The multiple Emmy Award winning Public Broadcasting Series Equitrekking is about to launch its new season, and it will debut locally at 7 p.m. on SC-ETV on Oct. 5.
This year's series features two special episodes from the African nation of Botswana, which Equitrekking's Award winning host and producer Darley Newman describes as truly an amazing journey.
"Anyone who has ever wanted to take an African Safari can live vicariously through us in these Equitrekking episodes, as we horse ride, fly in small planes, take jeep tours, hike and fish throughout Botswana," said Newman.
The Equitrekking crew's sojourn takes them to Botswana's Okavango Delta, one of the largest inland deltas in the world, said Newman.
"I take a horse safari deep in the delta riding to see the giraffes and wildebeests, and that's where I get charged by an elephant when I'm on horseback," said Newman. "You never know what's around the bend while island hopping and horse riding through the waterlogged highways of the Okavango, making horses one of the best ways to explore this natural area."
The intrepid horse Newman rode during the elephant charge was a chestnut Arab named Moko.
"We were both shaking when the bull elephant charged us, but we stood our ground--necessary since elephants are faster than riders on horseback, said Newman.
The crew's adventurous spirit is embodied by their willingness to go fishing in a Hippopotamus pool, said Newman.
"We actually catch a few fish and take a boat to a private island to cook them right there," said Newman. "The freshest fish I've ever tasted."
Small planes were the transportation of choice to access certain areas, said Newman. The Equitrekking crew's travels took them to the Makgadikgadi Pans, one of the world's largest salt flats.
"On these salt pans, I take a once in a lifetime trek with our distant ancestors, the San, an ancient tribe from which some scientists believe all people are descended. I also visit a meerkat colony and get to horse ride on the Pans and camp out under the stars--the best star gazing I've ever seen. Riding on the Pans feels like riding on the surface of the moon. Talk about open space!"
The Pans were an ideal place for Newman to canter and ride fast. Zebra and Wildebeest were still in the process of migrating, providing the crew with an opportunity to gallop with the herds of indigenous fauna.
"It was a little scary for me as it was something I've never done before, and we rode really fast." said Newman. "I'm glad we were able to capture it on film, so viewers can come along for the ride."
The new season also includes episodes from Costa Rica, Kentucky, Arizona, Texas, Belize, Southern Quebec and Utah.
Aiken was selected as one of five great equestrian communities in a series of articles written by Claire Caldwell on Equitrekking.com. A number of criteria were used in the selection process including good weather, equine inventory, horse events, training facilities, trail systems, good horsemen and professional trainers, said Newman.
Equitrekking launched a brand new website this past weekend featuring their 20 favorite North American dude ranches. You can access the site at top20ranches.com.