Revving in South Africa: Charley Boorman biking adventure to hit screens
Over the last few years we've gotten used to Charley Boorman's biking adventures. He may only have gotten the gig because he is Ewan McGregor's best friend, but his entertaining journeys around the world have inspired lots of us to dust off our motorcycle leathers and go exploring.
For this we are thankful and his latest adventure will no doubt spur even more bikers to pastures new. This time the series is in South Africa. Ok, you may struggle to take your Ducati Multistrada in the hold, but that's what hire shops are for.
Charley Boorman's African Adventure, which will air on Channel 5, sees our protagonist pair up with seasoned producer and director Russ Malkin as they undertake an epic 6,000-mile motorbike adventure. Malkin was producer/director on previous TV adventures, which include epic bike journeys Long Way Down and Long Way Round.
Starting with a journey around South Africa's southernmost coastline, the duo then traverse the whole country. They explore the frontiers with Mozambique, Botswana and Namibia before ending with a journey down the west coast of the continent thereby completing an entire circuit of the South Africa border
What the series shows is that South Africa is very much a country of extremes. Easy riding it is not and there is plenty of scope for things to go wrong.
In the north, Boorman learns to live off the land of the vast and remote Kalahari desert, staying with the bush tribesmen who survive there every day. He also tackles the majestic and impossibly dangerous Sani Pass, where he has to navigate almost impassable roads to reach the icy peak.
Back in the south, the presenter and his producer take to the spectacular Garden Route along the coast, bash their way through the thick Kruger flora, and come face-to-face with some pretty impressive animals in the heart of the bush, including elephants and rhinoceros.
Highlights of the trip include visiting Nelson Mandela's birthplace, climbing Table Mountain in Cape Town and paragliding from the top, diving with blacktip and tiger sharks, hiking in the Drakensburg Mountains to the second biggest waterfall in the world and paramotoring down the Limpopo river.
Boorman commented: "I fell in love with South Africa the very first time I came here. The country is one of the most beautiful places on earth: rich in gastronomy, adventure opportunities and fantastic people.
"I feel so privileged and excited to have been able to return to really explore it further and to spend time with the fantastic people. There's also no better way to end a trip than with a massive convoy of bikes as we rode into Cape Town."
Watching the programme could certainly give you a taste for biking in South Africa. Unless you own your own airline you won't be able to ride your own machine, but hiring a bike in Cape Town is easy enough.
Lungi Morrison from South Africa Tourism is hopeful that the series will spark a bit more interest in the country. He says: "Those who followed Charley's expeditions before know he loves adventure and that South Africa has plenty to offer. This fun and exciting series provides great first-hand encounters with our country through the eyes of two adventurers, as they become absorbed by its history, culture, phenomenal landscape and people."
The expedition is actually the third time Boorman has visited the country as part of a major expedition. In 2007, Cape Town marked the final destination for Long Way Down, which saw Boorman and pal McGregor travel by motorbike from John O'Groats to South Africa. In 2011 he led a group of 50 bikers from Cape Town to Victoria Falls and beyond.
Posted by Marcus Blackburn