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You'll know how batty I've become about safaris when I say that, as my husband and I were planning a visit to Israel for January 2017, I wondered if we could somehow sneak a safari into the otherwise mainly urban 10-day trip. I did a little googling. Israel is not known for its safaris, of course, but it does share a surprising number of species in common with southern Africa, though they are not as easily seen: honeybadgers, carmine bee eaters, and even leopards can all be found there (though the leopards are very, very rare). Birders apparently "flock" to Israel as it is a major migration route between Africa and Europe, and twice a year dozens of species of birds can be spotted migrating through. Some of the birds, having made it as far as Israel, decide to just stop and stay the winter -- that's the case with the Hula Valley, I learned, which is known for being the winter home to an enormous population of common cranes. As it turned out, Hula Valley was an absolutely glorious place to visit for a safari of sorts -- not only for the birds (which were incredible), but also for wild boar and, if you'll believe me, a species of wild cat too, called the jungle cat. Yes, I saw cats (well, a cat) in Israel. I'll explain a bit more about the details of getting there, etc., below, but here are a few pictures to start.
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