The smell of Africa

A mix of flowers , charcoal , sweat , sand , food and a touch of kerosene, in the rainy season mixed with the warm scent of fresh rain. That’s the smell of Africa. Every time I land at Kilimanjaro Airport after a flight of more than eight hours , and the doors at the back of the plane open, I quickly grab my luggage and run to the door. After the first step on the moving stairs , I always stop to breathe the smell of Africa. It sounds cliché , but the smell is so unique and special that you immediately know you’re in Africa . Last Sunday, I also came back in Kilimanjaro after a three-week trip to the Netherlands. I thought the rainy season had already started before I went to the Netherlands , but after we had left the plane, it started to drizzle a little . However, when we walked from the arrival hall to the car , it rained a bit more . And once we were in the car , it came pouring out of the blue. Rivers swirled across the road and I remembered again: This is the rainy season . During the day, there is a lovely weather. The sun is shining and it’s pretty cool. Almost similar to the Netherlands as there it was far too hot for this time of year. The next day when I went to work, I saw the effect of the rain. The maize that had a height of 30cm three weeks ago was suddenly two meters high. This shows clearly how fertile the soil is around Kilimanjaro, but also how much the rains are needed here . Unfortunately, Kilimanjaro has not yet shown up these days . Although the weather is sunny during the day, the mountain hides in dark gray rain clouds. We all have that thing that you are immediately swallowed by the daily life and work after such a trip. So, I was immediately used to everything here . But the occasional smells make you realize that Africa is different from Europe. They are so intense. Sometimes you suddenly catch the scent of sweet flowers or fried chicken or a natural body odor, but it is never distracting. I advise anyone who sets foot on African soil for the first time or for the umpteenth time, after a few days or a few years, first start to breath in and enjoy the smell of Africa.

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