There are few things more pleasurable than an outdoor bath under open African skies. Doing this at Kosi Forest Lodge in one of the widest bath tubs I have ever encountered, set in a sand forest next to an ancient tree which perfectly catches the seeing sun, is pure heaven. Well almost.
You see I am a bit of a prude – alright then – a great big one. This affliction is so severe I have well developed compensatory strategies. My sophisticated plan is three-fold. First, I check from inside the bathroom (at all heights) what can and cannot be seen. Second, I check from outside the bathroom, under all light conditions, if one can see inside. Many a glowing behind has been seen of those mistakenly thinking when it’s dark outside, you cannot see inside… Step 3 involves surreptitiously glancing at other people’s bathrooms from the main walking paths, to check for any final loopholes. This step necessarily involves some guilt and self-recrimination, but is key to the triangulation of the comprehensive strategy. Finally I am satisfied and sink gratefully into my beautiful bath at Kosi Forest Lodge. It is as private as private can be, perfectly screened by a reed wall which completely surrounds the bathroom. The soft, flickering lighting from the paraffin lamps creates the perfect relaxing atmosphere and I breathe deeply to appreciate the fragrance of the forest and bubble bath.
Still I struggle to relax. I cannot shake the feeling that I am being watched. I do another scan and mental checklist of my earlier reconnaissance and gently chide myself for being so skittish. But the feeling only intensifies. I simply Know that I am being watched. I draw the bubbles closer around me.
Finally I see them – not one but two peeping toms! They watch me as nakedly curious as a tourist in a game reserve. The one, a large scaly lizard in the tree next to me stares unashamedly, even coming closer for a better look! The other is a Woodland Kingfisher, turning its head from side to side as if I may reveal its supper in my watery pool. At least he has the decency to fly off in shame when he realizes he’s been spotted. With an up-down, up-down turquoise flash he is gone, leaving me to sink gratefully back under the warm water in delight.