- Technical Specs
- Format: DVD
- Rating: Not Rated
- Number of Discs: 2
- Run Time: 360 Minutes
- Region: 1
- Aspect Ratio: Widescreen
- Studio: BBC Warner
- DVD Release Date: February 26, 2013
- Subtitles: Spanish, French, English SDH
- Color: Color
In Africa’s ancient southwest 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 scrub lands, 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 – 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, famine to feast, cold to hot – no matter how hostile and unpredictable it becomes. From dense forests, to snow capped peaks, steamy swamps to endless savannah, this unique and varied land is also a haven for life – it supports a higher density of large mammals than anywhere else on Earth. But away from the forever-travelling herds, there is 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 elephants who battle for three days for the right to father the next generation. East Africa can be a cruel and unforgiving place, and when the stakes are high you must be prepared to take risks and gamble with your life.
The Congo rainforest covers the very heart of Africa, it is a dynamic and pulsating habitat, packed with life. From the competitive center of the forest to the open edge of the Atlantic Ocean, this is all about carving out space in a crowded world. Chimpanzees steal honey from hard-working sweat bees by engineering a large stick to smash open the nest. The elusive Picathartes symbolizes everything that is secret and ancient about the rainforest – their bald heads are like molded marzipan and their nest of chicks look like bizarre, scraggy dinosaurs. When darkness falls, the atmosphere changes. Using specialist technology we discover a luminescent landscape as the forest glows in the dark. Tiny frogs battle it out using kung-fu moves then hide their precious eggs in folded blades of grass. Great herds of elephants gather at a mystery meeting place to socialize under cover of darkness, and the three-ton titan bulls cause the ground to shake as they meet in furious combat, terrifying the other animals and hurling trees to the ground with their passion. 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 color. But if it was not for two great ocean currents that sweep around and shape the continent’s Great Cape it would be a desert. This film celebrates the rejuvenating powers of the ocean. To the east, the warm Agulhas current flows south, generating clouds that roll inland creating the wettest place in southern Africa. Home to a magical fairy-tale butterfly ballet, the area is known as the “Google” rainforest as it was only discovered using satellite images in 2005. In the sea, the warm current sustains shoals of giant kingfish and creates some of the most beautiful seascapes ever seen – the Bazaruto Archipelago. To the west is the cold Benguela current. It is home to more great white sharks than any other sea on Earth. Although the current provides little rain, it delivers instead moisture-laden fog to the land, and supports an incredible desert garden, where monkey beetles sleep in a bed of petals. But perhaps most impressive is 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 Brydes Whale.
North Africa is home to the greatest desert on Earth, the Sahara. This vast wilderness, the size of the United States, is the toughest part of the African continent – the sun rules mercilessly here. In this haunting wilderness, dunes “sing,” sandstorms stretch for a thousand miles, and rain may not fall for 50 years. But it wasn’t always like this. 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. On the fringes of the Great Desert, Grevy’s zebras battle over dwindling rivers, and weird naked mole rats avoid the heat by living a bizarre underground existence. Within the desert, camels seek out water with the help of their herders, while tiny barn swallows must go it alone and navigate across thousands of square miles of barren sand to find a solitary life-saving oasis. In the heart of the Sahara very little life can survive the sun’s onslaught. Just one animal takes on the midday sun, and it needs a “spacesuit” to do it. The silver ant waits until all other creatures have fled the scorching dunes before finally emerging to feed in peace.
Africa: The Future
Over 80 years of wildlife filmmaking, Discovery and the BBC have chronicled the greatest changes in a continent that the world has ever seen. With more than a billion people, Africa might now be at its tipping point, but it is also the one continent that has not lost its biggest animals – despite the fact that mankind has lived here longer than anywhere else on the planet! So, in a quest to save Africa's most iconic species, what lessons learned from the rest of the world can we bring back to our ancestral homeland?