Around the world in 80 ways

Lockdown has us crawling up the walls, but travel shows like Voetspore are bringing the world to our living rooms

We’re about four months into lockdown, and by now most of us are feeling the effects of cabin fever. With travelling still confined to the seemingly suffocating provincial lines, we don’t blame you if you’re desperately yearning to hit the road (or the air) to explore new and faraway places. But with lockdown set to stay in place for a while longer, we’ll have to remedy our wanderlust by travelling vicariously through a few free-spirited TV explorers.

Arguably the most well-known local explorers of our time, the Voetspore team allow us to do exactly that by taking viewers along on a wild and rugged trip to India. Led by 4x4 adventuring legend Johan Badenhorst, the Voetspore team crosses international waters to take in the richness of Indian culture.

Johan, who’s currently filming Voetspore’s 11th season under lockdown, spoke to us from the quaint town of Beaufort West in the Western Cape about their 2017 three-month trip to India, the challenges and surprises encountered along the way, and the future of traveling post-lockdown.

An Indian adventure

Why did you choose India as your first non-African expedition? 

After extensive travels in Africa, we decided to do the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) countries – countries that we know too little about. So, we started with India. Next was South Africa, and now we plan to do Russia, Brazil and China. Unfortunately, COVID-19 delayed these plans. We were supposed to go to Russia next. We hope we can do it next year.

What did you do to prepare for your trip to India? 

We read a lot and spoke to people who have been there. And then I also did a quick exploratory visit a few months before the expedition.

What were the challenges in shipping the trusty Land Cruisers to India and were there any hiccups in this regard? 

Fortunately, no hiccups apart from the fact that we had a sticker of the map of India that excluded Kashmir on the bonnet. When the Cruisers arrived in India, customs refused entry until we removed the stickers. Kashmir is a very sensitive issue.

What was it like using the Enfield motorcycles throughout the trip? They’re known for breaking down! 

They do break down, but every kilometre along the way there is an Enfield mechanic. The new Royal Enfields are also much more reliable.

Aside from the logistical challenges, what else did you find challenging while in India? 

The biggest challenge was the information overload. What an exceptional country with massive diversity.

Was India everything you expected, or were there a few surprises? 

We were surprised that there were so many open spaces. We camped much more than anticipated. And we never got the dreaded Deli Belly, even though we often ate street food.

Did you find the sensory overload that is synonymous with India overwhelming? 

Absolutely. Places like Darjeeling, Varanasi, Bodhgaya, Khajuraho, Agra, the Leh Ladakh region, and Jodhpur. It is an exceptional country blessed with variety.

Some kykNET viewers will be watching this expedition for the first time. What can they expect? 

They can expect a country that is much more than just cricket, Gandhi and curry.

What advice do you have for anyone looking to visit India in the near future? 

Don’t be scared. And don’t go with an organised group. The country is safe, and you will always find food and a place to stay.

What was the highlight for you during the India trip? 

There were so many, at least one a week! Most surprising was the visit to the northern Himalayas. It is breathtakingly beautiful.

And onto South Africa…

You’re currently travelling across South Africa under lockdown. What’s that been like? 

It is strange. It is as if it is Sunday every day.

Why did you decide “heck, now is the best time to explore SA”? 

We thought we would have most places for ourselves, and this is indeed the case. Sometimes, facilities are still closed. Often, we convince them to open for us. We are very, very privileged.

Will we get to see some of this lockdown traveling in an upcoming Voetspore series? 

We hope to see the series on SABC2 as from January 2021.

You’re currently in Beaufort West. Where to next? 

From here we travel though the Great Karoo, the Cederberg, the West Coast, Matroosberg and then down to Agulhas.

Do you think the travel landscape has changed forever due to COVID-19?

For the foreseeable future it has changed. Some for the worse, some for the better. It is unique for us to travel now, but in the next few years social distancing will probably be the way things are done.

Watch Voetspore: Indië S10 on Sundays on kykNET (DStv 144) at 20:00 

Watch this!

If wanderlust is still clawing at your insides, there are a few more travel shows you simply cannot miss. From travelling by train, to travelling for food – DStv has you and your inner pilgrim covered this August – all the way into spring.


The Persians: A History of Iran

Persia (now Iran) is considered by historians as one of the world’s first true super-powers, as the Persian Empire ruled over vast stretches of land for just over 2,000 years. The series not only takes us inside the ancient Zoroastrian fire temple – where a fire is believed to have burned non-stop for over 1500 years – but also finds hidden works of art and literature along the way.

Watch The Persians: A History of Iran S1 from Friday, 7 August on BBC Earth (DStv 184) at 19:00


Sacred Rivers with Simon Reeve

Throughout history, abundant water sources have served as a cornerstone for all civilisations. Adventurer Simon Reeve takes us down three life-sustaining rivers – the Nile, Yangtze and Ganges – while delving into the rich historical significance of these rivers in each region.

Watch Sacred Rivers with Simon Reeve S1 from Monday, 10 August on BBC Earth (DStv 184) at 20:00


Abandoned Engineering S4

The series takes us on a different type of tour around the world as journalist Andrew Gough explores eerie abandoned manmade structures and ghost towns. Covered in overgrowth, steel beams overtaken by rust, this show’s abandoned structures are a treat for any urban explorer.

Watch Abandoned Engineering S4 from Monday, 10 August on Discovery Family (DStv 136) at 18:30


Around The World by Train with Tony Robinson

Travelling by train has always had a certain sense of magic to it, and host Tony Robinson lets us share in that magic from the comfort of our couch. Jump aboard and join Tony as he hops on and off trains while uncovering the historical beauty of every place he visits, from Europe and South America, all the way to Russia and the Arctic Circle.

Watch Around The World by Train with Tony Robinson S2 from Thursday, 13 August on BBC Earth (DStv 184) at 19:00


Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted

It’s the chef we all love to hate, but this time Gordon is taking us out of the kitchen and into the wilderness as he seeks to learn more about traditional cooking methods and ingredients from across the globe. He even pays South Africa a visit, during which he learns how to have a proper braai and tries his hand at making a fiery chakalaka.

Watch Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted S2 from Wednesday, 26 August on National Geographic (DStv 181) at 21:00

Download and watch later

Get the DStv Now app (Apple or Android) and download episodes to watch on your phone or tablet – just remember to connect to the Wi-Fi first so there are no surprise data costs.

Get it on Google Play

Feel every moment with DStv