Freewheelin’ Zégut: South Africa

Before heading back to Route 66 and California, our columnist Francis Zygot… stopped in South Africa.

Birdsong wakes us up from our sleep, they come from a smartphone, it’s our alarm. It’s five in the morning and we wake up in our room 213 in Makalali Conservancy, in Limpopo Province, for our first game experience today, a game, animal reading in South Africa. After quickly drinking sage tea and nibbling on a few crackers, we boarded a Toyota Land Cruiser. In controls, two experts in tracking the Big Five*, Ramez and Matthew. I was left to hunt wild animals with no certainty of success, with the exception of the Impala, which we saw in the thousands. After an hour of trails, sometimes drenched in torrential rain at night, we see two leopards (leopards) rolling over the edge of a track, stopping from time to time to mark their territory by urinating. What a look! How this beautiful ! Then they disappear, branching off to the right, barely looking at us.

We’re drowning off-road in trails left behind by rhinos, rattling, twigs and leaves piling on our car. We stop, cut off the engine, take out the rams, equipped with a big stick and leave on the foot, which is absolutely forbidden for us passengers, we are in the bush, it is wild! Ten minutes after our tracker came back, we’re relieved. We leave, the rams see a commotion in the distance under a tree, a gang of lions have just hunted a wild animal, and there is no chance of escaping from this natural hunting of a family of felines in search of a meal, it may sound rough, but that is nature. We stopped 5 meters from the feast, the male, Zimbalu, served himself first, what a face of this lion, brilliant colours, spot under the left eye, perfect representation of appearance in The Lion King. It is spread on the side, fried, digested, eaten inside the monster first, the place is up to the female and her teenage young. The wild animal is still warm, we smell death, we see the animal’s convulsions, we hear the jaws of lions severing tendons, gnaws at bones. We stayed forty minutes observing, we were alone, fascinated, shocked by what we saw. After the lions will come the turn of eagles, and then hyenas. This is the wild life…to Richard, Amanda, Will, Vanessa, Roy, Michelle, Gary and his family, Mark, Choki, Catlego, and everyone else… We will never forget the smell of this land in South Africa, the wood species and elephant droppings, Sometimes huge!

* The five African mammals: the lion, the tiger, the elephant, the rhinoceros and the buffalo.

Francis Zygot

You can find this column by Francis Zygot at Rolling Stone No. 143, available on newsstands and here

Frances Zygot’s past records are here

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