Sir David Attenborough introduces the Africa series, which takes viewers to unseen places and reveals new sides to the continent we thought we knew.
David Attenborough takes a breathtaking journey through the vast and diverse continent of Africa as it has never been seen before.
In Africa’s ancient south west corner, two extraordinary deserts sit side by side. Water is in short supply, yet these deserts are somehow full of life because the creatures that live here have turned the rules of survival on their head. This film celebrates nature’s ingenuity, no matter how tough it gets.
In the Kalahari scrublands, clever meerkats are outsmarted by a wily bird, solitary and belligerent black rhinos get together to party and giant insects stalk huge flocks of birds. Rain almost never falls in the Namib – instead it must make do with vaporous, vanishing fog. The creatures in this, the world’s oldest desert, have gone to the extremes, as spiders wheel to escape and a desert giraffe fights to defend his scant resources in the greatest giraffe battle ever filmed.
East Africa is a land which is constantly changing. To survive here, creatures must be able to deal with unpredictable twists and turns – wet turning to dry, feast to famine, cold to hot – no matter how hostile it becomes.
From dense forests to snow capped peaks, steamy swamps and endless savannah, this unique and varied land is also a haven for life, supporting large animals in numbers found nowhere else on Earth. But away from the familiar, forever-travelling herds, there are a huge cast of other characters – lizards that steal flies from the faces of lions, vast dinosaur-like birds who stalk catfish through huge wetlands, and an eagle who risks everything on the arrival of ten million bats from a far off rainforest.
The very heart of Africa is covered in dense tropical rainforest. The animals that live here find the most ingenious ways to carve out their space in a claustrophobic landscape. Danger lurks in every shadow, but some animals thrive here, from honey-stealing chimps to birds with a lineage as old as the dinosaurs, thundering elephants and kick-boxing frogs. Here in the Congo, no matter how tough the competition, you must stand up and fight for yourself and your patch.
Southern Africa is a riot of life and colour because of two great ocean currents that sweep around the continent’s cape.
To the east, the warm Agulhas current generates clouds that roll inland to the wettest place in southern Africa. To the west is the cold Benguela current, home to more great white sharks than anywhere else. Moisture laden fog rolls inland, supporting an incredible desert garden.
Where the two currents meet, the clash of warm and cold water creates one of the world’s most fabulous natural spectacles – South Africa’s sardine run. This is the greatest gathering of predators on the planet, including Africa’s largest, the Bryde’s whale.
Northern Africa is home to the greatest desert on Earth, the Sahara. On the fringes, huge zebras battle over dwindling resources and naked mole rats avoid the heat by living a bizarre underground existence. Within the desert, where the sand dunes ‘sing’, camels seek out water with the help of their herders and tiny swallows navigate across thousands of square miles to find a solitary oasis. This is a story of an apocalypse and how, when nature is overrun, some are forced to flee, some endure, but a few seize the opportunity to establish a new order.
David Attenborough comes face-to-face with a baby rhino and asks what the future holds for this little one. He meets the local people who are standing side-by-side with the wildlife at this pivotal moment in their history. We discover what it takes to save a species, hold back a desert and even resurrect an entire wilderness – revealing what the world was like before modern man.
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