The dreaded khaki fever. Is it just an exaggerated urban myth or is it a veritable safari ailment for which there is no cure? Ladies and gentlemen, February is the month of love and now is the perfect time to resurrect this heated debate: is khaki fever a real thing?
Our rangers certainly like to think it’s real and many of our female guests will gravely agree. It’s the age-old story: brave, rugged man in (khaki) uniform; protector, educator, lover of nature and gifted charmer and storyteller. Women afflicted by this fervent fever are said to be ridiculously and hopelessly attracted to their safari suitors.
These oh-so charismatic ‘khakis’ provide a sense of safety and security to their guests while they are out in the wilderness. Not only do they protect, educate and entertain, but they also encourage their guests to experience nature through each of the five senses and to truly see the world through their eyes.
Not all guests fall prey to the captivatingly charming khaki brigade. Some claim absolute immunity, while others will confess that they have become helplessly and incurably enamoured with our rangers. Men are not immune either; we’ve had many male guests develop puppy dog eyes for their female (and male) rangers.
Playing devil’s advocate, an ex-ranger explains, “The beauty of the natural environment is so evocative, so naturally intoxicating that it can inspire a kind of romance all by itself. Many guests don’t know to give credit where it is due and end up objectifying the ranger, as though he or she conjured it all up. Mind you, having said that, I did use this tried and tested ‘khaki fever’ phenomenon to full advantage and now have a gorgeous wife to prove it!”
Adding further fuel to the khaki debate, two guests wrote:
“Obvious special mention goes to gorgeous Jarryd du Preez who, apart from being very knowledgeable and an amazing ranger, was also rather nice to look at.”
“You might not have been able to organise dancing boys in tight shorts, but laying eyes on Jarryd du Preez (our ranger) came a pretty close second. I was having such a crush it’s just as well we left when we did, otherwise I would fear for his virtue.”
Some guests even created a hashtag for ex-ranger JP Joubert: #jptherangerishot. Alas, draw your own conclusions. It’s the lure of the khaki. It’s real, it’s unpredictable and it can catch you off guard. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
Banner image © Dave Bateman.