Reluctance to connection: Eugene Levy’s journey at Kruger National Park

Posted on 1 March 2023 By Tsoku Maela

Eugene Levy, best known for his comedic roles in films like American Pie and the popular television series Schitt’s Creek, has recently taken on a new project as the host and executive producer of the docuseries, The Reluctant Traveler. In a recent article for Conde Nest Traveller, Levy reflects on his experience filming at Kruger National Park in South Africa and his unexpected connection to the wildlife and landscape.

Reluctance to connection: Eugene Levy's journey at Kruger National Park

Picture by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Levy shares that growing up, he and his father would watch the docuseries Wild Kingdom together and that watching his dad’s enjoyment of the show was just as entertaining for him. So when the opportunity to film at Kruger National Park arose, Levy initially thought he had seen it all before and wasn’t too excited about the prospect. However, his mindset quickly shifted once he arrived at the park, and he found himself captivated by the beauty of the landscape and the wildlife that called it home.

As Levy explains, one moment solidified his newfound connection to the animals and the park. He was asked to assist in drawing blood and taking a stool sample from an elephant, which the park’s veterinarians do twice yearly for medical tests. Though he admits he had no experience in this area, he found the experience of feeling the elephant’s pulse through its giant ear vein unforgettable.

Despite the potential dangers of being in close proximity to the Big Five (lion, leopard, elephant, rhinoceros, and Cape buffalo), Levy found himself drawn to the park’s serene atmosphere and the thrill of being in such proximity to some of the world’s most majestic creatures. He recounts watching an elephant and hippopotamus grazing in the distance from his room at Kruger Shalati and feeling a deep connection to the landscape and its inhabitants.

Though he initially didn’t see the appeal of visiting a place he thought he had already seen, his time at the park allowed him to connect with the wildlife and environment in a way he never expected.

He reflects, ‘There was something about the beauty of the landscape and the danger within it—that combo that made me think, Okay, you know what, I get it now.’

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