WARNING: This post contains mild profanity, because everything should contain mild profanity.
“Oh to be wealthy! What luscious splendour I would enjoy! All the wines I would drink and the foods I would smash into my face!“ – Marcel Taljaard, 2014, having spent a holiday in Zimbali.
Zimbali is, in a word, exceptional. It truly is. It offers its residents and guests a kind of quiet resplendence, serving up just the right amount of luxury, scenery and WOW to suite anybody’s tastes. My experience lead me to the conclusion that, luxury aside (though one must never put luxury too far aside…), it is the setting that gives Zimbali its gorgeous air of opulence. The ocean is nothing short of inspiring, especially for a Jo’burger such as myself. Zimbali sucks you in from the moment you enter the gates.
For the longest time, I believed Zimbali was some exotic locale up along the east coast of Africa. I pictured desert landscapes meeting icy blue oceans, dotted with the grey skeletons of what were once trees. The name conjured up vivid images of some foreign destination miles and miles from my quaint little suburban life in Sunninghill. I had heard the name mentioned at times throughout my later years and remember it always been mentioned in that pompous sort of manner, the kind where married men nudge and wink at each other with a gloating face, discussing the blonde secretary they shagged (“That’s her, Dave…tits for days.”). It was something of a secret held from and silent to all but the richest of the rich. And I would think “wow, if only I could go there!”
And then one day I did. I went to Zimbali and it was every bit as audacious, splendid, beautiful and exciting as I had imagined. But I wasn’t keen to go, not at first.
You see, something happens when you are 26 and working a full-time job with limited pay, juggling debt and paying rent – you suddenly become very aware of just how expensive everything is. Food, petrol, rent, toiletries, doctor’s bills, pharmacy bills, food again, wine (oh, the sweet, sweet wine…) - EVERYTHING is incredibly pricey when you start breaking it down. This is why I have never had a proper budget; it’s just far too stressful and will just result in more purchasing of wine which results in even less money. So, when I was asked if I would like to join a group of friends for a trip to Zimbali, my initial reaction was to decline. The dream of this mythical destination was not quite as vivid and lustrous any longer – reality had tarnished it significantly and in my head I simply couldn’t afford it. But, then, upon further reflection (and many more coercing invitations) I realised that whilst the pay is limited, and the rent is due, and the food is expensive, and my car needs petrol and not the tears of crying children to run, despite all that I just really wanted to go. And so we went – my boyfriend, my roommate and three friends – we went to ZIMBALI.
There’s another thing that happens when you are 26. You realise you are still 18 at heart and drinking yourself shitless and driving around in a golf cart at midnight can still be the best fun you can have. And boy, did we have fun. It doesn’t really take much to entertain a group like us – we are all very easy going around each other, perfectly happy to drink and chat as much as we are keen to go out and dance until 3am. The aforementioned golf carts offered endless opportunity for exploration and shenanigans and we made good use of them.
The thing that dawns on you quite early on whilst holidaying in Zimbali is just how much money there is running around the estate. Our house alone had five bedrooms, all en suite. Five. It was one of the smaller houses. Some of the larger plots will go for R8 000 000 at least. I did the calculations: It would take me over 33 years to earn that kind of money. Oh to be wealthy! What luscious splendour I would enjoy! All the wines I would drink and the foods I would smash into my face!
But then, there is something quiet special about not living in Zimbali. There is something precious about not having five bedrooms, all en suite. There is something exciting about not having a golf cart and a golf course to use as your own personal track. There is something insanely gleeful about not living in a house by the beach. It’s quite simple: It is special, precious, exciting and insanely gleeful to realise that you are, in fact, only 26 and that the moments you get to brush alongside the intoxicating pleasures like Zimbali are infinite and never mundane.
My time in Zimbali was wonderful. It was a special escape to a fantasy place where memories were made with the best people I know. And no amount of money, or lack thereof could have changed that. Perhaps, one day, I will live in Zimbali, but not now. No. Now I am just glad to have spent a few days basking in its splendour.