seeds. This not solely makes for excellent fertiliser, however can also be a supply of meals for different creatures equivalent to birds and baboons. Elephants can transport seeds for as much as 65km, thus contributing to the biodiversity of their habitat. The earthy aroma of elephant dung is a continuing reminder that in nature, it’s as essential to take, as it’s to present again.

  • An Elephant Bull in Musth

The pungent odor of an elephant bull in musth is unmistakable. The sickly-sweet and moderately rancid odor is emitted by way of secretions of the temporin gland, in addition to the fixed dribble of urine that accompanies a bull in musth. You’d do nicely to heed the warnings of this odor, as elephant bulls’ testosterone ranges are elevated by about 60 instances throughout musth, emboldening them and filling them with the boldness wanted to problem different males for the proper to mate. Do you have to catch a whiff of this ominous scent, be looking out for a bull elephant strolling with a swagger and hold a secure distance.

As your day within the bush ends, it’s time to mirror over a sundowner. Benefit from the scent of the juniper in a gin and tonic earlier than savouring the style, as you watch the solar set on one other stunning day at Mashatu Sport Reserve. As you come to camp, it’s best to odor the hearth ready for you on the boma, the place you’ll finish your day sharing tales across the hearth together with your fellow travellers.

Due to Barry Miller and Michelle Stewart, common guests to Mashatu, for the inspiration for this weblog and our quite a few discussions of the smells round us.

By Janet Kleyn

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