Where the experts holiday: Reza Pakravan, traveller, adventurer and film maker

By | Category: Travel tips & opinions

Reza Pakravan holds the Guinness World Record for crossing the Sahara desert by bicycle: his preferred mode of transport. He has also cycled the Annapurna Circuit, the length of the planet from Norway to South Africa, and through the Amazon rainforest along the Trans-Amazonian Highway. In 2012, Reza was listed among the world’s top 20 most seasoned travellers by Men’s Fitness magazine. Reza is a patron of NGO SEED Madagascar, has received a prestigious Lloyd’s Charity Award for his work building schools and fundraising for Malagasy children and has just published his  first book Kapp to Cape – chronicling his record breaking adventure. In the midst of all this, Reza somehow found time to share his travel highs and lows with Just About Travel readers


What do you like to do on holiday?
A holiday for me is chilling on the beach – basically a proper rest. My job is all about travelling as I make adventure television programmes. I travel to very remote parts of the world and bring back good stories to tell through my films, books and talks. Therefore, for a holiday I chose places that I can really put my brain to rest. A place without a mobile reception and WIFI is ideal!

The worst road in the world – Moyale to Marsabit (Northern Kenya)

Where did you last go?
I travelled to New Orleans and Miami during the Christmas break – New Orleans was awesome. It’s pretty hard not to get inspired there as the live music and street performances are simply world class. The best in the world.

Do you know where you’re going this year?
For work I will be travelling to West Africa and Iran. For a holiday,  I am headed to French Polynesia.

Of all the places you’ve been to, which was your favourite and why?
I’d have to say Madagascar – that country took my breath away. The people, culture and music are phenomenal. It’s very unique, just like its eco-system.

Which destination do you wish to travel to, but haven’t yet been?
Benin. Formerly known as Dahomey, it’s one of Africa’s most stable democracies and has been on my bucket list for ages.

In your own country, what would you recommend tourists see that isn’t in the travel guides?
Elan Valley in Wales which is like a scene out of Lord of the Rings . It’s a hidden gem in the UK. Mid Wales is really quite magical.

How do you plan your holiday?
My starting point is always a map. Once I chose the destination, I become obsessed with it and do a lot of research. Normally I book my first’s night accommodation and have some ideas where I want to go but I try hard not to book things. I like to go with a flow.

Reza suffering with malaria and food poisoning in his hospital bed in Kitengela

How often do you go away?
Very often! Too often perhaps! I travel for both work and leisure and  absolutely love it.

Who do you travel with?
For work, I normally travel with a film crew. For leisure, I travel with my fiancée – she is a big time traveller too.

Where do you see tourism in your country, in 10 years?
I think the UK will attract more international travellers – the depreciated Sterling has opened a huge amount of opportunity  for foreign tourists to visit. Also given the popularity of adventure travel, I can see that more and more tourists will be visiting remote parts of Scotland and Wales.

Thanks Reza!

Reza Pakravan’s first book Kapp to Cape (£14.99; Summersdale) is out now. Deciding to break away from his city job and comfortable lifestyle in London, Reza and his friend set off from the most northerly point on mainland Europe and attempt to cycle a world record breaking 11,000 miles to Cape Town, completely unsupported.

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