Program 314: Travel Portraits; Artist's Safari; Africa 54

Release Date: 02-02-2013

On Air Description

A portrait photographer shares tips for taking top-notch photos of the people you meet in your travels.  

A painter shares how going on an artist's safari has deepened his love of African wildlife, and lets him look eye to eye with the creatures of the savannah.  

And a travel writer tells us how he's preparing to start a three-year trip to every country in Africa.  

Change the way you look at the world each week, on Travel with Rick Steves.


  • Portrait photographer Phil Borges, author of "Tibet: Culture on the Edge" (Rizzoli)
  • Wildlife artist Fred Krakowiak, author of "The Artist's Safari: Capturing Africa with Pen, Lens, and Paintbrush" (self-published)
  • Travel writer Francis Tapon, author of "The Hidden Europe: What Eastern Europeans Can Teach Us" (Wander Learn Series)

Related Links

  • Photographer Phil Borges' website includes many of his portrait photos. His latest book of portraits and essays is called "Tibet: Culture on the Edge."
  • Phil Borges founded an educational program in citizen diplomacy called "Bridges to Understanding," to use digital technology to enhance storytelling. The program is now associated with Teachers Without Borders.
  • Fred Krakowiak's website is called, and features photos of his artwork, and links to his latest book, "The Artist's Safari: Capturing Africa with Pen, Lens, and Paintbrush," and his earlier book, "Africa: An Artist’s Safari."  
  • Francis Tapon has updated his planned route for traveling to each country in Africa since we recorded our interview with him in late December. The website is where he posts progress reports about his trip.
  • Scroll down the home page on Francis Tapon's website to locate his 18-minute TED talk called "How and Why Travel Transforms You."
  • Francis Tapon's book about his three years exploring the eastern half of Europe is called "The Hidden Europe: What Eastern Europeans Can Teach Us"
  • Near the end of this weeks show, Rick reads an e-mail from listener Mihai, who has been taking his family of 6 on a round-the-world excursion since October 2011. Mihai updates their adventures on blogspot.


  • "My experience with the Tangier-Tarifa ports suggests you eliminate the Morocco-Algeria border problem and backtracking, by taking the boat from Tangier to Tárifa, Spain or Gibraltar, then go to a port or airport that departs for Algeria; (ex: Malaga-Melilla, Almeria-Ghazaouet, or Alacant-Oran or Alger)." (Donna in Yakima, Washington)
  • Recommends obtaining a Medic Alert account and dog tag which comes with a free international emergency number. "It offers a plan that works like a 'bridge' to cover emergency costs immediately. I speak from experience (July 1998, just before the U.S. embassies were bombed)." (Carolyn in Tacoma, Washington)
  • "We are wrapping up a family round-the-world trip of 15 months, inspired by an episode of this radio show, and have visited four African countries. Plan at least a couple of months in Madagascar and choose wisely the time of the year you go. There is no access for up to six months in some of the most interesting regions. Take your time in South Africa: this country has countless amazing attractions. But three weeks in Egypt is plenty; don't waste your time there at the beginning of your trip." (e-mail from Mihai from Watkins Glen, New York)

Incidental Music

  • Marco di Bali, "Tibet Flavour," VIP Lounge, vol. 1 (collection) / Wagram (France)
  • Baly Othmani and Steve Shehan, "Ténéré," Assarouf / Worldly-Triloka
  • Jack Dangers, "Ava (Nu Wage Remix)," A Luaka Bop: Roots, Rock and Rhythm (collection) / Luaka Bop
  • * Mino Cinelu and George Jinda, "Village," The Big Bang, vol. 1: In the Beginning Was the Drum (collection) / Ellipses Arts
  • Stella Rambisai Chiwese, "Chigamba," Global Meditation, vol. 3: Pulse of Life (collection) / Ellipses Arts
  • Gasper Nawal, "Awo," The Big Bang, vol. 1: In the Beginning Was the Drum (collection) / Ellipses Arts
  • Issa Bagayogo, "Dama," Timbuktu / Six Degrees
  • Bernie Krauss, "Monkey Business (excerpt)," The Big Bang, vol. 1: In the Beginning Was the Drum (collection) / Ellipses Arts
  • Soliman Gamil, "The New Nubia," Global Meditation, vol. 4: Music from the Heart (collection) / Ellipses Arts
  • Baly Othmani and Steve Shehan, "Assarouf," Assarouf / Worldly-Triloka
  • Raft, "Ou Les Elephants Meurent," Madagascar / Universal
  • * Hugh Masekela, "Grazin' in the Grass," Hope / Worldly-Triloka
  • Farafina, "Farafina," Global Meditation, vol. 3: Pulse of Life (collection) / Ellipses Arts
  • Paul Winter Consort, "Bendir and Heckelphone," Miho: Journey to the Mountain / Living Music
  • Desmond Williams, "Comeback Dub," ESL Soundtracks: Modular Systems (sampler collection) / ESL
  • Tata and Salam Band, "Xalatu Africa," Streets of Dakar: Generation Boul Falé (collection) / Stern's Africa

Dated References

  • Rick notes in the billboard, in the segment A open, in the forward-promo at the end of segment B, and the open to the segment C interview, that Francis Tapon is about to embark on a three-year exploration of each of the 54 nations in Africa.
  • In the segment A open, at 7:02, Rick notes that, at current trends, half the languages spoken in the world today will die out within a generation.
  • In the intro to the segment B interview, Rick notes that Fred Krakowiak was first a guest on the show "five years ago" (June 2008). In a reset at 27:45, Rick notes that listeners can listen to program #139 in the show archives to hear Fred's 2008 interview.
  • At 34:08, Rick quotes from Fred's book that the lion population has dropped to around 20,000 today from a half million a generation ago, and cheetahs number only 10,000 today, after being 100,000 a century ago. Fred adds that the wild dog population is down to around 3,000 in Africa. He adds that a mining company in Zimbabwe wants to dig near the Mono Pools wildlife refuge, which would create havoc for the eco-system. At 35:15, he adds that elephants are still poached for their ivory in the Congo, although South Africa has tried to eliminate the poaching.  As a result, he explains, elephant tusks are getting smaller, since those with larger tusks are being eliminated from the gene pool by poachers.
  • Francis Tapon says at 41:18 that his "big picture" travel plans are to start in Egypt and work his way down east Africa, and finish up the west coast at North Africa.  At 41:26, Rick notes that South Sudan is the newest of Africa's 54 countries, and had to recently be added to Francis' itinerary.
  • At 42:25, Francis observes that most of the conflicts in Africa, as far as he can tell so far, seem to be limited to local areas, and are not spread over large territories. He gives examples of problems in north Mali and along the border of Sudan with South Sudan.
  • To illustrate his challenge of applying for international visas along his route, at 46:47 Francis says he can't predict where he'll be "in July 2014." At 48:05, he adds that the pirate risk in the Indian Ocean may prevent him from taking a boat to Madagascar or the Seychelles.
  • Caller Donna, at 52:12, offers Francis a tip for avoiding the closed border between Morocco and Algeria (which he later incorporated into a changed itinerary for his trip).