HGTV Announces ‘Wild’ New Series Is First for the Network



HGTV promises captivating views and exotic wildlife in its first series set in Africa. “Renovation Island” will follow Lynsey and Grant Cumings as they renovate two safari resorts in Zambia, the network announced in a press release. The eight-episode season premieres on Monday, May 15, 2023 at 9 p.m. Eastern and Pacific times.

Lynsey and Grant Cumings

HGTVLynsey and Grant Cumings.

“There’s nothing more challenging than creating beauty when Mother Nature seems to be out to get you with every move you make,” Grant said in the press release. “I was born here in Zambia, our safari lodges are here and we’re raising our family here, so everything is on the line. And it’s survival of the fittest out there.”

The couple runs Chiawa Safaris, which consists of four luxury camps and lodges.

Alongside their kids, they will “work arm-in-arm with their right-hand man and project manager, Ngoli, and resort manager, Juliet, to take on the challenges of renovating in a remote locale,” according to the series description. “Throughout the season, they’ll face an array of logistical nightmares including monsoon season, extreme supply chain issues and countless exotic wildlife encounters that threaten to halt their plans to upgrade their resort in the middle of the African bush.”

The network announced it greenlit the series in June 2022. While “Renovation Wild” may be its first Africa-based show, HGTV did briefly foray into the continent for “House Hunters International.”

“Home renovation fans have never seen a construction site quite like the one in ‘Renovation Wild,’” HGTV Executive Loren Ruch previously said in a press release. “Despite setbacks and extreme supply-chain issues, which are much more challenging in a faraway location, Grant and Lynsey are determined to beautifully transform the camp and welcome visitors to this incredible place.”

Lynsey & Grant Cumings Start Renovating in the ‘Renovation Wild’ Premiere

Lynsey and Grant begin the renovation process in the series premiere.

The family “will start renovating their most dilapidated villas first at Old Mondoro, just as the rainy season storms begin,” according to the episode description. “Together they’ll lay out the design plans to update the reed villas, refinish the en-suite bathrooms and install a one-of-a-kind al fresco washroom. Later, Grant and Lynsey will head over to their sister property, Chiawa, to make a game plan for its luxe renovation.”

Chiawa Safaris Started as a ‘Very Basic’ Camp in 1989

The Cumings family established their flagship camp, Chiawa Camp, in 1989 and welcomed their first paying guests a couple of years later, according to The site describes the camp’s early iteration as “very basic, think small tents and no ensuite facilities, guests had the privilege of enjoying this wilderness all to themselves and becoming part of history in being the first tourists to explore and enjoy this wilderness.”

Chiawa Safaris has expanded over the years, adding three more luxury camps and lodges. According to the business’ website, they are Old Mondoro, Piku Ridge and Chichele Presidential.

The family also works in conservation, co-founding Conservation Lower Zambezi in 1994, according to their website.

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