26 August 2007

Soft (-headed) adventures: "Nature on a silver platter"

This is a nice little insanity which I've come across in my work with Adam on elitism and luxury travel. One of the favourite modes of neocolonial "Out of Africa" tourism at the moment is CC Africa's Tanzania Under Canvas (picture), described here in the most purple prose imaginable:

Sense heightened romance and sheer luxury in our tented wilderness camps, proudly featuring Tanzania’s largest and most spacious mobile ensuite tents. With a hint of Bedouin character, these tents boast romantic sweeps of canvas, in a rich palette of warm savannah colours: chocolate, suede and espresso. Finely crafted finishes complete the ambience, with custom made Indian rugs, crisp percale linens, sparkling crystal, shiny silver. Each tent comes with chic ensuite facilities, separate w.c.’s and romantic alfresco bucket showers.
  • Mobile ensuite tents with romantic sweeps of canvas
  • Al fresco hot bucket showers
  • Custom made Indian rugs, crisp percale linens
  • Ensuite flush w.c.’s
  • Gracious dining/sitting room tent
Complete with personalised private butler service, enjoy delicious Pan-African and traditional bush cuisine. This is the soul of Africa – no electricity and no running water – lose yourself in the relaxing solitude of the mighty Serengeti, far from civilisation. A life changing, intimate experience that will leave you with memories to last a lifetime.
This is what some tag "glamping" - glamorous camping - which entails the absolutely affluent (and their aspirational disciples) roughing it in decadence. Thanks to Mimi, I now learn from a Seattle Times article that glamping's really made its way out of Africa. For $700 a night - a real snip compared with the $1000-plus elsewhere (see below) - USAmerican high-end tourists can connect with nature by means of heated tents, pillow-top mattresses and artwork on the walls. It's what industry workers call "soft adventures". Oh, and if this is all too basic for you, apparently unhappy glampers can always opt out with an "upgrade to luxury mountain homes with hot tubs for up to $3,460 a night". Now that's more like it. As Gigi Bondick (is that her real name?) is quoted as saying in the Seattle Times article:

"It's OK to be spoiled, it really is. It's nature on a silver platter."

Go Gigi!

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