Security in a South African context usually has connotations of urban crime.

However, the photo challenge theme this week prompted memories of family security seen in Kruger National Park.

A baby baboon is safely and discretely brought across the road by its mother, as it holds on with complete trust and security.

 

This is actually a still from a video of our time in Kruger.

This was our third safari, having previously visited Tarangire and Ngorongoro in Tanzania, and Masai Mara in Kenya.  Kruger was different from both in a number of ways.

Firstly, paved roads and the self-drive option (although we didn’t avail of this) – the wilderness aspect is lost just a little, and Indo believe that guided safaris remain preferable, between benefiting from knowledge and experience of the guides.  We went with Africa Spear Safaris, bookable from Johannesburg, Nelspruit and Maputo. However, the roads do ensure you can cover vast distances over each day, helpful with the scale of what’s on offer.

Secondly, and linked to the first, this is a true National Park, priced for democratic access for the many, rather than the privileged few.  Sanparks, who run Kruger, have a range of value accommodations, restaurants, shops and bus tours which make this an affordable option.  The quality of Sukuza where we stayed, the food served and opportunities like night drives make for a special visit.

The stars of any safari are of course the animals. It is incredible to see the big cats, and the rare and endangered rhino.  However, it’s the unexpected that often stays with you. For us, the sight of a hippopotamus bleeding out after a lion attack stays in the memory.  Still alive, and flinching as birds peck at the open wounds, it is soon to die – most likely from heat exposure – and the lions will return to feast.  The majesty and cruelty of the natural world laid bare before us.

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