‘The great thing about the Kalahari is that it hates you … It wants you dead … Apart from all the usual Attenborough things that are waiting to mug you, there are hordes of ingenious little fellows eager to turn you into a resource. Ticks that can lay dormant for a decade underground and, catching a whiff of your carbon dioxide, emerge to suck you dry … a beetle that has a binary arsenal in its bottom and can deliver a payload of boiling acid.
'Forget all that slow-motion-sunset in-touch-with-your-spirit Van der Post nonsense, there is no romance here. The Kalahari is an amoral, unregulated market force, a pure vicious capitalism practised by professionals. I love it here. I love it as the last truly honest place on earth.’
Oh yes, the urbane Mr Gill recognises how elemental this wilderness is, how its harshness gets under your skin, redefines your place in the world, resets your spiritual clock and ‘rearranges the cerebral furniture’ so that you come away with a revised set of priorities. He gets it. He feels it. He knows.
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