DARWIN’S HMS BEAGLE HEADS TO CAPE TOWN

On Sunday, April 25 2010, HMS Beagle docked in Cape Town, completing the production of a documentary series on the life and theories of Charles Darwin, to commemorate 200 years since his birth and 150 years since the publication of his theory Origin of Species.

Few are aware of Charles Darwin’s ties to South Africa and the Cape in particular.

On his way home to England from South America, Darwin docked at the Cape, visiting areas we know today as Simon’s Town, Wynberg, Paarl, Franschhoek and Sir Lowry’s Pass. He recorded sightings of animals such as elephant, rhinoceros, the now extinct kwagga and more. He travelled with a “tour guide” – a Khoi man – dressed in top hat and tails.

The series tracks his voyage across the globe and the ship has already sailed to Great Britain, Spain, Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, Chile, Peru, Ecuador, Tahiti and Australia; covering roughly 24 000 nautical miles. Along the way the documentary team interviewed scientists, politicians, artists, historians and writers who contributed to the assessment of where the world stands today in light of Darwin’s theory of evolution.

This thrilling expedition ended in Cape Town at the V&A Waterfront, Jetty 2, on April 25. Cape Town Tourism and the Beagle Project had asked the local sailing community to welcome the vessel by sailing out, or to wave the ship in.

The Beagle series is currently being broadcast in Holland and Belgium, with negotiations for international broadcast underway.

“Cape Town has such a varied history and this is just a piece of a much broader picture. We’re very excited to be endorsing such an original venture, which ties in perfectly with the Darwin Trail Map that was launched last year,” says Mariette du-Toit Helmbold, CEO of Cape Town Tourism.

The Darwin Trail Map was launched in Cape Town in 2009, researched by the Africa Genome Education Institute and published by A&C Maps. The map retraces Darwin’s steps through the Cape.

The Darwin Trail Map is available at any Cape Town Tourism visitor information centre. For more information on the Darwin Trail Map, contact +27 (0) 21 487 6800.

ENDS

For further information about Cape Town Tourism and the Darwin Trail Map, please contact Cape Town Tourism’s PR and Communication Manager Skye Grove, on skye@capetown.travel, call +27 (0) 21 487 6800, or visit www.capetown.travel.

Released for Cape Town Tourism by:
Rabbit in a Hat Communications
Tammy White
+27 (0) 21 447 3197
+27 (0) 73 202 5041
tammy@rabbitinahat.co.za

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