My Life In Travel: Wilbur Smith

'I go on hunting safaris. We have a huge area of wilderness to ourselves'


First holiday memory?

First holiday memory?

Going on safari with my parents in the Luangwa valley in what was then northern Rhodesia and is now Zambia. I grew up in Rhodesia on my father's ranch and every year he used to take us on safari in some remote area of the wilderness.

Best holiday?

Holidays in the African bush and on my island in the Seychelles. I go on a hunting safari at least once a year to Botswana, which is fantastic because we have a huge area of wilderness entirely to ourselves. My island covers roughly 55 acres, which again I have to myself, with nearly half a kilometre of private beach with my own jetties and boats.

Favourite place in the British Isles?

I like Devon and Somerset, where I go shooting with friends for a week or two each year.

Ideal travelling companion?

My wife. We travel hand in hand the whole time. We have an apartment in Switzerland so we ski together there, as well as going on safaris, diving and yachting.

Beach bum, culture vulture or adrenalin junkie?

A mixture of all three. I tend to avoid other holidaymakers if possible.

Greatest travel luxury?

A big fat wad of travellers cheques.

Holiday reading?

I always take a couple of my favourite books and a few of the latest bestsellers. I read a lot of biographies and books with an African background.

Where has seduced you?

Bangkok. The Oriental Hotel there has a literary theme and I'm fortunate enough to have a suite named after me overlooking the Chao Phraya river. I know it's politically incorrect but I enjoy things like the kick boxing and cock fighting.

Better to travel or arrive?

To arrive, especially if it's a suite at The Oriental or a camp on the Okavango Delta.

Worst travel experience?

I was in Buenos Aires promoting a new book when the revolution broke out. We spent most of our time there hiding under the bed as machine guns blazed in the streets and the Argentine air force bombed the city.

Worst holiday?

A trip through East Africa. As we reached the Zambezi river a huge cyclone hit the coast. Around 26 inches of rain fell in as many hours. We tried to get our truck with all my equipment across the river by making a platform out of dug-out canoes, which collapsed as it was halfway across. I never saw the truck or the equipment again.

Worst hotel?

The Belle Epoque in Bern, Switzerland. I looked it up and booked it online. It turned out it should have been called "The Rabbit Hutch Hotel" - the rooms were the size of shoeboxes. We complained and were immediately evicted!

Best hotel?

The Oriental in Bangkok. It's splendid sitting on the terrace above the river drinking a sundowner.

Favourite walk / swim / ride / drive?

The best ski run is the Parsenn Standard in Davos.

Best meal abroad?

There's a restaurant in Paris called La Lorraine, just off the Champs-Elysées. It's not haute cuisine, but the food is deliciously fresh and well prepared.

Favourite city?

Cape Town, where I am based. It's a wonderful place with fantastic weather, scenery, mountains and beaches. It's my spiritual home.

Where next?

Back to Cape Town and then to Australia on a promotional tour.

Wilbur Smith's latest book 'The Triumph of the Sun' (Macmillan, £18.99), published in hardback, is out now

News
people
News
A survey carried out by Sainsbury's Finance found 20% of new university students have never washed their own clothes, while 14% cannot even boil an egg
science...and the results are not as pointless as that sounds
Sport
Sean Abbott
cricketSean Abbott is named Australia's young cricketer of the year
News
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Group Sales Manager - Field Based

    £21000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Located on the stunning Sandban...

    Guru Careers: Email Marketing Specialist

    £26 - 35k (DOE): Guru Careers: An Email Marketing Specialist is needed to join...

    Recruitment Genius: Tour Drivers - UK & European

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity to join a is a...

    Old Royal Naval College: ORNC Visitor Experience Volunteer

    Unpaid voluntary work: Old Royal Naval College: Join our team of friendly volu...

    Day In a Page

    Woman who was sent to three Nazi death camps describes how she escaped the gas chamber

    Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary

    Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
    DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

    The inside track on France's trial of the year

    Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
    As provocative now as they ever were

    Sarah Kane season

    Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
    Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

    Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

    Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
    Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

    Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

    One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
    The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

    The enemy within

    People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
    'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

    'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

    Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
    Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

    Autumn/winter menswear 2015

    The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
    'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

    'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

    Army general planning to come out
    Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

    What the six wise men told Tony Blair

    Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
    25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

    25 years of The Independent on Sunday

    The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
    Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

    Smash hit go under the hammer

    It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
    Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

    The geeks who rocked the world

    A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
    Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

    Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

    Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea