Episode 1138—Air Date: September 17, 2011

This week on National Geographic Weekend host Boyd Matson speaks with guests about the Tuareg rebels, preserving green Gabon, discovering secret journeys of a lifetime, the newly-opened National September 11 Memorial, a walking fish, racing to the South Pole, learning to fly, the magic of the human brain, traveling the length of the Nile, and getting off the beaten track in a well-traveled country.


• The Tuareg people of the Sahara are nomads who know the desert like few others. But they are struggling to survive amidst turmoil in Northern Africa. Journalist Peter Gwin spent time in Niger with rebel Tuareg who are battling the government with support from Muammar Qaddafi. His article, “The Sahara’s Tuareg,” appears in the September issue of National Geographic magazine.

• National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Mike Fay trekked across the country of Gabon. Now he is working with the government to preserve many of the wild places he explored. Fay joins Boyd in the studio to talk about working with President Ali Bongo Ondimba to keep Gabon green.

Keith Bellows, editor-in-chief of National Geographic Traveler magazine, joins Boyd to talk about Secret Journeys of a Lifetime: 500 of the World’s Best Hidden Travel Gems. Bellows, who wrote the introduction to the book, talks with Boyd about some of his favorite secret places.

Anthoula Katsimatides lost her brother in the 9/11 terrorist attacks. She now serves on the board of directors of the National September 11 Memorial at the World Trade Center Foundation. Katsimatides joins Boyd to talk about the newly-opened memorial and the companion book from National Geographic, A Place of Remembrance.

• This week David Braun, editor of National Geographic Daily News, joins Boyd to talk about walking fish and a new shark species.


• A century ago, Robert Falcon Scott and Roald Amundsen raced to the South Pole. Both made it, but only one returned. Caroline Alexander recounts the gripping story in the September National Geographic magazine article titled “The Race to the South Pole.”

• We all dream of flying. But our human longing to soar has often ended in tragedy. In “If We Only Had Wings,” the cover story of the September National Geographic magazine, Nancy Shute writes about the sometimes successful, often dangerous, dream of personal flight.

• Seeing is believing… but should it be? In a new book from National Geographic, Brainworks: The Mind Bending Science of How You See, What You Think and Who You Are, author Michael Sweeney explains how and why it’s not that hard to trick the brain. The book accompanies the Brain Games! television series, airing on the National Geographic Channel.

• Author Dan Morrison writes about his harrowing journey down the Nile River from Lake Victoria to the Mediterranean Sea in the book The Black Nile: One Man’s Amazing Journey Through Peace and War on the World’s Longest River. Morrison joins Boyd to talk about his adventure and his book.

• On a recent trip to Turkey, Boyd rediscovers how easy it can be to find undiscovered places in a much-visited country.

Listen to National Geographic Weekend

Episode 1138—Air Date: September 17, 2011