abroad Sat, 17 Sep 2005
Fancy a trip down to Africa for a quick nose job, then catching
the last of the African sunset while sipping cocktails and
watching the elephants drink at a watering hole at the Kruger
I laughed the first time someone mentioned nip/tuck safaris or
'scalpel safaris' to me — I mean who would want to fly halfway
across the globe for a cosmetic procedure and then go on a
week-long safari to recover?
It’s the perfect excuse though: "Myself and Charles have decided
to go on a little vacation in Africa — I heard the sun does
wonders for your skin, darling" (nudge nudge, wink wink).
And you'd be surprised at how scalpel safaris are taking off in
South Africa, with a steady stream of mostly British tourists
snapping up the opportunity to find the fountain of youth in our
very own backyard.
Botox for a bargain
Consider this: would you spend up to £4500 (about R50 000)
on a simple procedure like breast enlargements or liposuction,
or just R30 000 for going under the knife in SA with a safari or
hotel accommodation thrown in? Not a difficult choice to make,
especially when you consider that surgical standards here are
said to be some of the best in the world.
Desperate housewives aside, plastic surgery is no longer
reserved for the rich and bored — an increasing number of
younger people are opting for this route, and with the huge
demand, you don’t have to break the bank either to achieve
almost movie star looks. Even young men are taking up the call
to look their best with a little help from a friend called
SS, based on Johannesburg, is one of the companies that have
pioneered this concept of tourism and cosmetic surgery. The
group has consultants in South Africa, the UK and the USA. Not
only do they make all your surgery arrangements, they'll also
plan your trip, provide aftercare facilities and provide
transport from the moment you step off the plane to when you
Lorraine Melvill, who heads the company says that if their
clients are based in the UK, they will usually fly over
experienced and highly-recommended local surgeons for
consultations with them. But it's not only foreign clients who
have fallen for the charms of the African sun, SS also has quite
a few SA clients who are willing to spend a few rands on
'updating' their looks.
Taking away or adding more?
Depending on their age, according to Melvill, most women from
the age of 45 and up tend to opt for tummy tucks, breast lifts
and facelifts, while her younger clients generally opt for
breast augmentations and liposuction.
A simple breast enlargement or nose reconstructive surgery, with
a seven-day vacation thrown in of course, would set you back
around R32 000. If you're willing to splash out on yourself for
a facelift, including eyes, and a 12-day accommodation package,
you're looking at a cool R57 000.
Another SA company offering cosmetic holidays is Evolution
Cosmetic, also based in Joburg, which offers much the same
services as SS. Also targeting the UK market, Evolution sets up
consultations every eight weeks with their clients in London
until they are completely happy with which procedures they want
Victoria Wagner from Evolution says that the majority of their
clients are from the UK, with over 90 percent being women
between the ages of 25 and 55. Their most popular procedures are
breast augmentation (about R40 000), facelifts (about R55 000)
and tummy tucks (about R42 000), all-inclusive package.
Like SS, Wagner says that a lot of her client referrals are from
SA as well. Procedures range from brow lifts to denture
implants, and even botox injections, all which are done in
private hospitals in the big city centers.
Afterwards patients have the option of either staying at a hotel
or private game reserve to recuperate and make a holiday out of
it — no use flying half way across the world or not seeing the
So when you return home, your friends will marvel at your new
complexion and say: "You look fab, is that a new hairstyle?" and
you’ll sit back and bat your eyelids while replying: "Yes, this
spa I went to just did wonders for me — I feel like a completely