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Wilderness untamed

Safari addict and conservationist Kenneth Coe has a wild time at Chad’s Zakouma National Park

I pick up my satellite phone and ring my family. Our daily calls normally go off without a hitch, but now it was hard to hear them over the collective honking of more than 500 black crowned cranes. Once I had returned to Camp Nomade, I telephoned back. “What on earth was that noise?” my wife said.

I have travelled to Africa more than 30 times and visited some of the best parks, but Zakouma is different. At one point, I was standing under countless redbilled queleas roosting in the forest for the night, the noise and temperature escalating past breaking point. The animals assaulted the senses as different species mingled. A herd of more than a thousand tiang grazed a stone’s throw from a flock of 300 spur-winged geese, as the sunlight highlighted the birds’ deep burgundy and seagreen hues.

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