Safari in Kruger National Park, South Africa by



Journal Notes

While living in South Africa, my family came over for a two week visit to explore parts of the country. One of the highlights of our trip was a stay on the outskirts of the infamous Kruger National Park in one of the private reserves. At this point in my life, I had been on a lot of safaris – though all of the budget variety. Every safari has been incredible but, this one blew past experiences out of the water. At a higher end lodge, you receive an unprecedented level of intimacy with the wildlife, exploring the park with few guests and occasionally on foot. I learned much more than before about the intricacies of the region, and was lucky enough to see some truly spectacular sites.

Likely the most unforgettable site was witnessing a mother leopard teach her cubs to climb a tree. The previous evening, we had seen her drag an impala up into the tree for safekeeping, and we returned in the morning to see if she would show us her new cubs. We lucked out! The mother baited her cubs with the impala, encouraging them to climb up the tree in order to eat. For a half hour, we watched these tiny cubs hurl themselves at the tree, clawing their way up as high as possible. It was a fruitless endeavor for much of the time. However, after numerous attempts, the strongest cub made it all the way up and was rewarded with exclusive rights to the kill. The siblings cried at the bottom in frustration. I will never forget the noise they made in anguish, occasionally glaring at their mother.



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