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Issue 68 - African adventures

Whisky Magazine Issue 68
December 2007


This article is 10 years old and some information provided may be time sensitive. Please check all details of events, tours, opening times and other information before travelling or making arrangements.

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African adventures

Dave has an epiphany while lion watching in the bush.

The audience said “Awwwwww”. It was a first, I'll give you that. In this game you learn to cope with most eventualities.

Hecklers, fire alarms, technical breakdowns, singing (thanks Glasgow), snoring (thanks Tokyo), snogging (hello Moscow) even having your whisky being hijacked (thanks Joburg), but no-one can hold a crowd when there's a bush baby dangling from a branch above your head.

It's certainly not a topic which I recall reading up in whisky class manual. Come to think of it, there wasn't a chapter on ‘how to conduct a tasting in the African bush at night.' Nothing for it but to press on. The bush baby's eyes grew larger as I started the camp impala impersonation.

It had started like this. One moment I was singing ‘Flower of Scotland' in Joburg's Sandton Square as the dawn came up, the next I was in the bush looking at a lion gnawing on a newborn giraffe. Quite how I got there remains a blur. I seem to recall giant chickens, bags of biltong, ravines, a soundtrack which switched between Paul Simon and Samuel L. Jackson, the slow encroachment of the thorned, many-eyed bush.

Somewhere along the line I had changed my name. “What's Shangaan for broom?” Fasie asked our receptionist. “Nkukulu” came the reply. “Then meet Nkukulu,” he said. “He's a Shangaan from Scotland.” As the amused and bemused staff tried to work this out, I was trying to make sense of the sky. If the constellations are upside down, then how can I teach the Shangaan about whisky?...

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