IDC Africa CIO Summit, Sun City – Most foreign visitors to these shores relish the chance to get close to South Africa's myriad wildlife, but Fiona Moon, marketing director, EMEA & ANZ/SEA at Commvault, got more than she bargained for in her room at The Palace hotel.
Opening her balcony doors for some fresh air, Moon was sedately going about the mundane task of unpacking when one of the local baboons – notorious around Sun City – decided it was time for a mid-afternoon snack. With lightning speed, the man-size primate made a beeline for the room's mini-bar and, despite a Yale lock, in a flash of talon-like claws, had it opened.
With beady eyes firmly fixed on an astonished Moon, the baboon then groped around the contents of the fridge for its favoured delights. Sweeping glasses and bottles of water to the floor, the beast momentarily settled for a bar of Toblerone as it continued its foray among the (expensive) bar snacks.
Showing remarkable composure for an English country lady, Moon slowly gathered some of her possessions – cellphone, Blackberry, jewellery – and backed into the bathroom, closing the door and then trying to contact the hotel's reception. Unfortunately, the telephones in the loos are mainly for unexpected calls and there are no numbers or buttons for hotel services.
She surreptitiously slid back into the room to use the main telephone, at all times under the watchful gaze of her uninvited guest who was now enjoying a box of Pringles crisps on the room floor while he tried to open a packet of M&Ms.
Moon finally got hold of reception who dispatched a security guard to her room, but by the time he got there, the intrepid primate had relocated to his favourite spot in the tree outside the room, still contentedly munching on his Pringles.
Even after the adrenaline rush from the experience had abated – and despite locals regaling her with stories of the dangers of baboons – Moon remained distinctly composed about her experience.
"What can I say?" she said. "He just wasn't my type. Far too hairy."