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Rivers of Fire and Ice (1968)

An account of a safari through Africa by wildlife photographer Ron Shanin.


Ronald E. Shanin


Michael Rye

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Credited cast:
Michael Rye Michael Rye ... Narrator


An account of a safari through Africa by wildlife photographer Ron Shanin.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

safari | africa | See All (2) »


5 1/2 Years in the Making Covering 25,000 Miles




G | See all certifications »






Release Date:

11 September 1969 (Mexico) See more »

Also Known As:

African Safari See more »

Filming Locations:

Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Filmed in 1962, not released until 1968. See more »

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User Reviews

Beautiful and deadly Africa
25 May 2015 | by Red-BarracudaSee all my reviews

This documentary follows zoologist and explorer Ron Shanin on a trek across Africa. His main objective seems to be collecting animals for zoos, although he embarks on other dangerous undertakings too. This would have been released way before the nature documentary genre really became popularised by the likes of the BBC, so it would have had a certain wow factor back in the day I am guessing. To be fair, even now it still retains a bit of a wow factor on occasion. Of particular note for me was the heart-in-mouth moment where Shanin is charged down by a ferocious lion absolutely intent on killing him. He just manages to kill it with literally a split second remaining. You don't see this sort of thing on film very often that's for sure.

Narrated by a slightly overly cheerful man, who is passing himself off as Shanin although unsurprisingly isn't, the documentary is often just images and voice-over with only occasional synchronised sound. Despite this slight drawback, we do still get a lot of interesting information along with some decidedly of-it's-time, non-politically correct observations such as how the female Pygmies look like men! I reckon with these old nature films you do need to take into account the historical context and accept that such unenlightened observations weren't intended with any malice though.

From a nature perspective it really is a showcase for the contradictions of Sub Saharan Africa, i.e. what a simultaneously beautiful yet harsh land it is. Both the people and wildlife that live there epitomise the term 'survival of the fittest' such is the unforgiving toughness of survival. The natives live very primitive lifestyles that have changed little over the centuries, while the variety and majesty of animal world is richer here than in any other part of the planet. There is material on predators like the big cats and eagles, scavengers like the hyenas and vultures, deadly reptiles and intelligent primates. We also get to explore the extremes of the physical world too, with an expedition to find the source of the River Nile, 16,000 feet high in the glacier covered mountains and the film ends with literally explosive material on a volcanic eruption in which a particularly rare phenomenon occurred where a volcano emerged from absolutely nowhere, exploding out of the ground. In the former expedition a British man died due to the extremes of the climate and in the latter we are shown massive boulders literally floating down a river of lava. Fascinating stuff overall.

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