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How David Attenborough Are You?

To highlight the incredible achievements of Sir David Attenborough, we’ve undertaken the mammoth task of researching, evaluating, and recording all the filming locations we could find that he has travelled to as part of his incredible, seven-decade career.

Since his first show Zoo Quest to Guiana aired in 1955, our research shows that Sir David has travelled to at least 333 filming locations around the world!

Now, with our interactive new game, you can compare your travel history to Sir David Attenborough's to reveal how you measure up compared to the greatest travel documentarist and wildlife advocate of our time

Click the link below to the interactive map and list to get started.

 

Sir David Attenborough in Numbers

As experts in wildlife tours and adventures ourselves, we‘ve long been huge fans of Sir David Attenborough. We wanted to illustrate just how extraordinary his career has been, and this has really become apparent as our research team has spent weeks and months watching back documentaries from the 50s to the present day, to unearth just how well travelled the British icon is.
 
Our study looked at a total of 43 documentary series (we excluded shows which only featured narration without physical location footage). Within these shows, Sir David presents from some 333 distinct locations around the world, across 83 different countries, spanning all seven continents and the Arctic.
 
  • Most visited locations: California (8 locations recorded) and Borneo (4 locations recorded)
  • Most visited countries: USA (57), Australia (37), UK (29), Canada (9), China (7), New Zealand (7), Kenya (6), South Africa (5), Ecuador (5), Argentina (5)
  • Most visited continents: North America (80), Europe (63), Africa (46), Oceania (43), Asia (35), South America (33), Antarctica (7), Arctic (1)

At the start of his career, Sir David Attenborough travelled to the exotic lands of Java and Bali in Indonesia, as well as Australia’s Great Barrier Reef – which would have been an enormously enthralling and otherworldly learning experience for the 1950's viewer to watch at home. His Oceania adventures continued into the late 50s, with his show The People of Paradise taking Attenborough to places like Koro and Beqa in Fiji, as well as Pentecost Island in Vanuatu.

Fast forward to the 1960s, and African countries start cropping up in Attenborough’s documentaries; whilst filming Zoo Quest specials he visited Meru National Park in Kenya and Madagascar. Then in the mid-70s for the Tribal Eye his African adventures included filming in Mali and Benin City in Nigeria.
In 1979 Attenborough’s gargantuan series Life on Earth saw him visit 57 different filming locations, from Yellowstone National Park in the USA and the Galapagos Islands through to Tile Quarry in Germany’s Solnhofen and Mylodon Cave in Chile. During the seventies, Attenborough filmed in 63 locations across 33 countries, with Life on Earth contributing to most of his travels.

In the 1980s Sir David visited a fair number of locations in Europe for his documentary films; his show The First Eden included visits to Le Puy in France, caves on the coast of Malta, Greek islands, and Córdoba in Spain’s Andalusia. His 1989 show Lost Worlds, Vanished Lives also featured several UK locations, from Scotland’s Isle of Arran and the north of Wales, through to Dorset and the Leicestershire Quarries.
 
Attenborough’s The Trials of Life was aired in 1990 and saw him presenting from over 30 different worldwide locations. The wildlife habitats he filmed in included the woodlands of eastern USA, tidal rivers in Malaysia, the Samoa Reef, and Taiaroa Head on the South Island of New Zealand. Then in 1993 Life in the Freezer put Attenborough through wild and cold extremes, with filming locations in Cape Royds, Cape Evans, and the South Pole all in Antarctica.

The nineties continued to be an adventurous decade for Sir David, with The Private Life of Plants taking him to Ellesmere Island in Canada, Mount Roraima in Guyana, and Kinabalu Mountain in Borneo. Then in 1998 he was off to Trinidad Rainforest, the Seychelles, California, the Pampas of Argentina, and Thailand all in the name of producing The Life of Birds.

In the first decade of the new millennium, Attenborough’s career took him to tropical rainforests in Peru and Koros River in Hungary for Life in the Undergrowth. And in 2008 he visited Orange River in South Africa, Carnac Island in Australia, and USA’s Arizona for the Life in Cold Blood documentary.
Since 2010, Attenborough travelled less compared to his previous standards, but has still managed to visit 40 separate locations in the last 12 years. Even when he was over 70 years old the explorer still found the energy and inclination to present his shows from places like Lake Fuxian and Kungming City in China (Rise of Animals: Triumph of the Vertebrates), and the Sierra Nevada Mountains in the USA and the Taklamakan Desert in China for the 2022 series The Green Planet.

All this data has been inputted into our interactive map and list so you can compare how your travels measure up to the unparalleled Sir David Attenborough.

 

How 'David Attenborough' is Explore Worldwide?

So far, 55 of the Explore team have played the game – and we've got an average score of 45%. From relatively new joiners in the IT team scoring 10% to our Product Director who’s been with Explore over 10 years and, at 116%, is ‘more David Attenborough than David Attenborough’ – one thing is for sure, we’ve all got very long lists of places we’d still like to go.

Bang on Explore-average at 45% David Attenborough, Michelle Bisang joined the Explore marketing team last October as Marketing Projects Coordinator. Born and raised in Switzerland, she’s since visited 36 countries – her favourite of which has been Indonesia. Next on her list is our Botswana Wildlife Safari.
 
James Adkin, our Programme Manager for Asia, is responsible for designing our small group cultural, walking and cycling tours in the region. He’s also the mastermind behind our UK and cycling programmes. James is 76% David Attenborough having travelled to 62 countries.  He’s recently returned from Japan but Spain continues to hold on to first place in his heart, for its food, landscapes and culture. On the bucketlist? It has to be Antarctica and South Georgia

Our Digital Marketing Executive Amy Fiske is 17% David Attenborough. Having completed the game she jumped straight on a flight to Tokyo and joined our Simply Japan tour, already ticking off her next country. 


 

Our biggest travel regrets and hopes

It’s not too late! On our interactive map you can also build your travel ‘wishlist’ – flagging all the destinations around the world where you’d like to travel in the future. 

To compare your travel ambitions with the general public’s, we commissioned a unique survey to discover the travel hopes and travel regrets of respondents from different age groups. 

The survey revealed that the majority of the over 70s have travel regrets, with 62% saying that there is somewhere in the world they regret never having visited.

Some of the countries mentioned frequently in the over 70s travel regrets include Australia, New Zealand, USA, Japan, and Canada. 
 
Attraction, Place or Activity
% of Over 70s Who Regret Never Doing This
Seeing the Northern Lights
39%
Visiting the Maldives
19%
Seeing the Great Pyramids of Giza
19%
Visiting Machu Pichu
19%
Seeing Niagara Falls
19%
Visiting the Taj Mahal
18%
Walking the Great Wall of China
17%
Seeing the Petra ruins in Jordan
13%
An African safari
13%
Driving a Californian road trip
11%
 


Other experiences the over 70s said they regretted not doing included:
  • ‘Seeing Japan in the Spring – to see the cherry blossom’
  • ‘I would have loved to visit the Italian Lakes’
  • ‘More long-distance train travel, like The Ghan’
  • ‘Seeing the fjords in Norway’
  • ‘Visiting New York and seeing a Broadway show’
  • ‘Driving Route 66’

Our survey also asked the younger mid-life generation about the travel experiences that they hope to accomplish in the next decade or two. A massive 85% of people aged 40 to 55 say they hope to discover a new country, with Italy, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and USA coming out as the most popular places that mid-lifers want to visit in the next ten to twenty years.
 

 

Attraction, Place or Activity
% of Over 70s Who Regret Never Doing This
Seeing the Northern Lights
46%
Visiting the Maldives
35%
Lying on a beach in the Mediterranean
33%
Seeing Niagara Falls
30%
Going to Disney Land/Disney World
29%
A Californian road trip
26%
Doing a European cruise
24%
Partying in Las Vegas
23%
An African safari
21%
Great Pyramids of Giza
20%
Taj Mahal
16%
Gondola Ride in Venice
16%
Walking the Great Wall of China
16%
Visiting Machu Picchu
15%
Trekking the Inca Trail
9%



Other experiences 40–55-year-olds said they want to do in the next ten to twenty years include:
  • ‘Going to see the cathedral in Florence, Italy’
  • ‘Seeing a sunset in Ibiza’
  • ‘Taking the bullet train in Japan’
  • ‘Revisiting Bahamas where I had my honeymoon’
  • ‘Australia for the amazing wildlife’
  • ‘I want to visit Disney World at Christmas’
  • ‘I would love to visit India as I’m interested in spirituality and Vedic astrology’
  • ‘Touring the Scottish Highlands’

 
Survey methodology: Using Censuswide, we surveyed 502 British people aged 70 or over with questions about places and travel experiences around the world that they regret not having visited yet. Also using Censuswide, we then surveyed 530 British respondents aged between 40-55 years old to discover the places and travel experiences that they hope to achieve in the next decade or two.

Map research methodology: Using IMDB, Wikipedia, BBC iPlayer, YouTube and more, we counted the number of locations David Attenborough has visited whilst filming travel shows and documentaries throughout his career. The research looked at his extensive filmography and counted each different location, country and continent Attenborough was seen to have visited during every episode. Shows which are only narrated with a voice over were discounted from the final research numbers. Data correct (to the best of our knowledge) as of February 2023. Think we've missed something? We'd love to hear from you if you've got evidence he's filmed somewhere else. Please send it to HDARU@explore.co.uk

Filming location sources: List of documentaries/shows:
  1. Zoo Quest to Guiana
  2. Zoo Quest for a Dragon
  3. Quest for Paradise Birds
  4. Zoo Quest in Paraguay
  5. The People of Paradise
  6. Festival in Adelaide
  7. Zoo Quest to Madagascar
  8. Zoo Quest Special: Elsa the Lioness
  9. Quest for Capricorn
  10. Zambezi
  11. A Blank on the Map
  12. The Tribal Eye
  13. Life on Earth
  14. The Living Planet
  15. The First Eden
  16. Lost Worlds, Vanished Lives
  17. The Trials of Life
  18. Life in the Freezer
  19. The Private Life of Plants
  20. Attenborough in Paradise
  21. Survival Island
  22. Cities of the World
  23. The Life of Birds
  24. The Lost Gods of Easter Island
  25. The Life of Mammals
  26. Life in the Undergrowth
  27. Life in Cold Blood
  28. Charles Darwin and the Tree of Life
  29. First Life
  30. Frozen Planet
  31. Kingdom of Plants
  32. Galapagos
  33. Rise of the Animals: Triumph of the Vertebrates
  34. Life Story
  35. David Attenborough’s Conquest of the Skies 3D
  36. Great Barrier Reef
  37. Attenborough and the Giant Dinosaur
  38. Life That Glows
  39. Attenborough and the Giant Elephant
  40. Attenborough and the Sea Dragon
  41. Life in Colour
  42. The Green Planet
  43. Dinosaurs: The Final Day with David Attenborough