Tropic of Cancer with Simon Reeve episode 3

Tropic of Cancer with Simon Reeve episode 3

Tropic of Cancer with Simon Reeve episode 3 – Simon Reeve embarks on another remarkable segment of his grand adventure around the globe, tracing the Tropic of Cancer, which marks the northernmost boundary of the tropical zone.



Beginning in Egypt, Simon Reeve reacquaints himself with the path of the Tropic of Cancer, journeying through captivating locations such as Saudi Arabia, the bustling city of Dubai, and the enchanting landscape of Oman. While in southern Egypt, near the architectural marvel that is the ancient temple of Abu Simbal, he encounters the Nubian community. These indigenous people grapple with preserving their rich heritage and way of life in the aftermath of the Nile’s damming. Adding to the tapestry of his experiences, Simon indulges in the breathtaking underwater world of the Red Sea, witnessing its pristine coral reefs teeming with life.



Venturing into Saudi Arabia, he finds himself amidst the thrill of racing with the exuberant Jeddah Boyz. Dubai, known for its soaring skyscrapers and luxurious lifestyle, reveals another side as Simon meets with construction workers. These hardworking individuals share stories of endurance and hope during the city’s economic challenges. Finally, in Oman, a heartwarming scene unfolds.



Simon is privileged to observe rare baby green giant turtles, freshly hatched, as they embark on their own monumental journey, navigating their way from Oman’s sandy shores into the vast expanse of the Arabian Sea.


Tropic of Cancer with Simon Reeve episode 3


Simon Reeve continues his epic journey around the world following the Tropic of Cancer, the northern border of the tropics region. Simon rejoins the Tropic of Cancer in Egypt and follows it through Saudi Arabia, Dubai and Oman. In southern Egypt, next to the ancient temple of Abu Simbal, Simon meets Nubians struggling to maintain their culture following the damming of the Nile and dives in the pristine reefs of the Red Sea.

In Saudi Arabia, he goes racing with the Jeddah Boyz, in Dubai he meets construction workers suffering in the economic downturn, and he watches as rare baby green giant turtles start their own epic journeys as they head into the Arabian Sea from the beaches of Oman.


Witnessing the Last of the Nubians in Southern Egypt

The Nile River has been the lifeblood of Egyptian civilization for millennia, but in the 1960s the construction of the Aswan Dam flooded Nubian villages that had existed for generations. Simon meets Nubians like local guide Fikry Kashef, who were forced to relocate when Lake Nasser was created. An entire culture was disrupted and displaced from their ancestral homes on the banks of the Nile.

Fikry tries to keep Nubian traditions alive by teaching songs to local children, but he says, “the new generation, they don’t know, they know nothing about their country and their culture.” For the Nubians, a vibrant world was lost underwater.


Diving the Pristine Reefs of the Red Sea

After crossing the desert, Simon reaches the Red Sea coast. He goes diving with Hossam Helmy, a pioneer of Red Sea diving, to explore the coral reef. The diversity and health of the reef is a testament to the clean, warm tropical waters, which benefit from runoff from the surrounding volcanic mountains.

Hossam compares the reef to an aquarium and a treasure that must be protected. But with plans for large resort developments, he worries mass tourism could damage the fragile ecosystem. By keeping tourist numbers low and focusing on eco-resorts, there is hope this natural wonder can be preserved.


Off-Roading in Saudi Arabia with the Jeddah Boyz

Entering conservative Saudi Arabia, Simon discovers an outlet for rebellious young men – extravagantly modified cars. He meets the Jeddah Boyz, who customize vehicles into outrageous artworks on wheels, some even mobile dance clubs.

Simon goes out to the legal racetrack where drivers indulge their passion. With limited options for fun and mingling between sexes heavily restricted, pumping up cars and racing provides a much-needed recreational escape for Saudi youth.


Dubai’s Forgotten Migrant Workforce

In the boom years, Dubai attracted legions of migrant laborers to build its monumental skyscrapers and artificial islands. But the workers often face exploitation. Meeting men at a labor camp, Simon hears first-hand accounts of deceit and broken promises.

With no money, passports confiscated and loans looming, they are essentially trapped. As Dubai’s economy craters, workers find themselves stuck in limbo, with no help from authorities. For thousands, the Dubai dream has become a nightmare with no escape.


Protecting Rare Turtles on the Shores of Oman

Reaching the east coast of the Arabian Peninsula in Oman, Simon observes the extraordinary mass nesting of endangered green sea turtles. Guided by locals, he watches as the exhausted creatures laboriously drag themselves onto the beach to lay eggs. Simon is also able to witness newly hatched turtles frantically making their way to the sea.

The Omani government protects this stretch of coastline, and limits destructive development, providing hope for the future of this ancient turtle nesting site. As human activity threatens so many species, this regulated sanctuary shows that fragile nature can flourish again if given a chance.



Simon Reeve’s journey along the Tropic of Cancer highlighted how this line crosses through incredibly diverse lands and cultures, yet faces common challenges of development and conservation. In Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Dubai and Oman, Reeve met people struggling to maintain their way of life, and witnessed both human hardship and the awesome power of the natural world.

While human activity often disrupts traditional lifestyles and threatens the environment, Reeve found inspiration in those working hard to preserve what they can for the future, whether it be Nubian culture, coral reefs or rare turtles. There are always efforts underway to save treasures, if we take the time to look. Reeve’s travels offer an illuminating look at modern life along this crucial band of latitude.


Frequently Asked Questions – Tropic of Cancer with Simon Reeve episode 3


What happened to the Nubian villages when the Aswan Dam was built?

Hundreds of Nubian villages that existed for generations along the Nile River were flooded and disappeared underwater when the Aswan Dam created Lake Nasser in the 1960s. Entire communities were displaced.

Why is the coral reef in the Red Sea so pristine?

The Red Sea’s coral reef thrives thanks to the warm, shallow and relatively enclosed waters. Runoff from surrounding mountains also enriches the reef, supporting an abundance of marine life.

How are young Saudi men able to express themselves creatively?

With strict rules against mingling between sexes and bans on many forms of entertainment, young Saudi men customize cars into outrageous designs and race them on legal racetracks as an approved recreational outlet.

What problems do migrant workers face in Dubai?

Many are deceived about salaries and working conditions, get into debt paying recruiters, have passports confiscated, and are provided substandard housing. When Dubai’s economy declined, thousands were left stranded and unsupported.

Why does Oman protect sea turtles nesting on its beaches?

The Omani government recognizes the global significance of this endangered species’ breeding site. By preventing excessive coastal development and disturbance, Oman helps preserve an iconic creature and important ecosystem.

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