• Meerkat family huddling together.
    The Bush Telegraph

Levin Family Safari Trip Report

Posted by Margaux on Thu May 16, 2024 in News from the Field.

The Levin family's safari adventure began in Cape Town with its iconic Table Mountain and lively food scene. After exploring the city, they flew to Hoedspruit to experience the wonders of Kruger National Park. Here, they had remarkable encounters with wildlife, including a white lion, African wild dogs, and a near-hunt by cheetahs. Their journey also included visits to local villages, an animal rehabilitation center, and unforgettable moments in the Balule Game Reserve, where they saw rhinos, lions, and an elusive leopard during a night drive. Read more to find out about this incredible Family Adventure...

The Levin family's private safari adventure began in the breathtaking city of Cape Town, where the iconic Table Mountain dominates the skyline. Staying in the Blouberg area, they had panoramic views of the mountain that seemed to change colors with the shifting light throughout the day. This served as the perfect backdrop for the start of their journey, with adventures in Cape Town's Peninsula Route and the famous Boulder's Beach penguin colony awaiting them.

Above: Boulders Beach Penguin Colony

Since the whole family are avid foodies, Cape Town's vibrant food scene was a major highlight. They visited some of the city's renowned food markets and dined at exquisite restaurants. The rich blend of cultures in Cape Town offered an array of culinary delights that satisfied their gourmet cravings, from freshly caught seafood to traditional South African dishes.

A short flight then brought them to Hoedspruit, where Hylton and I guided them in our open safari vehicle, ready to explore the magnificent landscapes and diverse wildlife of Kruger National Park. Our base was The Orpen Lodge, a charming and intimate retreat on the outskirts of the park. This setting provided a serene atmosphere and easy access to the 2 million hectare wilderness.

From the very first afternoon game drive, we were rewarded with incredible wildlife sightings. The white lion of the Birmingham pride made an impressive appearance, an extremely rare sighting that left everyone in awe. We also encountered a pack of endangered African wild dogs, which are seldom seen in the wild due to their low population. A near-hunt by cheetahs had everyone on the edge of their seats as a spotted cat almost caught an impala. The sight of a lioness carrying a cub in her mouth as she crossed the path in front of us was equally mesmerizing. These are the moments that make safaris so magical.

Elephants, giraffes, and zebras were frequent companions during our drives, but I was especially thrilled when we came across a partially leucistic dwarf mongoose—an extraordinary phenomenon I had never seen before.

Above: A protective lioness and her cub in the Kruger National Park

The family's fascination with wildlife and their interest in local culture inspired us to arrange a unique village tour in Welverdiend. Guided by a local expert from the Nourish EcoVillage, we saw the challenges faced by community members due to a lack of basic amenities like running water and sanitation. Visiting the local crèche, the Levin children had the opportunity to make new friends, engaging in games and laughter, creating a genuine connection that transcended language and cultural barriers.

Above: Learning the traditional skill of mat-weaving in the Welverdiend Village.

Before leaving the Orpen region, we visited the Moholoholo Animal Rehabilitation Center, a remarkable organization dedicated to rescuing injured, orphaned, and endangered wildlife. This experience deepened the family's understanding of the threats faced by African wildlife and the important work being done to protect these creatures.

Our journey continued to the Balule Game Reserve, part of the Greater Kruger National Park, where we stayed at Mohlabetsi Safari Lodge. Here, we had extraordinary encounters with rhinos. On our first drive, we watched a rare interaction between a black rhino cow and a calf with a white rhino bull. It was heartwarming to see the young black rhino playfully head-butting the white rhino bull, something neither Hylton nor I had ever witnessed in the wild.

Above: White Rhino and Black rhino encounter

The excitement didn't end there. Lion sightings were abundant, and we were privileged to follow a pride as they roared to assert their territory in the early morning rays. A night drive revealed the elusive leopard, a graceful female who walked right toward our vehicle, illuminated by our headlights. It was a sight to remember, her spots glowing against the darkness.

Above: Fun in the Balule Game Reserve

The Levin family's safari adventure was truly one for the books, filled with unforgettable moments and unique encounters. We are grateful to Joshua, Laura, Hallie, Lucy, and Ruby for allowing us to design their custom safari and for trusting us to make their safari dreams a reality. As we said our goodbyes, we knew that these memories would last a lifetime, and we can't wait to plan our next African Safari adventure together.