What was your best holiday?
I love expeditions and recently visited a great friend who has devoted the past 27 years of his life to a tiny corner of north-eastern Guatemala called the Petén. In this luscious, highly inaccessible rainforest is the excavation of the Mayan cluster of cities known as El Mirador.
The work to uncover the ruins of this World Heritage Site is painstakingly slow and the jungle is unforgivable in its determination to take back every inch of progress, but the rewards are great. Camp life is demanding, and even the simplest daily routine becomes a chore in a climate with 90 percent humidity, not to mention the bugs. But still, it is my ideal holiday – challenging my body and mind.
And what was the best hotel you've ever stayed in?
In 1972, Bill [the late actor, William Holden] and I stayed at the Mandarin Hotel in Hong Kong. It was very early in our relationship and Bill had very sweetly reserved two rooms side by side, as he never wanted to make me feel pressurised. Needless to say, it was a week of high romance, interrupted only by the awkwardness of dodging the eagle-eyed bell boys when either of us attempted to return discreetly to our room.
What do you need for your perfect holiday?
I want to feel that every trip I make has enhanced me as a person.
What do you always take with you?
I highly recommend a brand of clothing called Bug Off. It really works. The cloth is soaked in Deet to repel unwanted flying or crawling passersby. But do be careful of the uncovered parts: clothes protect only what they cover.
What is your best piece of travel advice?
If you are going to a destination where the food might be more exotic than usual, always err on the side of caution. I am largely vegetarian and it is usually possible to find an Indian or Chinese restaurant where the cooked vegetables are tasty, and moderation is not a bad idea anyway.
Where do you want to go next?
I always look forward to going back home to Kenya, where every day I see the legacy Bill left me [at the William Holden Wildlife Foundation, a charity she founded after Holden's death]. It is my greatest treasure, and I see his legacy in the animals he helped to preserve and the people whose lives he bettered.
Which was your worst holiday?
If it is necessary to travel in a group, I hope that it will be a group of like-minded people who are curious and knowledgeable about where they are going and what they are interested in seeing. On one unfortunate occasion, I overheard a man visiting a historical ruin in Egypt say, "Ah, you seen one rock, you seen 'em all."
And your worst travel experience?
In 1988 my mother, my cousin Geri and I visited India. On the return journey, our flight was delayed for three hours in New Delhi.
On arrival in Frankfurt, we were greeted by special-services reps who ushered us to a private VIP lounge. When the doors to the lounge closed, they practically broke down in tears.
The flight we were to have connected to in Frankfurt, had we not been delayed in India, was Pan Am 103. Mom and I would have got off at London, but Geri was meant to go on to New York. Flight 103 had crashed [a subsequent investigation would reveal that it had been brought down by a terrorist bomb over Lockerbie, in Scotland] three hours earlier, the same amount of time we were delayed in India.
We were speechless, devastated and in shock. I have always felt a special empathy for those connected to this tragedy.
What is the biggest packing mistake you've made?
Packing is always a nightmare. Fortunately, I have clothes in my home in London and in Kenya, but after a few years, people get tired of seeing me in the same gear, so I have to renew from time to time.
Which is the worst hotel you've stayed in?
In the early Seventies, Bill and I flew into Zanzibar on a twin-engined aircraft without a permit to land. After much discussion and crossing palms with silver, and because it was getting dark and we couldn't take off after dark, we were allowed to stay overnight. Typical of the Soviet packages at the time, there was one road and one hotel whose architecture was reminiscent of a cement bunker. When we reached our room, we discovered it was the sort of place where we would best sleep in our clothes to avoid touching the sheets. Things looked worse in the clear light of dawn, so we moved out and said a fond farewell to Zanzibar.
What do you avoid on holidays?
Travelling during peak season.
What do you hate about holidays?
Saying goodbye to my little family of animals, including Papuga, my yellow-naped Amazon parrot, who has been my feathered companion for 37 years, and my five dogs: Chiquita, Miss Bounce, Alex, Ethel and Skip.