Grannies on Safari is an American television travel series produced by The Art Explorers, Inc. in association with Brave New Pictures in which 60-something best friends Pat Johnson and Regina Fraser embark on expeditions around the world in search of bizarre and exotic attractions.
The series premiered in the USA on public television stations nationwide on Saturday 7 October, 2006. The second season premiered in the USA on Saturday 3 May, 2008. There are four seasons planned, containing 26 half-hour episodes.
Grannies on Safari premiered in South Africa on DStv's Travel Channel on Wednesday 1 October 2008, at 20h00. There are six episodes in the first season.
Season 1 Synopsis
Imagine two middle-aged African American women who are best friends, traveling worldwide to destinations that dazzle the eye and intrigue the mind.
They are Pat Johnson and Regina Fraser – the Grannies on Safari.
Pat Johnson is a widely-respected arts administrator who has worked with many internationally recognized cultural institutions and has owned an art gallery. Regina Fraser is an energetic traveler with a natural curiosity about the world and its most creative citizens.
Between them, they have traveled to more than 80 countries over the last three decades.
In this series they offer audiences surprises at every turn in their determination to track down cultural treasures.
Each 30-minute episode takes viewers along on an expedition seeking the interesting, the bizarre, the exotic and the sublime. The Grannies follow winding roads; ride canoes, camels and donkeys; look behind mysterious doors; and visit urban city centres and rural hamlets.
Pat and Regina's interaction with each other and the situations in which they find themselves make every episode an engaging journey.
South Africa, where in a two-part episode the Grannies visit Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg and meet artists, designers, musicians and everyday people in their homes.
They also go on safari and explore exceptional wild life at Kapama Private Game Preserve, check out the Lesedi Cultural Centre, view ancient cave drawings at Kagga Kamma and ride an elephant at Camp Jabulani.
Morocco, where Pat and Regina experience the magic of the blue city (Fes), the white city (Casablanca), and the pink city (Marrakech); enjoy the beautiful fishing village of Essaouria; and ride camels in the Sahara.
Istanbul, where they view ancient Roman underground cistern ruins; travel back in time to the treasures of Topkapi Palace; and meet with three famous Turkish artists and Bedri Baykam, internationally known visual artist, filmmaker and writer.
Japan, where they spend two colourful nights in Tokyo and Kyoto, visit the mountain village of Kusatsu, at the base of a volcano; and have the ultimate spa experience at the five-star elegant Royokan.
They also tour one of the leading Anime studios and view previews of upcoming video programs. And of course, they make time for a little karaoke in Tokyo.
Korea, where Pat and Regina explore Seoul’s world-class museums and galleries, the internationally renowned World Ceramics Centre, and have an overnight stay at a Buddhist Temple.
They enjoy a traditional Korean feast and dance performance at Korea House, and even dress up as Korean empresses for a stroll in the park. In Busan, they visit the Jagalchi Fish Market to look at fish never seen in North America.
Grannies on Safari is produced by The Art Explorers, Inc. in association with Brave New Pictures, Inc., comprised of director, DP, and videographer Dave Monk and producer, writer and editor Kathy Monk.
Original incidental music for the series is by Allen Phillips, with the theme song composed by trumpeter Orbert Davis.
Season 2 Synopsis
Best friends and co-hosts Pat Johnson and Regina Fraser return for a second season of the award-winning Grannies on Safari to recount their continued exploration to diverse locales that dazzle the senses and intrigue the mind.
Having scoured the world to explore fascinating destinations, Pat and Regina share their experience of making new cultural connections and visiting notable, historical sites.
In the premiere episode of Grannies on Safari, Pat and Regina motor from Chicago to Ottawa, Canada where they visit Parliament Hill to witness the changing of the guards, experience the Cordon Bleu Cooking School and perform a ceremonial dance with some original Aboriginal (Native) Americans.
Produced in high definition, the second season of Grannies on Safari features seven new, 30-minute episodes that highlight the dynamic duo's love for travel as they visit a 19th century pioneer community in Canada; wander through palaces in Poland; cruise the Caribbean; admire new architectural landscapes in Buenos Aires; visit Montevideo in Uruguay, the City of the Drums; venture through colourful ethnic neighbourhoods in Toronto and explore San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Each episode features Pat and Regina in lively conversations with locals as they visit unique sites and unveil cultural treasures.
Ottawa - Canada's Best Kept Secret
In the season premiere, the Grannies visit historic Parliament Hill and marvel at the splendour of the changing of the guard, taste prize-winning barbeque, visit a one-of-its-kind Aboriginal display, tour the sprawling grounds of Rideau Hall, home of the Governor General, and take an evening boat ride along the pristine Ottawa River.
Poland - Warsaw and Krakow: Sophisticated Sister Cities
Join the Grannies as they travel to Poland and seek hidden treasures and historical markers in the heart of Warsaw and Krakow. Significant and beautiful churches, old castles, interesting shops, and, of course, good food are all there.
They also include a darker part of Poland's history as they pay a special visit to two concentration camps: Auschwitz and Birkenau.
Cruising the Caribbean
In this episode, the Grannies decide to so something different - take a cruise - and cruise in a big way, on a "really" big ship to the Caribbean.
With stops at glamorous islands including Barbados, Antigua, St Lucia, and Antigua, they visit local artists and craftsmen, visit a sugar plantation, see the monkeys on Barbados, and walk the same paths as pirates.
Buenos Aires: European Charm with a Latin Beat
On this trip to Buenos Aires, the Grannies visit with a noted silversmith who makes authentic Gaucho artifacts, take a stroll in the famous rose gardens in one of the most beautiful parks in the city, and foray into local markets.
Journey with the Grannies on a Busquebus (a fast boat/ferry) to Colonia, Uruguay and walk along the "Street of Sighs" where former African slaves were quarantined before being sent to Brazil and other parts of South America.
Montevideo - Uruguay's City of the Drums
Traveling to Montevideo, Uruguay's capital city, the Grannies visit one of the oldest opera houses in Latin America, enjoy the lively and pulsating rhythms of drums and meet with the active Afro-Uruguayan community to learn about the art of drum making.
The Grannies also meet with an art curator and writer, visit the Carnival Museum, and a premier winery.
Toronto - A Cultural and Ethnic Mix
In Toronto the Grannies visit Chinatown, Cabbage Town and Caribbean Town - to name just a few. At the Gardiner Museum they try their hand at "throwing pots" and visit the one-of-a-kind Bata Shoe Museum where more than 12,000 shoes are housed.
Learn the art of making Chinese dumplings, dragon lanterns, and then watch the Grannies share their skills on "Caribana" costume-making.
San Juan - Bienvenidos, Paradise
The Grannies venture into San Juan, Puerto Rico, where they visit small hamlets, villages and winding roads that crisscross the island.
Visit El Morro, a large Spanish fort, walk through Old Town with flower draped balconies and experience the integration of the many cultures found on this island through its music: salsa!