It’s 8am on Day 3 of the COSMO SUMMER Swimwear adventure, and we’re on our way to the Pilanesberg Game Reserve for a mini safari – a little break from the daily routine of hair, makeup and tiny bikinis. It’s just as well that nobody has to strip down to their unmentionables today – the temperature overnight peaked at a lofty 6°C and my chin is going numb from the cold. Wrapped in blankets we try to ignore the fresh breeze rushing through the game-viewing truck (which is moving at the breakneck speed of 15km/h on the reserve’s dirt roads). Then the engine cuts out and in the comparative silence we hear our guide, Solomon (‘Like the king’, he says), utter one word:
There’s a flurry of activity and camera clicks, and the three male white rhino are immortalised in 25 different ways from 25 different angles. Even I’m snapping away madly and I hardly ever get excited about animals. Unless I’m acting like one, that is.
As game drives go, this one is a roaring success: in addition to the rhino, we see herds of impala, kudu and springbok; a couple of hippos languishing in the dam; a lonely buzzard that looks as though it’s had a bit of a rough night; and some mildly ridiculous warthogs strutting around with their tails high up in the air. There’s also a rare sighting of a pride of lions up on a hillside and giraffes and zebras off in the distance, as well as a rather close encounter with a heard of wild elephants. The dominant male is nothing like the sweet, gentle creatures whose tongues I tickled only yesterday. He looks at us with suspicion and takes a couple of menacing steps forward; this makes Solomon fire up the truck and move on rather swiftly.
It’s rare for the crew to have a morning off, so we make the most of it by stopping at the local supermarket and stocking up on all the junk food we’ve been craving over the past few days. I walk away with bags of popcorn and biltong, and head straight back to the Sun City Hotel for lunch.
Clearly I’m not over my food obsession.
With lunch out of the way, the team jumps right back into the SUMMER schedule. The afternoon’s Edgars shoot is soft and gentle, and quite beautiful; six shots are captured without a hitch before we catch Avril demolishing a bag of crisps. Yes, I know – I was also surprised to see that models eat junk food, like the rest of us mortals. But looking at Avril’s petite frame and hearing how she exercises for a whopping 25 minutes each day. I vow to myself that I will never again let anything other than celery, spinach and broccoli pass my lips…
… And then I find myself sitting at the dinner table at Santorini restaurant in the Cascades, stuffing my face with haloumi, calamari and spanakopita.
Some people, I find, just cannot be helped. But at least I got to have the spinach.