Who knew a middle school auction could lead to a family trek through South Africa? Yep, that’s right, my parents won a safari for two at a Jewish Day School auction, and decided to seize the opportunity and make a family trip out of it.
Surely one of the most memorable travel experiences I’ve had, South Africa is both fascinating and truly breathtaking. We spent about a week exploring the city of Cape Town and steeping ourselves in its rich history, hiking Table Mountain, visiting the Stellenbosch wineries, swimming in the Indian Ocean, and spending time on Robben Island, the place where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 18 years.
After Cape Town, we flew to Durban and embarked on two incredible safaris, one in Zululand and one just outside Kruger National Park. We got up each morning at 5am, hopped into our jeep, and barreled through the bush for hours searching for wildlife. We would do the same thing each evening — since sunrise and sunset are the prime animal viewing hours. We saw everything from elephants, warthogs, and zebras, to leopards, monkeys, and lions. Not to mention the massive 700 year old tree, below, that absolutely took my breath away. It was a trip of a lifetime.