I have never been to Africa, but I have been fascinated by it for several years now. While doing some searching on the web I happened to come across a History Channel TV show produced by Mark Burnett (the guy who does Survivor, which is another show I also can’t help but love) called Expedition Africa which follows 4 explorers as they make a 970 mile (1561 KM) trek through the wilds of Africa in 8 episodes. As if this wasn’t cool enough, one of the 4 main people in the expedition was Kevin Sites (you can read some more about Kevin in my review of his book here) who I really admire, so having a chance to see him in a reality show about Africa was one of those sweet opportunities that I had to take. Fortunately for me, my local public library had it in their collection (library’s rule!) so I managed to get it home and watched post-haste.
Along with Kevin on the expedition was Pasquale Scaturro, an adventurer, explorer and geophysicist who was a veteran at leading expeditions, Mireya Mayor an National geographic correspondent and anthropologist and Benedict Allen, a British Survivalist who also has made several TV appearances. Their journey was to mimic that of reporter H.M. Stanley (of the “Dr. Livingstone I presume” quote fame) who was searching for Dr. Livingstone in a similar trek in 1871. They set upon their journey trying to do things the old-fashioned way, without GPS and relying on maps and compasses, but also by purposely choosing some of the harder terrain that Stanley avoided, to see if modern explorers have what it takes to compete with those made famous for it.
Putting the group together was very interesting, since all four of them are used to taking charge and doing their own thing, so amongst the beautiful scenery much head butting did occur. It was an interesting journey, complete with dangerous animals, people being brought down by sickness, ridiculously difficult looking treks and incessant bickering and mishaps. They were a little heavy on the “this is sooo dangerous” theme, which one wonders about if there is a full film crew present and if it’s not just to try and build the excitement, but the landscape shots and the first person views of the different terrain made up for it. The worst part for me was actually in the special features, where they talk about the botfly and then showed too many images…which may have scarred me for life. If you must know click on the link, or get the DVD… *Shudder* because that’s about as much as I want to say about it. However the show itself, all in all, made for good TV. If you are interested in travel, Africa or exploring this was an interesting escape that may be worth your time.
Take a peek at the trailer below: