Stanley Tollman’s instructions were clear. Build a safari lodge in Botswana’s Okavango Delta and make it the finest of its kind in the world.

Tollman, an SA hospitality magnate whose Travel Corporation employs 10,000 people in 70 countries, mused a little more. Each of the 12 suites must have air-conditioning and constant hot water. The lodge must not be decorated in the drab khaki and beige typical of African safari camps. It should be colourful and titillate the eye, with at least a splash of red in every room. There must be a fountain. There should be no black. It should look like a safari lodge, but not too much. There should be an air-conditioned library. And a fabulous bar. And an orientation map of the camp. And, oh yes, some sort of nod to Africa’s “big five” animals. Apart from that, he hardly said a word...

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