Grannies on safari in Ireland

Tue, Sep 18, 2012, 01:00

Regina Fraser and Pat Johnson, known in the US for their TV show ‘Grannies on Safari’, have just completed their first shoot in Ireland. PETER LYNCHfinds out what two sexagenarian African Americans made of it

REGINA FRASER and Pat Johnson are both grandmothers in their late 60s who remain wide-eyed and enthusiastic about everything they do. They are from Chicago and are better known in many parts of the world for their travel show, Grannies on Safari.

“We’ve been best friends for 30 years, ever since meeting when our children were at the same school,” says Fraser.

She has worked in marketing, media and communications and spent much of her life in management with AmericanAirlines; Johnson was an arts executive and worked in India, Ghana, Brazil, South Africa, China and Indonesia.

Their shared interest in culture and travel helped them answer the question: “What are we going to do now we’re retired?” They decided to make a travel show.

That was in 2005. They have since travelled to 114 countries between them, and are working on their fourth series (which will be broadcast in the US and 120 other countries).

The duo have a spontaneous presenting style, making fun of each other and disagreeing on camera. “Our first major travel show was in South Africa,” says Fraser. “One of our guides said, ‘Hey, you’re really like a pair of grannies on safari.’ We liked that, and the name just stuck.”

Do their age and African American heritage play a part in where they decide to go? “Not really. We like to get off the general tourist trail and get inside communities, but basically we’re interested in people and places,” says Fraser.

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