President Kufuor acts as tour guide in Travel Channel special Washington -- On November 8, cable television's Travel Channel aired its second African travelogue special, "Ghana: the Presidential Tour." The Travel Channel's first presentation, "Uganda: the Presidential Tour," aired in November 2003.
Both specials, hosted and narrated by television anchor Forrest Sawyer, provide a unique view of these two sub-Saharan African nations, personally guided by their leaders.
In the Ugandan special, which concluded with a visit to President Yoweri Museveni's expansive cattle ranch, Museveni escorts Sawyer through the highlands, jungles and savannahs of his country, flushing out rarely seen mountain gorillas and herds of freely roaming elephants.
To spotlight the beauty of his nation, Ghana's president, John Agyekum Kufuor, takes Sawyer to Kakum National Park, noted for having the world's most extensive rainforest canopy. Their trek uncovers bands of arboreal monkeys, sunbathing crocodiles and a group of elephants at play in a nearby watering hole.
As Ghana is the world's second largest producer of cocoa, Kufuor also takes his guest on a tour of a vast cocoa plantation in Tafo.
Highlights include trips to village markets, a fishing expedition and a presidential demonstration of soccer prowess. Soccer is Kufuor's personal passion.
The final sequence takes place at the infamous slave complex of Elmina, once a major launching point for the West African slave trade, now a place of visitation by tourists, including many African Americans in search of their African heritage.
"Ghana: the Presidential Tour" received its Washington premiere on October 26, a co-presentation of the Discovery Channel and the Africa Society of the National Summit on Africa. Among attendees at the premiere were President Kufuor and Ghana's minister of tourism, J.O. Obestsebi-Lamptey.
In a statement on the importance of such programming, Judith A. McHale, chief executive officer of Discovery Communications, which owns the Travel Channel, said: "Discovery is pleased to present this program along with the Africa Society that provides Americans with positive images of Africa and Africans and shares knowledge about the continent's undiscovered treasures. We hope to educate people about Ghana's remarkable diversity, people, history and culture."
The Travel Channel, which provides travel-related cable television programming around the clock, is available in more than 80 million U.S. homes.