Make it natural
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).