The Grey Areas of Slum Tourism: Part 1

This entry is part 1 of 1 in the series The Grey Areas of Slum Tourism

A shack near Bloemfontein, South Africa, has walls made of corrugated metal and plywood. Inside, rusty kitchenware hangs from the walls alongside a mirror with a chipped, white frame. There is a traditional “donkey” (a wood-burning water heater) and a long-drop toilet outside, but these are probably not used.

The donkey and long-drop toilet are only for show as it turns out that the residents of this “slum” have an electric geyser and a shower with running hot water inside the shack. That’s not all. This special shanty town comes complete with air conditioning, a TV, a fridge, Wi-Fi and even, wait for it…a spa.

The Emoya Hotel boasts a spa and tours of the game reserve © South African Tourism

The Emoya Hotel boasts a spa and tours of the game reserve © South African Tourism

The Emoya Hotel’s slum experience has taken the abasement of the poor to a whole new level. For just under £50 — almost double the average monthly wage of a slum citizen — you can stay in one of Emoya’s shacks. According to the website, this “experience of a lifetime” is ideal for “team building, braais (South African barbeques), bachelors and themed parties.”

It is sickening enough that the owners of this hotel are exploiting some of the world’s poorest people for their own profit, but what is more disturbing to see are the high ratings given by its visitors on TripAdvisor. One review reads: “set menu for the dinner with ample food,” another: “Breakfast was adequate.” Just like the real thing then…!

Continue reading

Share