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Kalahari Desert's Lost City is the 17th episode in Season 2 of Expedition Unknown.

Plot Synopsis[]

Gates searches for a lost city in the Kalahari Desert in Africa. First discovered by circus pioneer The Great Farini in 1885, he supposedly came across the ruins of a lost city half-buried in the scorching sands. Those who followed in his footsteps came up empty-handed and claimed it a hoax, while even some vanished. Today, a modern explorer launched an all-new expedition which Gates joins.

Historical Context[]

"In 1885, a hugely popular acrobatic daredevil and circus pioneer named G.A Farini undertakes a daring expedition into the vast dunes of Africa's Kalahari desert. When he returns to civilisation, Farini makes a remarkable claim, that he came across the ruins of a lost city, half-buried in scorching sands. Many believed he had stumbled upon a never-before-described civilisation. To others, he was branded a liar, a circus showman full of all tales."

- Josh Gates


Josh goes to Cape Town, South Africa and to the National Library to meet Michael Main, a historian. Michael gives him photographs to help verify Farini's story. Josh goes to Table Mountain and starts matching photographs to real landscapes and to a library in Upington to see old newspapers from Farini's day. In one of the newspapers that contains an interview with Farini, he never mentions the Lost City.

Josh meets explorer Adam Cruise in the Kalahari Desert. They go to what looks like ruins of toppling stones but decide they are natural. Adam says that Farini was accomplished enough that he would know the ruins were natural so they decided this wasn't the city he saw and continue on. Adam believes that Farini didn't travel all the way to Lake Ngami based on how far he would've had to travel a day and that he probably would've only made it to the border near southern Botswana which is where they decide to search. The next day they follow Farini's path and see Augrabies Falls and then Adam takes an aeroplane equipped with LIDAR and Josh and a pilot take a gyrocopter to search out ruins.

On the ground, they analyse the data and find a small indigenous community and an elliptical rock shape that matches one of Farini's descriptions. They raft down the Oranje River and hike to the coordinates where they find a huge stone crescent and a couple of manmade walls. They spot a horse-drawn carriage and two local people from the community of Mfasma who take them to old ruins. On the way, they spot a tree similar to one Farini photographed and Lionel, one of the locals, takes them to ruins that resemble a road. Lionel also shows them old etchings of animals and people.

Final Words[]

"Analysis of the early rock art and stone structures we examined confirmes that they were made more than a millennia ago, built by the hands of a little-known African civilisation. As for The Great Farini, he may have exaggerated his route, but there's little doubt that he saw these or similar stone structures. His discovery is real, and he deserves credit for voyaging into one of the most punishing environments on Earth.and for cataloguing the wondrous things he saw there. To me, Farini, like the lost city, is in need of rediscovery. He was a brilliant showman and an intrepid explorer. His journey, I hope, will inspire others to forge their own paths into the Kalahari and to dig up the secrets still hiding in the sands."

- Josh Gates

Notes & Trivia[]

  • This is where you can put notes and trivia, anything that is interesting or strange can be included here


  • "So you're a Palestinian in South Africa making Mexican food."
  • "Baking powder is on sale for 5 cents so that's a pretty good bargain."
  • "Makes it a little hard to search for a lost city when you can actually be eaten while looking."
  • "I try to forget we're camping in what amounts to a zoo with no cages."
  • "A dinosaur could push through these bushes and I wouldn't be surprised."
  • "This is what we call the Kalahari Ferrari."
  • "One of the top predators in the world versus me not one of the top of predators in the world."