I’ve been really impressed with the new “Africa” series that has been showing in South Africa over the past few weeks. It’s from the folks famous for the “Planet Earth“, “Blue Planet”, “Frozen Planet“, and “Human Planet“, among others. It has already made the rounds in Britain and the US and is out on Blu-ray. I can’t wait to watch it in high def. Here’s a blurb I wrote about the series that was published on the Africa Geographic blog earlier this month:
It’s Africa like you’ve never seen it. Sir David Attenborough’s latest ground-breaking documentary series, “Africa” will amaze even lifelong residents of the continent. The mini-series is in its second week of airing here in South Africa on BBC Knowledge (catch it Sunday’s at 18:00, and keep an eye out for reruns).
Sweeping landscape footage from the series is incredible. Episode 2 features stunning aerial shots of the Rwenzori Mountain peaks on the border of Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo.
The first two episodes left me mesmerized despite my crummy, decidedly non-high-definition TV. I can only imagine how breathtaking it will be to see the series on a screen that can showcase its high definition camera-work. In fact, the filming technology used in the series goes above and beyond standard HD. A newly developed “HD starlight camera” captures animal action in extremely low light, and special remotely operated HD cameras allow unprecedented access to the animal world. Macro filming of tiny creatures and extreme slow motion shots of high-speed action make for fresh perspectives on the commonplace.
“Africa” comprises six episodes: Kalahari, Savannah, Congo, Cape, Sahara, and Africa: The Future. Episode 1, Kalahari, whisks viewers to unimaginable landscapes, including the Dragon’s Breath Cave deep under the desert. The cave holds a huge subterranean lake yet to be fully explored. It also shows animal interactions in incredible detail—wasp versus spider, queleas and crickets by the thousands, the nighttime antics of black rhino, and an astonishing battle for supremacy among giraffe bulls.
Episode 1 explores the Kalahari Desert environment and follows giraffes on their quest for water, culminating in an epic battle between two males.
Episode 2, Savannah, jumps around to several incredible places—Mt. Nyiragongo, the Rwenzori Mountains, the Bangweulu Wetlands, Amboseli, and many others. Once again, the magic is in the incredible footage of rarely seen animal behavior. This episode shows a cheeky lizard hunting for a meal of flies on a lion’s face, an elephant herd’s heart-wrenching struggle during an Amboseli drought, a 10-million-strong fruit bat migration, and the devious behavior of shoebill chicks in what’s billed as the first ever footage of a wild shoebill nest.
Don’t miss the next four episodes! Then, cue debilitating wanderlust…
From glaciers to deserts to volcanoes, there is a great diversity of landscapes shown in the series. Here is the molten lave lake in the crater of Mt. Nyiragongo, DRC.
In episode 2, check out what is reportedly the first footage of prehistoric-looking shoebills in their nest. Shoebills live deep in the swamps of Bangweulu.
Episode 2 features excellent footage of the endemic black lechwe in the Bangweulu Wetlands in Zambia.