Eugene Levy, a world-renowned actor known for his roles in films like Best In Show and A Mighty Wind and more recently, Schitt’s Creek on Netflix, has fallen for South Africa in his new travel show on Apple TV+, The Reluctant Traveler.
The documentary series follows Levy as he embarks on a journey across Africa and beyond.
In the trailer for The Reluctant Traveler, Eugene shaeres:
“The great outdoors means different things to different people…I’m more the great indoors type of guy…”
“But I’ve agreed to explore what lies outside of my comfort zone. A world I’ve spent my whole life avoiding.”
In an article penned by Levy for the March 2023 issue of Condé Nast Traveler, Eugene explains that he grew up watching Wild Kingdom with his father, where he saw all the animals from the jungles and plains of SA, so when the Kruger National Park came up as a destination for the series, he saw no reason to go, but changed his mind after he had spent a few days in the wilderness of SA.
“When Kruger National Park came up as a destination for the series I’m hosting and executive-producing, I honestly didn’t see a reason for going. You know, I’d already seen it all. But my frame of mind went from ‘I don’t necessarily want to be here’ to ‘I don’t want to leave’ in just one week. It was kind of magical.”
When taking in the veiw at one of the local destinations he visited for the series – Kruger Shalati’s famous train on the bridge in Skukuza – Eugene expressed that “you definitely get a sense you’re in Africa here” before being rudely interrupted by the calls of a local legend, the hadida, to which he responded:
“I don’t know what that was…”
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Of course, when you’re surrounded by wild African animals for the first time, it can feel slightly daunting.
“People keep talking about The Big 5. I’d be happy to achieve ‘the big one’ – staying alive” said Eugene, before going on to explain how he get involved with helping a local vet draw blood and take a stool sample from an elephant.
Despite believing he would have never inserted himself in such close proximity with a ‘gentle giant’, Eugene described the experience as something he would not forget:
“Feeling its pulse through a giant vein in its ear is an experience I won’t soon forget.”
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Levy revealed that filming The Reluctant Traveler was a transformative experience for him.
“I’ve never felt such a strong connection to a place before,” he said. “Africa is a continent that is often misunderstood and misrepresented, but it has so much beauty and diversity to offer.”
Levy’s newfound love for Africa is evident in the way he talks about the continent. He is passionate about promoting responsible tourism and encouraging people to visit Africa for themselves.
“It’s a life-changing experience that everyone should have.”
“The more I saw, the more I felt connected to this corner of the world and to the animals. There was something about the beauty of the landscape and the danger within it—that combo that made me think, Okay, you know what, I get it now.”
Feature Image: Instagram / @kruger_shalati