Four In Transit

Tales and Tips About Family Travel Around the World

*Inspired by Tippi, My Book of Africa

In South Africa I’ve seen a lot of wild animals. In one day in Kruger National park I saw rhinos, hippos, baboons, giraffes, buffalo, zebras, a leopard and lots and lots of elephants, who travel in big families. (Baby elephants are so adorable!)

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A few animals I had never seen before—not even in zoos—are wildebeests, warthogs, impalas and kudu. The wildebeest looks kind of like a buffalo but is smaller and has a hideous face. Warthogs are funny, pig-like creatures with little tusks that look like white coat- hanger mustaches. Impalas are a beautiful, deer-like animal, only smaller with horns that are shaped like graceful s’s the color of copper. Kudus are like big impalas. I only saw the females but my parents saw a male and said it has huge horns. Sadly, we didn’t see any lions.

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But before our journey in Kruger started, we did see some lions. We went to a lion park (which in fact also had other animals). One of my favorite parts of our afternoon there was when I fed a giraffe out of my bare hands. It’s really hard to describe, but I’ll tell you this much. It seems at first like the giraffe is going to bite off your hands, so you have to face your fears and hold your hand out so long it starts to ache. But when it actually takes the food, you feel a combination of a dog’s tongue and a cat’s tongue. It’s soft, hard, hairy and slimy all at once. Once you get used to it, it feels really good, but you have to watch out for the giraffe’s drool!

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The highlight of that afternoon was petting the baby lion cubs. (If you think I said the highlight was feeding giraffes, then check back!) The lion cubs are so cute!!!  They are like little fuzz balls. Pick your favorite animal—a puppy or a kitten—and they are ten times as cute. All of the cubs were very young. The youngest was three months old and the oldest was five months old. The five month old, named Marshmallow, who was the only white lion, was the nicest. He let us pet him and was especially attracted to my dad’s sweaty leg, which he kept licking. I asked my dad what it felt like and he said it felt like rough sand paper. It hurt a little but he liked it. Marshmallow also nibbled on my dad’s shoe, which was more surprising than painful.

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In addition to seeing and playing with animals, we’ve also met a lot of nice people, but that’s a whole different story!

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8 thoughts on “My South African Journey Begins (as told to my dad) by Esme

  1. Marijane says:

    Hi Esme – we love your blog! So insightful and we learned a lot – love the animal pictures too. Keep them coming and we want to learn 10 more new things! Love you marijane rich nick Greg and Nonnie

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  2. Auntie Sheri says:

    Hi Esme. You’ve had some amazing experiences. You will have the great memories, too. I wanted to pet Marshmello. He reminds me of Katie Scarlett except for the color. I like the way you described the differences in the customs there. Putting toilet paper in the trash would taking getting used to. Not wearing seatbelts seems pretty relaxing. We all are thinking of you and your family.

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  3. Colin Parham says:

    Hi Esme, it’s Colin. How are you doing? I loved the pictures of all the animals, especially the lion cubs. We miss you! Enjoy your trip! Love, Colin

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  4. Gabriel Hawkins says:

    WOW!!!!! I would love to pet a baby lion that picture was so cute, i can’t wait till you post up more about your amazing trip! I have never thought of writing my blog about the trips I go on have a fun time in your traveling and post up more about your trip. Love, Gabriel

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  5. Sue Epstein says:

    Esme, your report from Africa is very informative. You would make a very good journalist! It is very exciting to hear that you are experiencing so many new and interesting things on your journey. You and Roman look very happy in the picture. Who are those other children you are playing with on the statue? Please know your friends back in Brooklyn miss you and your family very much. We all look forward to your dispatches, so please keep them coming!
    Love,
    Sue (and Morgan and Maggie-the-Cat)

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    1. Sue Epstein says:

      P.S. Speaking of cats who like sweaty limbs, Maggie is also in the habit of licking me when I’m a little sweaty. She too has a rough tongue, but I love her “kisses.” Of course, domesticated animals are not really like wild animals, but even we domesticated human animals have our wild moments! Ask your parents to explain what I mean…xoSue

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  6. Anonymous says:

    Looks soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo fun! I wish I could be with you.
    P.S. look for our grown-up friend from south africa Nick! Send us a message if you find him! -Mia

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  7. MIA LIEBMANN says:

    Looks soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo fun! I wish I could be with you.
    P.S. look for our grown-up friend from south africa Nick! Send us a message if you find him! -Mia

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