Say hello to Ignition TV‘s newest and hottest TV show…. bound to take you on a thrilling adventure from the comfort of your own home. Bringing ‘local is lekker’ straight to you!
Wild in SA is a travel and adventure show, covering all of the wonders that South Africa has to offer. In each episode presenters Tumelo Maketekete and Michelle D aim for an amazing destination – a special, out of the ordinary experience. Each episode takes them on a whirlwind ride as they visit interesting people and places in specific areas all around our magnificent country.
In each episode, two mountain passes are featured: a gravel one, and a tar version. Again, what captivated the audiences is that the directors mostly steered clear of the more mainstream, well-known passes, and instead featured some lesser-traveled routes.
We caught up with one half of the dynamic hosting duo, Michelle D, who grew up on stage and behind the camera. From TV presenting jobs, to modelling, Michelle was born to be in the spotlight.
The show took you to various destinations – which was the most exciting and why?
There were two destinations that were my favorite for two very different reasons.
The fist was Klaarstroom – I have never been to that little town, in fact, I had never heard of it, and it blew me away. The people, the place, the stories… The owners of The Klaarstroom Inn were just so amazing and hospitable. I can definitely say I have made friends there. And of course, South African cinematography legend, Koos Roets (he made the movie “The God’s Must be Crazy”), also lives there and every evening we would sit by the fireplace with some Whiskey and listen to the stories of his career and movie adventures. It was just amazing.
The Second was Blyde River Canyon – it is one of my favorite parts of our beautiful country. I have been there a few times as a kid and it was just nice to go back and enjoy the beauty of that area.
Which South Africa travel destinations are currently on your Bucket-List and why?
I am blessed to consider myself quite well-travelled, but I would still like to see a few special places for a few special reasons. I would love to travel to Namaqualand to see the flowers; second would be to travel to Hermanus to see the whales and lastly, to travel Franschhoek more in depth to “see”more of the wine.
You filmed during the nationwide lockdown – tell us all about that?
We were fortunate enough to film during lockdown – and yes I use the word “fortunate.”
We got to see the country when the land itself was at such peace. It was a surreal experience to leave lockdown in Gauteng – all the rules, and fear and news, and and and ….. and to get lost in our country. There was one trip where we were traveling through the Free State and I was in awe. The Free State has never looked so beautiful to me. There were golden fields no matter which way you looked – and whilst driving in the car, we were the only people for miles to see. Not another car, truck, tractor on site. It was breathtaking.
There were some challenges though – quite a few travel and tourist destinations and activities were closed due to Covid-19, so ideas and the concept we had envisioned had to be changed or postponed. So yes, challenging – but so worth it at the end of the day.
What makes this show unique?
There are 8 Episodes in total – and my co-presenter, Tumelo, and I alternate each week to travel to a different destination. It is not just a travel show – there is a human element to it. There are some funny moments too. I have never laughed as much as I did whilst filming this show. But truly, what I love is that we go to places; we meet people and we have a good time. There really is no script. There is even footage of me singing (not knowing I was being filmed) that I am quite sure is going to be used somewhere. The show is real – real people, real places, and real fun!
Tell us about the “how to survive” element of the show?
Each episode contains a short insert on “how to survive in the wild” on an adventure, showcasing if you run out of fuel, or what would happen if your vehicle picks up a mechanical issue. Survival specialist Ian van der Vyfer shares tips like how to start a fire with your vehicle’s battery, and much more. So many different things you would not think of, well, I certainly had no knowledge of these things so it was an educational learning point for me too.
In your opinion, why should viewers tune in?
Viewers should tune in because you are going to see destinations you would not necessarily have seen or heard of before. The places we go to are really unique and amazing. With all that is happening in South Africa and the world with Covid-19, I think (in fact, I believe) we should all focus a little more local and that includes our travel habits. Maybe instead of looking for the next island or international holiday, we should look at rediscovering and supporting our people and our country’s beautiful tourism resources. #SupportLocal has become a big topic of conversation of late and this show just adds to that and shows you why.
As a female presenter, in a male-dominated world, why is this show changing the game for women?
I think what makes this interesting is that while it is a travel show – it includes a car element. Traditionally TV shows of this nature are hosted by men, because men typically know and like cars more than us ladies. BUT, let me tell you, that is changing. It has been such an experience not only to get to see but to appreciate their beauty (in the case of the vintage vehicles) as well as their power and abilities (the 4x4ing side). I believe it will speak to female viewers and say to them – “yes, you too can enjoy a vintage car, a 4×4 or even a rally car driving experience”
Take up behind the scenes; describe a typical day on set?
So the “set” is our country.
A typical day would include me getting up and getting ready – while the men patiently wait while drinking coffee. Being the only woman on set – they (luckily) understand the need for me to do the hair and makeup.
After breakfast we head off onto the road. We normally have some sort of plan BUT it really is a “take it as it comes” situation. If we drive past an interesting place, we stop and ask questions. See what it is all about.
There are scheduled times where we have to shoot the introductory links, for example “I am here in Klaarstoom where …..” but most of it is filmed on the bases of a real road trip. So you will definitely get that “REAL” experience.
We film until the sun sets – and then the crew sits back and has a braai while we download and review the footage of the day. We really are a small crew, so it’s like a family.
What do you hope the audience takes away from the show?
As a team, we are hoping that the audience is reminded of the beauty that our country holds within her borders. We live in a time (and I am guilty of this as well) where it is so easy to get on a plane and go to another country – that we have forgotten what we have right under our noses.
With Covid-19 and what is happening not just globally but specifically to our country, I personally am hoping that the audience will fall back in love with South Africa and spend some holiday time locally in the upcoming months and years. Now more than ever it is so important to support local – and that includes our small towns and beautiful tourist destinations.
Already talking about the future – can we expect a second season?
Filming this show has been nothing short of magical. I cannot give away too many details – BUT we are already working on something (wink wink)!
Follow them on IG: @wild_in_sa and @michelleddiaries