A world-class team of experts will accompany this expedition to share their knowledge and insights with you and bring each destination to life. Listed below are some of the experts who will be joining this special expedition.
German/Moroccan paleontologist and National Geographic Explorer Nizar Ibrahim scours the deserts of North Africa for clues to life in the Cretaceous period, when the region was a large river system teeming with a profusion of diverse creatures. In addition to unearthing many huge dinosaur bones, he has discovered fossil footprints and a new species of flying reptile with an 18-foot wingspan that lived 95 million years ago. Nizar’s successful quest to unearth fossils of what he calls “a dragon from deep time,” the 50-foot-long carnivorous dinosaur Spinosaurus, was the cover story of the October 2014 issue of National Geographic magazine. Nizar will join the expedition in Morocco.
Archaeologist, Egyptologist and National Geographic Explorer Sarah Parcak is pioneering the young field of satellite archaeology, using futuristic tools to unlock secrets from the past and transform the way discoveries are made. "We're using satellites to help map and model cultural features that could never be seen on the ground because they're obscured by modernization, forests, or soil," she explains. She blends expertise with advanced computer programs, satellite imagery analysis, and old-fashioned digging to reveal thousands of new sites, including lost pyramids, temples, monasteries, tombs, homes, and even entire towns. Sarah founded and directs the Laboratory for Global Observation at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. The winner of the million-dollar 2016 TED prize, she will join the expedition in Jordan.
Archaeologist and National Geographic grantee
Robin Coningham has spent more than 25
years studying the relationship between cities,
irrigation, and Buddhism in Sri Lanka. He has
conducted excavations in both the citadel and
the hinterlands of Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka’s capital for more than 1,500 years and one of the Indian Ocean’s key pilgrimage
sites. His fieldwork spans Bangladesh, Nepal, and Pakistan as
well. A National Geographic Global Exploration Fund-Northern
Europe grant helped fund his investigations of the birthplace and
childhood home of the Buddha at Lumbini in Nepal. Robin will
join the expedition in Nepal.
Paula Kahumbu is the CEO of WildlifeDirect. A National Geographic Explorer with a doctorate from Princeton, she is a winner of the Whitley Award and the National Geographic Howard Buffet Award for conservation leadership in Africa. She received a special commendation at the United Nations Person of the Year celebrations for her critical role in creating awareness and mobilizing legal reforms that have halted the elephant poaching crisis in her native Kenya, where the president has awarded her the Order of the Grand Warrior. Paula will join the expedition in Kenya.
National Geographic Explorers-in-Residence Dereck and Beverly Joubert are the award-winning filmmakers and conservationists who established National Geographic’s Big Cats Initiative, a comprehensive program to protect endangered felines worldwide. The Jouberts have been filming, researching, and exploring in Africa for more than 25 years, and their coverage of unique predator behavior has resulted in 22 films, 10 books, and many articles for National Geographic magazine. In 2006, they teamed up with other leading conservationists to launch Great Plains Conservation, an Africa-based company that works with local communities, governments, and commercial enterprises to enhance and protect iconic wildlife habitats in Africa and Asia. The Jouberts’ many distinctions include five Emmys, a Peabody, and the World Ecology Award. Dereck and Beverly will join the expedition in Kenya.
Paleontologist and National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Louise Leakey has continued the historic legacy begun by her grandfather Louis S. B. Leakey with his fossil discoveries in Tanzania's Olduvai Gorge. She spent much of her youth on field expeditions with her family, and went on to receive a B.S. in geology and biology at the University of Bristol and a Ph.D. at University College, London. With her mother, Dr. Meave Leakey, Louise currently runs a research station at Kenya’s Lake Turkana to facilitate the study of new specimens. In 1999, on a National Geographic–sponsored expedition to the Turkana Basin, they uncovered a 3.5-million-year-old skull and partial jaw believed to belong to a new branch of early human—a discovery that has profound implications in understanding human origins. Louise will join the expedition in Kenya.
Brian Skerry is a photojournalist and marine biologist who specializes in underwater and marine-related subjects and stories. Since 1998 Skerry has been a contributing photographer for National Geographic magazine, covering a wide range of assignments. While on assignment, he has lived on the bottom of the sea, spent months aboard fishing boats, and traveled in everything from snowmobiles to canoes to helicopters to get the picture. He spends months at a time in the field, and in the course of any given year frequently finds himself in environments of extreme contrast from tropical coral reefs to diving beneath Arctic ice. An award-winning photographer, Skerry continues to pursue stories that will increase awareness about the sea. He will join the expedition in the Seychelles.
Anthropologist and linguist David Harrison has been a National Geographic Fellow and co-director of the Society’s Enduring Voices Project, documenting
endangered languages and cultures around the world. He has done extensive fieldwork with indigenous communities from Siberia and Mongolia to Peru, India, and Australia. His global research is the subject of the acclaimed documentary film The Linguists, and his work has been featured in numerous publications including The New York Times, USA Today, and Science. David is both a professor of linguistics and associate provost for academic programs at Swarthmore College. David will join the expedition in Azerbaijan.
Nevada Wier is an award-winning
photographer specializing in documenting the
remote corners and cultures of the world. Her
journeys have taken her to many of the planet’s
deserts, mountains, and urban jungles. Nevada’s
work has appeared in National Geographic
magazine, as well as Geo, National Geographic Traveler,
Outdoor Photographer, Outside, Smithsonian, and numerous
other publications. She is a Fellow of the Explorer’s Club and a
member of the Women’s Geographic Society. Nevada will join the entire expedition.
Paleontologist and National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Meave Leakey has received numerous National Geographic research grants to carry on the historic legacy begun by Louis S. B. Leakey with his fossil discoveries in Tanzania’s Olduvai Gorge. In 1969, at the invitation of Richard Leakey, she joined a field expedition to the paleontological site of Koobi Fora on the eastern shores of Kenya’s Lake Turkana. With her daughter Louise Leakey, Meave now runs a research station at Lake Turkana to facilitate the identification and study of new
specimens. In 1999, on a National Geographic–sponsored expedition, they uncovered a 3.5-million-year old skull and partial jaw believed to belong to a new branch of early human—a discovery that has profound implications in understanding human origins. Meave will join the expedition in Kenya.
During his three decades at National Geographic, Rob Hernandez served as senior editor of the magazine and founder and head of the Society’s international division, which publishes books, magazines, and other media in 35 languages. Raised in Spain and Cuba, Rob began his career doing ecological research and documenting the wildlife and cultures of the world’s remote places. He has filmed a TV special on lions in Namibia, led expeditions to Antarctica, South America, and Southeast Asia, and spent two years circumnavigating the Pacific and Indian Oceans in a small sailboat. Rob will accompany the entire expedition.
Conservationist and National Geographic Emerging Explorer Steve Boyes has dedicated his life to preserving Africa’s wilderness areas and the species that depend upon them. A native of South Africa, Steve spent more than five years in the Okavango Delta while doing fieldwork for his doctorate in zoology. He currently runs the Cape Parrot Project with support from the Society’s Conservation Trust. His work takes him all over Africa, studying wildlife rehabilitation and biodiversity, fighting the wild-caught bird trade, and planting thousands of trees in forest restoration projects. Steve is the Scientific Director of the Wild Bird Trust. Steve recently completed a major National Geographic-sponsored expedition across the Okavango Delta to promote broader protection for the watershed and its wildlife. Steve will join the expedition in Botswana.
Oct 28 - Nov 17, 2018
Lee Berger Anthropologist, Archaeologist, Paleontologist
National Geographic Explorer-in-
Residence Lee Berger
is a Research Professor in
Human Evolution and the Public
Understanding of Science at
the University of Witwatersrand
in Johannesburg, South Africa. His explorations
into human origins in Africa have resulted in
many notable discoveries, including the most
comprehensive early hominin fossils found so far,
which belong to a new species of early human
ancestor, Australopithecus sediba, and, in 2013,
the richest early hominin site yet found on the
continent of Africa. Lee will accompany the entire expedition.