I forget the exact time, but it was maybe 15 years ago that a travel show aired on Indian satellite TV that made a big impact on me. The show – ‘Globe Trekker‘.
If you have not watched it, each roughly 50 minute episode of the show has travel hosts taking the viewer along with them on journeys to different parts of the world. The style was casual, with a view to immersing the viewers into the heart of the action. It was meant for budget oriented independent travelers and shot in a corresponding style.
I loved watching this show and seeing different places on TV. I have always loved traveling, but I do believe this show played no small role in developing my passion further.
And so, it came as a pleasant surprise for me to discover, the other day, that Lonely Planet is now providing free access to all the Globe Trekker episodes, along with other travel related shows. It gave me an opportunity to revisit this show. While I enjoyed watching some of them, I am not sure that the show has aged particularly well. Travel shows have evolved from ‘showing’ us new places to deeply ‘immersing’ us in the culture of the place. A prime example of this would be some of Anthony Bourdain’s shows. Or taking us on an education journey, like many of BBC’s travel documentaries.
Having said that, the show has a certain charm, and for me, a certain nostalgia associated with it. Which is why I would strongly recommend that you try and watch a few episodes. And please let me know your comments!
It’s been a fascinating exercise jotting down my Travel Bucket List for Africa. I have discovered so many fascinating places and learnt so much more about this vast continent. This is the last article in the Africa series.
Ethiopia – I did not know until now that Ethiopia, with a population of over a 100 million people, is the most populous landlocked country in the World and the second most populous country in Africa. I would start my visit at the ‘political capital of Africa’, Addis Ababa. It is so called because the African Union is headquartered here. The country also has the most number of UNESCO World Heritage sites in Africa. These include the historic towns of Harar, Gondar and Aksum, Tiyaand probably the most famous of them all, Lalibela. For natural beauty, there is the Simien National Parkand the Danakil Depression, one of the lowest (and hottest) places on Earth.
Djibouti – This small country at the confluence of the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden seems like an interesting place to visit. In addition to the capital Djibouti City, I would visit Lake Assal, the second lowest place on Earth and the Goba’adand Hanle Plainsfor bird-watching.
Eritrea – The UNESCO World Heritage listed city of Asmara, the capital of Eritrea, and the city of Keren are the places I might visit in this country.
Sudan – The country where I conclude my (virtual) travel around the continent. The capital city of Khartoumseems like an interesting city to visit, straddling as it does, the confluence of the Blue and White Nile rivers. I would then visit the UNESCO World Heritage listed region of Meroe. Other places to explore include Kerma and Naqa. I would wrap up my journey at the northern town of Wadi Halfa, close to the border with Egypt.
The region of East Africa contains all the sights that one usually thinks of when one thinks of Africa. This is what my bucket list for the region looks like.
Tanzania – Another country that can justifiably claim to be a microcosm of the continent, from beaches to history to wildlife, this country has it all. I would probably start with the wildlife. Ngorongoro Craterand Serengeti National Parksare undoubted bucket-list places when it comes to wild-life watching. But there are other interesting areas of natural beauty that I would like to explore, such as Gombe National Park, made famous by Jane Goodall’s work with Chimpanzees, Mount Kilimanjaro– the highest mountain in Africa and Selous Game Reserve, one of the largest protected areas on the continent. I would then make my way to Zanzibar, and explore Stone Town. Finally, I would end my journey on the Indian Ocean beaches of Pemba Islandand Mafia Island.
Rwanda – A country that’s unfortunately been in the news for the wrong reasons; I would probably start in the capital city of Kigalibefore making my way westwards to Volcanoesand Nyungwe National Parksbefore finishing my journey at Gisenyion Lake Kivu.
Uganda – It came as a surprise to me that this relatively small country (82nd largest in the world) is the 31st most populous country in the world with a population of over 45 million. Kampala, the capital city, would be where I start my visit to this country. I would then make my way westwards to areas of natural beauty such as Murchison Fallsand the wonderfully named Bwindi Impenetrable National Park! I would finish my journey with some rest on the Ssese Islandson Lake Victoria.
Kenya – I would start my exploration of Kenya country at its capital – Nairobi. Next up would be wild-life spotting at some of the most famous National Parksin the world – Masai Maraand Amboseli. I would probably also visit Tsavo East National Parkand Lake Naivasha. I would then head off to the Indian Ocean coast, to visit places such as the UNESCO World Heritage Listed Lamu Old Townand Mombasa.
My virtual journey across Africa now brings me to the South East part of the continent. India shares a common ocean with the countries on this part of Africa – the Indian Ocean – and this has led to centuries of trade between India and this part of the world.
Mozambique – This country of close to 30 million people has some interesting sights that I was, frankly, unaware of before I began to research them. I would begin at the extreme south of the long country with the capital city of Maputowith its colonial era architecture. Moving northwards, I would halt at Bazaruta Archipelago. The next halt would be at the UNESCO World Heritage listed Island of Mozambique. I would end my journey through this country at the city of Pembaand Quirimbas National Park.
Malawi – The city of Blantyrewould be where I would start my exploration of this country. From Blantyre, I would head to Mulanje Mountain. I would then make my way north to Lake Malawi National Parkand conclude my visit at the island of Likoma.
Madagascar – The name itself evokes images of the truly exotic. The fourth largest island in the world would rank very high in my list of places to visit for nature and wildlife (alongside Papua New Guinea and the Amazon). The capital city of Antananarivowith its French colonial heritage is most probably where I would start my visit. I would visit Ifatyand Nosy Beto get my beach fix. Among the numerous places to spot wildlife, I might pick Ranomafanaand Isalo National Parks. Finally, I would try and visit the Avenue of the Baobabs.
I recently wrote about my bucket list destinations in Southern Africa. I now turn my attention to the three land-locked countries to the north of South Africa.
Botswana – One of the most sparsely populated countries in the world, this nation – roughly the size of France – has a population of about 2.3 million only. It has one of the highest GDP in PPP terms in the whole of Africa, largely due to gemstone mining and tourism. Speaking of tourism, one of the top highlights of the country is Okavango Delta – one of the world’s great wilderness destinations. Chobe National Parkin the far north of the country is another wildlife destination that might be worth visiting.
Zimbabwe – This country of 14 million people is well known to Indians due to the fact that it’s one of the few test match playing cricketing nations in the world. There are some interesting sights to see in this southern African country, including the capital city of Harare, the second largest city of Bulawayo and the town of Mutare in the South East. The Great Zimbabwe National Monumentis a UNESCO World Heritage monument and one of the most important stone ruins on the continent. Wildlife lovers can visit the National Parks of Hwange in the West and Mana Pools in the North.
Zambia – Another great destination for nature and wildlife lovers. Top of the list would be a visit to Victoria Falls. Kafue National Parkis the oldest National Park in the country and one of the largest on the continent. Other interesting National Parks include Lower Zambezi National Parkand South Luangwa National Park. I would also like to go bird-watching at the Blue Lagoon National Park.
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