South Africa to Zanzibar

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Duration: 59 minutes

In this six-part series, Simon Reeve travels around the edge of the Indian Ocean in an epic and exotic journey that takes him from the paradise islands of the Maldives to the front line of the war against piracy and terror on the streets of Mogadishu.

This first leg takes him from the rugged coast of South Africa, where he joins the fight against wildlife poachers, through Mozambique, and on to the tropical island of Zanzibar. On the way, he swims with sharks, meets the refugees who have found shelter in a luxury beachfront hotel, and travels on a huge container ship fortified against the constant threat of pirates.

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  • South Africa to Zanzibar

    Simon Reeve starts his Indian Ocean journey on the rugged tip of South Africa, where the huge seas teem with life - including the little-known and highly endangered African Penguin. The birds are struggling from a lack of fish, and Simon joins a group of conservationists feeding up hungry chicks and training them up for a return to the ocean.

    Further up the coast, the South African authorities use high speed boats to hunt down poachers targeting a very different sea creature called abalone, a delicacy for which Chinese gourmets will pay big money. So lucrative is this illegal trade that drug-dealing gangsters dominate the business, as Simon discovers as he enters a poverty stricken township in nearby Cape Town and has a close encounter with an armed drug dealer in a seedy drug den. But it is the Indian Ocean’s greatest predator that dominates this leg of the journey: in his very first ocean dive, Simon gets up close to ragged toothed sharks, huge and fearsome looking fish, whose complete indifference to his presence in their world contrasts with the terrifying image we all have of sharks.

    Hitching a lift on an Italian container ship from Durban to Maputo, the capital of Mozambique, Simon gets his first insight into how crucial the Indian Ocean has become to world trade – as well as discussing with a nervous captain the threat from Somali pirates.

    The glorious coast of Mozambique is the first glimpse of Indian Ocean paradise – endless stretches of pristine white sand beaches. In an extraordinary encounter Simon accompanies local fishermen as they land a huge bull shark in their tiny boat. It is part of a global tragedy that is seeing millions of sharks killed each year. The magnificent creature is butchered on the beach for its fins, which will be sold to China for sharks’ fin soup. The implications for the Indian Ocean – all the world’s oceans – could be catastrophic because as ‘apex predators’ sharks are the most important fish in the sea, controlling the whole marine environment. The final stop on this leg of the journey is the tropical Island of Zanzibar, steeped in the long history of Indian Ocean trade.

  • Find Out More

    Find Out More

    Simon Reeve witnessed the work of a large number of organisations on his travels around the edge of the Indian Ocean.

    Here are details of some of them
  • From curried fruit bat to armoured underwear

    From curried fruit bat to armoured underwear

    ‘We had to pick the best spots for filming based on the likelihood of us actually being able to tell a story, show an issue or see a stunning sight’

    Read Simon Reeve’s post on the BBC TV blog

Credits

Writer
Simon Reeve
Writer
Simon Reeve
Presenter
Simon Reeve
Presenter
Simon Reeve
Executive Producer
Sam Bagnall
Executive Producer
Sam Bagnall
Producer
Andrew Carter
Producer
Andrew Carter
Director
Andrew Carter
Director
Andrew Carter

Broadcasts

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