On Safari: A Journey into Africa's Wilderness

Dung beetles are giant bugs that lay their eggs in elephant poop, rolling this large “dung ball” to an ideal spot for their babies to hatch. This helps clean up and distribute the seeds in the elephant dung across the landscape, making the dung beetle a very important creature for a healthy ecosystem.

After Addo, I took my family to Kruger National Park. Kruger is the largest national park in South Africa and one of the most famous safari destinations anywhere in the world. Kruger is almost the size of New Jersey, and this whole area is protected to allow the animals to thrive in their natural environment without interference from humans. During a daytime safari drive in Kruger, I saw lots of giraffes, impala, wildebeest, hippos, elephants, secretary birds and vultures.

Kruger is a very important place not just because it is fun to explore, but because it is necessary to protect some of the world’s most endangered animals. Kruger makes sure the natural environments the animals require do not get destroyed by people and arrests poachers who come to hunt the endangered species. Kruger has been vital in saving critically endangered species such as the rhinoceros and African wild dog.

Despite their name, African wild dogs are not dogs, but wild canines with great big ears. Their beautiful fur coats of splotchy golden and black patches are the reason they are sometimes called “painted dogs.” They live in packs like wolves and work as a team while hunting. Wild dogs are one of the most endangered animals, but I was lucky to see some while on a night safari in Kruger. They were resting for the evening near the side of a road.