Make it nat­u­ral

The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - Escape - - CELEBRITY ESCAPE -

The wild parts of the world, par­tic­u­larly Botswana in south­ern Africa, still call strongly for this Aus­tralian TV pre­sen­ter, writes Chanel Par­ratt

IN 2011 Si­mon Reeve, host of Chan­nel 7’s Mil­lion Dol­lar Minute, traded the Oka­vango Delta in Botswana to re­turn home to Aus­tralia.

Liv­ing in Syd­ney Reeve says that it wasn’t too long be­fore the big smoke “started to squeeze the life out of me” and a tree change was in or­der.

A move to Queens­land’s Gold Coast hin­ter­land has Reeve, part­ner Linda and their chil­dren Stella and Sam back to na­ture but it’s Africa that has cap­tured the in­trepid pre­sen­ter’s heart.

Favourite place in Aus­tralia?

SR: The North West and the Top End. This is Aus­tralia raw and mag­nif­i­cent. The colours, Big Sky coun­try, wet sea­son storms, space and an edge.

Tell me about the two years you spent in Africa.

SR: My part­ner Linda, daugh­ter Stella (then 18 months) and I lived in Maun, Botswana, at the bot­tom of the Oka­vango Delta. It was my dream to live there and Linda was brave enough to make it hap­pen. I worked with Kwando Sa­faris, pro­duc­ing con­tent for An­i­mal Planet in the US. Africa is my great pas­sion.

I heard a hippo pierced your fa­ther-in-law’s ca­noe in Africa?

SR: Yeah, in Mana Pools Na­tional Park, Zim­babwe, while we were on sa­fari. My fa­ther-in-law, Gil, and his guide, Andy, were cat­a­pulted from their ca­noe by a hippo they ac­ci­den­tally pad­dled over – thank­fully they sur­vived. I was in a sep­a­rate ca­noe and watched it un­fold be­fore my eyes – scary stuff.

Have you made any rookie er­rors trav­el­ling?

SR: As an 18-year-old I gave a lovely bloke £6 when he asked if I wanted my photo taken with his cam­era in front of Trafal­gar Square in Lon­don. Re­mem­ber this was be­fore dig­i­tal cam­eras. He said he’d get the prints de­vel­oped, took my de­tails and promised to send it to my folks back home. I walked over to get into po­si­tion to be pho­tographed, turned around and, fun­nily enough, he wasn’t there any­more. He had dis­ap­peared, along with my £6. He’s prob­a­bly told the story to his kids about the time he fleeced this dumb Aussie (laughs).

Best place you’ve ever stayed?

SR: We fell in love pro­vide love, food, shel­ter and se­cu­rity for their fam­i­lies. Travel is the great­est ed­u­ca­tion for kids.

TREE CHANGER: Si­mon Reeve (left) still loves the time he spent in the Oka­vango Delta, Botswana – where egrets perch on a buf­falo (above).

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