DStv is your passport to the world this winter

There’s a tour guide and a show to suit your wanderlust on DStv, and they’re going to open some crazy doors for you

Airlines are grounded, hotels and restaurants are closed, monuments and ruins are standing quietly, and nobody is pretending to push over the leaning tower of Pisa. The pandemic lockdown has us all grounded like a teen movie mom. And while it is completely necessary, the wanderlust and cabin fever have us longing for a little escape.

Thank goodness for TV!

Some of the most insightful guides to fascinating locations around the world are already at our fingertips. Think of TV as your environmentally conscious, low-carbon, low-cost passport to travel throughout 2020. Just stick your thumb out, flip the channel and hitchhike your way into a new reality with these great shows on DStv in June.

Whatever you’re looking for, there’s a guide to suit you...

Joanna Lumley's Hidden Caribbean: Havana to Haiti

Charming Joanna Lumley is opening doors for us right now in her new travel adventure series, Joanna Lumley's Hidden Caribbean: Havana to Haiti. As the ‘hidden’ in the title suggests, she is going off the beaten tourist path to introduce us to a version of Cuba and Haiti that we might never have experienced on our own. Of Cuba, Joanna says, “It’s all terribly beautiful. Because most of Cuba was settled by the Spanish, it was built in a Spanish way around squares. Every square had a cathedral, a grand hotel, maybe something like a huge library, possibly a university. It’s also very hilly which makes for a beautiful city, so you’re always looking over to something. It’s got a very lovely, buzzy feeling.”

In Cuba, Joanna gets to meet the owner of one of the grand old villas and look around inside. It’s a rare invitation – the house’s late owner used to play chess with revolutionary Che Guevara. “The woman who owned it had been left it by her husband, a man from a grand Cuban family. She was absolute heaven. The house is fabulously wrecked. But now this charming widow’s house is gloriously shabby-chic, and the plaster is coming off. We’ve come to see this as a rather great stylish statement and the interior has been in magazines, and fashion pictures are taken in front of such places, but honestly, it’s falling down,” Joanna admits.

While Cuba was peaceful and hospitable, Haiti was another kettle of fish. Joanna and her crew were ambushed by bandits at a roadblock in the mountains. “Suddenly there was a blockage across the road: they’d put branches down. Luckily we had two big bodyguards who got out and said ‘Come on guys, clear this away’.” she says. “And they went, ‘No, we want your money or your life’,” she reveals. But her crew was able to talk their way out of it (and the incident didn’t make it into the series as a travel highlight). Joanna calls Haiti’s capital Port au Prince “one of the grimmest cities I’ve ever been in… so challenging, so lawless, so unpredictable,” but she was thrilled to be allowed to watch a Voodoo ceremony on the Iles a Vaches. And she visits the studio of an artist who paints on human skulls, some of them belonging to victims of the 2010 earthquake. “My heart was racing when I was in his studio. It was as if all the creations around me were alive,” she says. 

Watch S1 on Wednesdays on BBC Earth (DStv 184) at 19:00 and on Catch Up

Also watch


Anomaly: The Bermuda Triangle In Space

The advantage of TV is that it takes you on journeys that only billionaires can afford, or where only a handful of people have ever been. One of those places is the International Space Station (ISS), where up in the sky scientists like ex-NASA astronaut Terry Virts have encountered strange, blinding flashes of light and satellites behaving strangely. Find out more about this zone, officially called the South Atlantic Anomaly, where the Van Allen radiation belts reach their lowest altitude. And while that’s intriguing, we’re actually really punching our ticket to see one of the most beautiful phenomena observed from aboard the ISS: the Northern and Southern lights, as seen from space.

Watch now on Catch Up


The Alaska Triangle

If you thrill at the idea of joining a ghost tour and visiting haunted places with some special guides who know just how to spin a tale so that it raises the hair on your neck, this is your show. Andrew Gough, Drew Patterson, Jeremy Ray and Mike Ricksecker have some tales to tell of strange disappearances and bizarre sightings, underwater UFOs and ghost ships. And they’ll be taking you into the frigid and beautiful areas of Alaska to show you where it all happened. Andrew, in particular, has a wealth of knowledge about local legends, “alternative histories” and creature stories.

Watch S1 on Tuesdays from 26 May on Travel Channel (DStv 179) at 20:15 or on Catch Up


The Last Igloo

Imagine being able to join a real Innuit hunter on a trip into the wilderness, to watch first-hand as he tracks animals and builds a traditional igloo to shelter in and explains to you how and why he’s doing it, along with explaining the nature of the snow he must use. It’s the stuff of childhood fantasy and it comes true in this documentary about life on the edge of climate change. It’s a fascinating and breathtakingly beautiful show with moments of magic, like when the aurora dances through the night sky. This is everything you ever dreamt the land of ice and snow could be.

Mondayon BBC Earth (DStv 184) at 20:00


Gordon, Gino and Fred’s Road Trip

Shouty chef Gordon Ramsay, Italian actor and chef Gino D'Acampo, and First Dates host with the most Fred Sirieix are back on the road. They’ll be taking in the food and the sights in Morocco’s spice markets, Mexico’s wrestling rings, Gordon’s home in Las Vegas, San Francisco and the California winelands, and Texas for the full yee-haw experience of lumberjacking, fishing, bingo, rodeo, barbeque and a slow dance at a country bar. We’d be happy just loafing around over a drink with these three – there’s no replacement for fun, witty company while you’re travelling – so palling around taking in the sights is a real treat.

Watch S2 from Tuesdays on BBC Lifestyle (DStv 174) at 20:00 or on Catch Up


Lost In The Wild

Looking for more travel with an eerie twist and a hint of crime? Explorers JJ Kelley and Kinga Philipps are headed into wilderness areas around the world to look deeper into missing persons cases. They’ll retrace the victims’ steps and nose around the areas where they vanished into thin air. From speaking to locals about two Dutch tourists who disappeared in Panama, to meeting a guide who may have been the last person to see three adventurers who went missing while searching for the city of Akakor in the Amazon, to searching for the porter who worked for social media star Justin Alexander before he walked into India's fabled Valley of Death. The hosting pair travel round the world to exotic and fascinating destinations chasing that one creepy story you’d hear at a bar or backpackers that would make you question your choice being there.

Watch S1 Wednesdays on Travel Channel (DStv 179) at 20:15


Jersey Shore Family Vacation

This one’s a little silly but it really gives that feeling of taking a series of family holidays with the familiar faces, clashing personalities and warmth and affection. Plus, everyone has a story to tell and a party to throw. Only instead of cousin David’s story about that person who coughed near him at the supermarket, we find out that Vinny is trying to be a Chippendales stripper in Vegas, we visit Mike in jail and later celebrate his release, meet JWoww’s new boyfriend and join her for her divorce party, attend Deena’s son’s baptism, and tag along at the bachelor and bachelorette parties as we prepare for a jaw-dropping family fiasco at Angelina’s wedding.

Watch S3 Thursdays on MTV (DStv 130) at 15:00


Uncharted Mysteries

South African-born action man Cliff Simon is visiting some of the most beautiful, inhospitable and extreme places on earth on the trail of spooky stories. Consider him your knowledgeable and daring guide, taking you through jungles and wilderness, interpreting what local guides say and questioning scientists, shamans, historians, and witnesses to lead you into the hearts of local mysteries. But once you have all the information in hand, it’ll be just you and Cliff venturing into the unknown. Hawaii to the New Jersey wilderness, to the Mojave desert, the Louisiana swaps in pursuit of werewolves and California’s Mount Shasta, there’s nowhere Cliff won’t dare to take you.

Watch S1 Thursdays on History (DStv 186) at 20:15


Lost Cities With Albert Lin

Official National Geographic explorer Albert Lin combines science and adventure in a way that Indiana Jones could only dream of (and he’s considerably less destructive to artefacts and sacred sites). Albert will take you along as he gets to speak one-on-one to the most clued up authorities on ancient archaeological sites, and his camera and cutting-edge technology will show you all those fascinating tiny details that turn out to unlock stories of how buildings were constructed and why, and how civilisations thrived and then vanished. And he’ll also get to the bottom of the wild stories that have tangled themselves around ruins, to sift out those grains of truth in the tales they grew from. He’s the travel guide of your academic fantasies.

Compilation of seasons and episodes from Friday, 5 June on National Geographic (DStv 181) at 19:00


Africa’s Hidden Wonders

Prepare for a safari with more beauty and wonder than you’d ever come close to seeing during an hour-long nature drive. This series will take you everywhere from the heart of a volcano, to plunging into lakes and rivers for a glimpse of underwater life. Along the way you’ll meet creatures great and small and even microscopic, and you'll see them in thrilling detail. The series takes you through Rwanda’s forests to meet its great apes, exploding lakes and live volcanos, into Ethiopia’s deserts and mountains, and into the hidden beauty and bustling life in the Sahara.

Watch S1 Sundays on National Geographic Wild (DStv 182) at 18:00


Great Escapes With Colin and Justin

Those of us who travel to take in architecture are in good hands with designers Colin McAllister and Justin Ryan. They’re venturing into the North American wilderness with a particular goal in mind: They want to meet people who’ve built fascinating homes in the wild to ask them how they went about building and the challenges they faced during construction in remote areas. Their design expertise combined with a specific focus on architecture make for a fascinating way to see the sights.

S1 starts Monday, 22 June on The Home Channel (DStv 176) at 19:30