MEMOIRS OF A MAVERICK
Hunter, poet, musician, cameraman and game ranger,
John Varty is South Africa's best-known-most
controversial - wildlife conservationist. He has been
living and working in the wild since early childhood,
when his passion for nature was ignited. Nine Lives is
the fascinating tale of this magnetic figure's
progression from hunter to filmmaker to conservationist.
It is also the remarkable story of a lifelong affair
Finally while I lay across the fisherman's boat,
delicately balanced like a sack of corn, my head in the
water on one side and my feet on the other, the
fisherman maneuvered the boat ever so slowly between the
waiting crocs. From my position, I was eyeball to eyeball
with the crocs and I didn't like what I saw. Primitive,
patient, the crocs waited for one false move. Nobody
said a word. All that could be heard was the swishing of
the oar. Although the distance covered was only 200 metres, it took us a good 15 minutes to get to the
mainland, certainly the longest 15 minutes of my life.
Instinctively the fisherman knew that he had his and my
life in his hands and he responded magnificently,
inching us across the dark water with great skill.
Evacuate after helicopter crash
Varty narrates the adventures, trials, mishaps and
triumphs of his extraordinary life, from hunting lions
at the age of twelve and teaching the orphaned lion cub
Shingalana how to hunt for food, to spending last
moments with the badly mauled Mother Leopard - who he has
been following and filming for years - before she crawled
into a termite mound to die. He reveals the secrets
behind his close relationship with certain big cats and
invokes the terror of his own narrow escapes from death, including a dangerous encounter with crocodile
and a near-fatal helicopter crash.
Suddenly Mangy Face charged me. Confident that I
had one more round in my revolver, I waited until she
was close, aimed between the eyes, and fired. The
revolver went 'click' and I realized I was out of ammo.
Things seemed to unfold in slow motion. Shingalana met
the charge full on. I fell over and, as I recovered
myself, Shingalana and Mangy Face were rolling over and
over in the sand fighting viciously.
Captivating, often humorous and deeply moving, Nine
Lives is a passionate account of a life lived to the
full, by a man driven by an intense love of the wild.
JV and Gill
with tiger and lion cubs
I sat on the ground six metres from her and
cried. I had been with her for 14 years of her life and
now it was ending. Then, as I sat there feeling sorry
for myself, it occurred to me that the least I could do
was give her some comfort during the last hours of her
I went back to camp and got some impala meat and
water. I sat down on the ground near her and offered her
the meat and the water. I was shocked as she got her
feet and hobbled towards me - her wounds were truly
terrible. Then, with dignity and grace, she sat two metre from me and ate the meat and drank the water.
The tears rolled down my cheeks as the emotion
Time stood still at Londolozi.
John Varty killed his first lion at the age of
twelve as a rite of passage to manhood. When he gave up
hunting, he turned his attention to conservation at the
family game farm Londolozi, which is renowned globally
for its work with leopards. He has made several
documentaries and feature films, and today is best
known - even notorious in some circles - for Tiger
Canyons, a reserve in the Free State, where he
is conserving tigers in the wild
Only 15 sponsors editions are being printed. This is
a leather-bound collectors item with gold foiling and
gilt edged pages in a leather slip case.
Five Sponsors Editions have already been given
to Rodney & Lorna Drew, Jos & Yvette van Bommel, Ellen &
Yossi Joseph, Daryl & Sharna Balfour and GP & Linda van
den Heever for their outstanding contributions to Tiger
Thirty five of the Collectors Editions are being
printed in linen and leather in a case. These will cost
R5 000 each and all funds will go towards Tiger
Please send me:
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Please send me:
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