Tom and Judy Hide
Marin County - CA - USA
8 August 2004
The Hides were a wonderful couple to take around the the Cape Winelands and Cape Town. They felt that they did not want me to place pictures of their tour on this website as they were very private in their way of doing things. I fully respect their wishes and understand exactly how they felt hence I have not photo documented their tour. I can however summarize their tour by saying that they made for wonderful company while we traveled and I think that they thoroughly enjoyed our tour as much as I did through the Winelands and Cape Peninsula.
Judy also gave me the right to publish the following email that she sent me on returning home to Marin County.
Received 29 August 2004
Tom and I returned home two days ago, and of course, I am just now getting around to checking my email. Thank you so much for your kind email; we feel exactly the same way about our time spent with you. I think our friends, the S-----l's, were a little overwhelmed by all of our stories and insights that we gained from our week in Cape Town with the Best Guide Ever On The Planet! At one point, Judy S-----l commented that she was worried that our safari time would never begin to live up to what we had experienced on our tour with you. Tom had sent some detailed emails home to the family, and when we got back, we had as many questions about you and your personal history as we did about the safari and the animals (Katie had even gone out and bought Bringing Down the House which she and her boyfriend read ). Truly, it was an experience we will never forget and we will cherish our memories of such a special time spent in South Africa.
Selwyn, I can't begin to tell you how much the visit affected me personally. I had formed so many preconceptions about South Africa based on media content that were completely erroneous. The reading material that you suggested was the beginning of a new understanding and appreciation for not only South Africa, but all of Africa. My appetite for your beautiful land has been whetted, and I know that I will return someday (for sure for the "Corkers" reunion!). I also believe that what South Africa is facing is what the rest of the "civilized" world will one day face: white minority rule and economic advantage will be challenged as education and democracy find their way into other countries. The world's eyes are on South Africa, and I believe that the country is navigating this potentially perilous course with success. Of course, this is just the beginning of a sensitive transition time in the history of South Africa and there will be lots of bumps and detours along the way, but as an American tourist, I am very impressed (I have now reread Country of My Skill and next on my list to reread is My Traitor's Heart). This is of course what travel does at its best, and I thank you for your guidance and insight.
Our safari time was fabulous. We saw and learned so much - I felt like we were in the Ultimate Museum of Natural History in the World! And again, lots of issues to ponder from this experience: the role of the white affluent tourist indulged to a degree that is quite unimaginable here in the States; the impact on the villages of tourism and the issue of jobs; the future of wildlife in areas bordering human settlements; the habituation of wild animals to Land Rovers and people; the list goes on. However, all that being said, we enjoyed every minute of our safari time and hope we can repeat this experience someday in the future. Just for your information, we loved Little Mombo camp in Botswana (this is just a small private addition to Mombo Camp that has only 3 tent suites so it is a bit more private and personal for a small group), and we loved Boulders at Singhita. The Royal Malawane had outstanding service and rooms, but the game viewing was not as good. And our final days were spent at Singhita LeBombo where, by the way, we exchanged greetings with President Mbeke and his wife from our jeeps while game viewing. The ultra modern decor was not impressive nor useful, but the countryside scenery was spectacular.
We are now readjusting to life here at home, and as what usually happens when we return from a long trip, we are a little depressed and disoriented. Our photos have been viewed over and over again and we were very happy with our camera that we bought for the trip. You mentioned some photos of us in your email, and of course we would love to see them. I have some for you too, but it will probably be a little while untiI am able to organize and figure out how to get them to you. As for us, I guess you could attach them to your next email, or put them on your web site if you would like - whatever is the easiest for you.
Thank you so much Selwyn, for being such a terrific guide, but most of all, for being a fabulous human being. We wish you and Betty the best.
Judy and Tom