Stand UP South Africa: Kruger National Park

Early Wednesday morning our trip was already off to a great start, with an easy check in and not too long of a wait until boarding. After learning each other’s names, we were ready to leave gate B27 and head on our plane to SA. The flight was long, but most people managed to sleep a bit and of course catch up on all the newest movies. Upon landing, we met Dylan (our South African madrich) and Jeremy (our tour guide). We spent some time in the airport checking out the shops and getting everything ready for our 6 hour drive to Kruger Park.


Everyone was very excited to be in South Africa and our first part of the drive was filled with chatter and car games. We then stopped to buy lunch and saw rhinos and ostriches! After eating lunch on the bus, exhaustion caught up with everyone and the bus fell silent for a while, every so often erupting in more excited conversation when we saw monkeys, goats, and cows wandering in the middle of the road. We also drove past some shanty towns, filled with houses made of tin, some with thatched roofs. Along the way we saw women carrying babies on their backs and balancing baskets on their heads while walking between the green- trunked Acacia trees on the edge of the highway.


The journey to Kruger was made even more exciting by the many pot holes on the road, rudely interrupting everyone’s sleep! We finally arrived at the Olifants reserve, just in time to watch the sun set over the Olifants River. We then went on a boat cruise and saw some water buck and a crocodile and even saw a water buffalo- one of the big five! After that, we had a delicious dinner of hake and chips prepared fresh by our chef, and we ate at a candlelit table next to a roaring bonfire.


After super, the owner of the lodge took a few people to see some hippos lounging in the water. We also saw more water buck and some people even saw honey badgers. Friday morning began with a river cruise on the Olifants river, where we saw a crocodile and a giraffe. The chef came on board as well to cook us a delicious breakfast of fried egg on toast with vegetable wraps. For dessert there was fruit salad and South African coffee and traditional rooibos tea. We are now on our way to the Kubu Safari lodge where we will be spending Shabbat. This afternoon we will be going on a game drive in the hopes of seeing the big five and will be ending off the day with a Kabbalat Shabbat service under the stars.
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