Africa (2013)
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Deserts, like southern Africa's Kalahari and Namib, are strange and by definition are particularly dangerous and demanding environments, requiring elaborate adaptations. Some are behavioral... See full summary »



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Episode credited cast:
Himself - Narrator
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Simon Blakeney ...
Himself - Assistant Producer
Paul Brehem ...
Himself - Scientific Advisor
Himself - Cameraman
Justine Evans ...
Herself - Camerawoman


Deserts, like southern Africa's Kalahari and Namib, are strange and by definition are particularly dangerous and demanding environments, requiring elaborate adaptations. Some are behavioral, like tricks to steal food or even lay eggs in live hosts. other are anatomical. All the more precious is the rare water, so drinking pools are crucial for carnivores and preys. Astonishingly, vast quantities are trapped in huge cave systems underground, where aquatic life is scarce due to little food and light dripping in. Written by KGF Vissers

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Release Date:

2 January 2013 (UK)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

16:9 HD
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User Reviews

In the African desert
30 December 2017 | by See all my reviews

David Attenborough is nothing short of a national treasure. He may apparently dislike the term, but it is hard to not say that about such a great presenter who has contributed significantly to some of the best programmes (of the documentary genre and overall) the BBC has ever aired/produced.

It is really hard picking favourites, let alone a definite favourite, among what Attenborough has done because he has done so many gems, it is the equivalent of trying to choose your favourite ice cream flavour or your favourite operatic role (for examples) and finding you can't pick. 'Africa' to me though is right up there, so are the likes of both 'Planet Earth' series, 'The Blue Planet', 'Life' and 'Frozen Planet'. It has everything that makes so much of his work so wonderful and deserves everything great that has been said about it.

"Kalahari" is an amazing start and a perfect example of why 'Africa' is so good. One does not regret seeing "Kalahari" and is desperate to see more by the end of it.

Once again as with all of Attenborough's work, "Kalahari" first and foremost is a wonderful looking episode. It is gorgeously filmed, done in a completely fluid and natural, sometimes intimate (a great way of connecting even more with the animals), way and never looking static. In fact much of it is remarkably cinematic. The editing is always succinct and smooth and the scenery is pure magic, the desert is like a character of its own majestically photographed. The music score fits very well, never overly grandiose while never being inappropriate.

Like with a vast majority of Attenborough's work and throughout 'Africa', "Kalahari" continually fascinates and illuminates, in terms of the facts there was a very good mix of the known ones and the unknown. Because there was such a large breadth and variety of habitats, wildlife, how they adapted to their environment and what was covered, it was so easy to learn so much more about the animals and the desert, going beyond what we knew about Africa before.

Attenborough's narration helps quite significantly too, he clearly knows his stuff and knows what to say and how to say it. He delivers it with his usual richness, soft-spoken enthusiasm and sincerity, never talking down to the viewer and keeping them riveted and wanting to know more. The closing scenes have honesty and humanity.

The animals are big in personality and wide in range, they are a mix of cute and predatory, which helps give any conflict genuine tension, any fun moments their fun and the emotional moments pathos. How they adapt to their surroundings, why they behave the way they do, how nature works and how what the wildlife does affects the environment were all touched upon and made their points subtly, not hammering it home too much (a potential danger with documentaries). It completely succeeds, and brilliantly, at both educating and entertaining.

Hard to think of a favourite scene, but the top two contenders are the stuff of nightmares that are the crickets and the two giraffes attack, one is in awe of how they managed to be filmed. The baby ostriches, the female rhino and the meerkats being outwitted by a bird were delightful, inducing amusement and cuteness.

Concluding, amazing start. 10/10 Bethany Cox

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