16 June 2011 by Julienne du Toit

Mad Paddling Below

Doesn’t everything at a luxury bush lodge look fabulous? Everything seems so effortless.

Don’t tell anyone, but this tranquil opulence is a bit like a swan on water - all peaceful on the surface and mad paddling underneath.

Take this true story, from a friend of mine. A few years ago, she and her husband took over a small luxury camp in the bush. The new staff hadn’t yet arrived.

Her husband was so sick that he’d broken a clavicle during his convulsions. Helen (not her real name) had to handle everything alone, including the game drive.

In the back of her vehicle were 8 Italian fashion models. Unfortunately it happened that her vehicle got stuck in deep mud - elephants had been digging on the road.

There was no choice of hauling out the radio and calling for help. There was no one who could come. So she climbed out to jack the car up, and then asked the Italians to get down. No way, they said. That was dirty cold mud down there and they weren’t going to touch it.

Eventually Helen, incandescent with rage, managed to persuade one of them to swing into the driver’s seat and pop the clutch as she pushed from the back. She’d also had to go and hunt down deadwood to put under the wheels in the mud. She was filthy, wet and vengeful.

When she pulled into the lodge’s parking bay, she bellowed at her eight guests and told them in no uncertain terms what she thought of their completely ungentlemanly behaviour.

She got back to their dwelling shivering like a wet rat, slid into a mercifully hot bath and contemplated revenge. Now she still had to cook for them.

But when she got to the kitchen, the 8 male models were all busy, cooking her dinner to make up for their cavalier behavior. And her heart started to warm towards them again. However, to this day she has refused to run another game lodge.

Category: Wildlife

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