Life on the wild side

2008-09-11 00:00

With the holiday season but a bikini wax away, many people are looking forward to a much deserved summer break.

For some, this simply implies long, lazy days spent lounging on the patio in a deck chair, interspersed with occasional trips to the fridge. But for others the annual summer holiday is a major undertaking, requiring weeks of planning and preparation.

While one man’s medicine is another man’s poison, the same can be said of holidays — what’s deemed as paradise for some can be utter purgatory for others.

Take one of my best friends for instance. No lolling about in lawn chairs for her.

She spent two weeks of her holiday trudging up the slopes of Kilimanjaro, where she had to carry her lodgings on her back, forgo a hot bath and a warm bed and hang her butt over the side of the mountain when nature called.

Now for me, no aspect of a trip like that is remotely pleasant. Not even the spectacular view, if and when you finally reach the summit, could compensate for such uncivilised conditions, to say nothing of the exertion. And frankly, the enormity of the feat being captured in a photo is scant consolation. Who wants a picture of themselves on top of the world looking like a Yeti because they’ve not washed their hair in a fortnight?

For me, a holiday cannot be considered as such without those dinky bottles of complimentary shampoo and body wash, a bath in which to enjoy them and a flushing toilet. Surely that’s not too much to ask?

Apparently though, if one is planning an expedition into the bush, none of the above features high on the priority list.

For years dear friends of ours have done their utmost to persuade us to join them on their annual safari into Botswana. But, despite their punting the experience as though it was an exotic African getaway, I am not fooled.

Admittedly, the wildlife aspect of the trip is very appealing, but actually living the wild life is another matter entirely.

Having been a Girl Guide (albeit in my distant youth), heating baked beans over an open fire and sleeping in a tent is not the problem. However, there are other activities involved with being in the great outdoors that will remain a sticking point for me as long as zebras have stripes.

Aside from advertising your intentions to all and sundry, wandering into the wilderness with a spade, a bog roll and a box of matches does not qualify as an exotic holiday in my book — especially when the matches are not for lighting a scented candle.

My idea of being at one with nature is walking barefoot across the lawn in my nightdress to fill up the bird feeder, not squatting over a hole in the ground in the bush and conducting business while a herd of elephant lumber past.

This is not to say I’m averse to a little adventure — in fact I’m about to embark on one —and an African bushveld one to boot.

Being a keen photographer, my husband has decided that in order for him to “shoot” some wild life, a trip into a game reserve is called for this year.

Fortunately for us, the game park has a smart resort close by where I can partake of the little bottles of complimentary offerings while he peers through his lens at a warthog’s whiskers.

But before you think I’m a whimpish city slicker, we’ve booked a game drive and an elephant-back ride — which, although cannot be compared to scaling a mountain, is sure to afford me a good view with a lot less effort.


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