Slum-Like African Resort Gives Rich Tourists a Taste of Hard Life

A Shanty is a small hut made out of old corrugated iron sheets or other waterproof material. It is a place of dwelling for the poor, often lacking in basic amenities like electricity or running water. To be living in one, you’d have to be going through an extremely rough patch in life.

Except of course, when your shanty is located in Shanty Town, and you’re just playing ‘poor’. Yes, as bizarre as it sounds, there are people in this world who think playing poor is a fun sport. And resorts like Shanty Town exist to help them achieve the experience.

Shanty Town is a part of Emoya Estate, a South African five-star luxury game reserve and spa. It comes equipped with corrugated metal huts that can accommodate up to 52 guests. Over here, the rich get to live like the poor. But no, not entirely like the poor. The environment is safe and the shanties are equipped with conveniences like running water, electricity and Wi-Fi. The interiors aren’t too bad either – the beds look clean and comfortable, there are refrigerators, televisions, tables, chairs and cabinets. Oh, and did I mention under-floor heating? Yes, they have that too.


Photo: Emoya Estate

With all these facilities, I do wonder which part of Shanty Town mimics the lives of the impoverished Africans. To spend one night in this place, you’d have to cough up $80, which is only slightly lower than the average monthly wage of a South African domestic worker. Understandably, the resort has received a lot of flak. Many media outlets have labeled it tasteless, insensitive and offensive to people who have no choice but to live in bad conditions. American political satirist Stephen Colbert pretty much nailed it when he said, “At best, insensitive; and at worst, poverty porn.”


Photo: Emoya Estate

The owners of Emoya Estate, however, seem to have no qualms about running such a place. They’ve provided outdoor ‘recreational areas’ like a communal fire pit with chairs made from rubber tyres placed all around it. Guests also have the option of using an outdoor toilet or ‘long-drop’. The resort’s website promotes Shanty Town as the “full African experience” that is great for “team building, braais (barbeque) or fancy theme parties.”


Photo: Emoya Estate

This isn’t the first time we’ve heard of hotels that provide alternate experiences. Not too long ago, we covered this cruise on dry land. And then there was Latvia’s Prison Hotel, where you can experience the convict life. But Shanty Town seems to have taken it a bit too far, I think. There’s something so vulgar about the rich paying money to imitate the poor (but with all conveniences). Just looking at the pictures is a surreal experience. Do you think resorts like these should be allowed?


Photo: Emoya Estate

Source: Daily Mail

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