A South African resort company is pushing the bounds of adventure accommodations -- and good taste -- by offering luxury travelers the chance to experience what it is like to live in a slum.
The Emoya Luxury Hotel & Spa is promoting the opportunity to spend the night in a replica shanty town, an "informal settlement" of shacks made of corrugated iron sheets or waterproof materials." In real shanty towns, the materials are used by the inhabitants to "form a small 'house' or shelter where they make a normal living," Emoya's Web site explains.
"Now you can experience staying in a Shanty within the safe environment of a private game reserve," Emoya advertises.
To help make the experience authentic, guests are supplied with "a paraffin lamp, candles, a battery operated radio, an outside toilet (also referred to as a long drop) and a drum where they make fire for cooking." But travelers won't be asked to completely immerse themselves in the shanty town experience - the shacks include under-floor heating, wi-fi and something called "donkey geysers."
The shacks can accommodate up to 52 guests. Prices for a shack that sleeps four start at R850 a night ($84). An optional breakfast - which also might not fit into the authentic shanty town experience -- is R110.
"The Shanty Town is ideal for team building, braais, fancy theme parties and an experience of a lifetime," Emoya assures. "Our shantys are completely safe and child friendly."
This week Emoya caught the attention U.S. satirist Stephen Colbert, who waded in on the "Colbert Report" with his perspective on the Shanty Town and its "destitution inspired amenities."
He dubbed the concept of glamorous slumming, "glumming."
Emoya's shanty town is "like a Sandals resort, if the sandals were made from an old tire," Mr. Colbert said. "Now you can experience what it is like to be trapped in a shanty town resenting rich people who do things like stay in pretend shanty town."
As a U.S. alternative to the shanty town, Mr. Colbert offered his own glumming experience - "the Frigidaire Lodge at Overpass Meadows," a chance to live in a cardboard box underneath a freeway overpass in Detroit.