11 inspiring documentaries about Africa’s people and wildlife

Last time, we explored free courses for delving into nature conservation. This time, let’s shift our focus to documentaries. Documentaries about Africa to be precise. If you’re in search of captivating viewing, few things rival the excitement of the finest African wildlife documentaries. This is particularly appealing, especially when travel to Africa isn’t currently an option. So, prepare a generous bowl of popcorn, settle in, and indulge in a binge-watching session of these remarkable documentaries!

1. Virunga

The documentary “Virunga” sheds light on the heroic conservation efforts of park rangers in Africa’s Virunga National Park, set within the Congo. This compelling film, a Netflix original, chronicles the rangers’ tireless dedication during a period of escalating violence from rebel groups and the activities of an oil company. It vividly illustrates the daily risks and perils faced by these brave rangers as they strive to safeguard the last remaining gorillas on our planet.

2. Eye of the leopard

“Eye of the Leopard” is a captivating documentary that unfolds in the breathtaking Mombo region of Botswana’s Okavango Delta. It offers an intimate look into the life of Legadema, a remarkable female leopard, as she journeys from cubhood to adulthood. Spanning three years, this documentary weaves together Legadema’s story through a series of poignant flashbacks. These flashbacks provide glimpses into pivotal moments from her childhood. Including harrowing near-death encounters and insightful observations of her mother’s exceptional hunting prowess. It’s a mesmerizing exploration of the leopard’s world.

3. The Last Lion

The documentary film centres around the extraordinary journey of Ma di Tau, a lioness whose name translates to “mother of lions.” In a gripping tale of maternal devotion, she valiantly defends her cubs against a relentless wave of threats, all in the pursuit of securing their survival. At its heart, the film carries a powerful message about the dwindling population of large feline species worldwide. It raises poignant questions about whether Ma di Tau and her cubs may represent some of the last remaining lions. Underscoring the urgent need for conservation efforts to protect these majestic creatures.

4. Reflections on Elephants

“Reflections on Elephants” takes viewers on a captivating journey through the northern reaches of Botswana. Where the extraordinary behaviour of elephants unfolds before our eyes. This documentary provides a unique glimpse into the world of these magnificent creatures. Showcasing their remarkable ability to adapt and support one another. From the heartwarming tale of an abandoned infant finding refuge to the awe-inspiring rescue efforts to save a calf from drowning. And the poignant moments of elephants mourning the loss of a companion, this film unveils the intricate and emotional lives of these gentle giants.

5. Vanishing Kings – Lions of the Namib

In the arid landscapes of Namibia, the future of desert lions hangs in the balance, and an old lioness and her two daughters hold the key to their survival. Two years ago, these resilient lionesses brought five male cubs into the world. Wow the momentous time has arrived for the ‘Five Musketeers’ to embark on their independent journey. As they venture into the unforgiving desert, their ability to navigate these harsh landscapes and overcome formidable challenges will determine the fate of the dwindling desert lion population of Namibia. Hope rests upon their shoulders as they carry the legacy forward.

6. Relentless Enemies

In the unforgiving wilderness of Botswana, a relentless battle for survival unfolds between two formidable foes: the lions and the buffalos. With their habitats shrinking, these natural adversaries have adapted to ever-evolving attack strategies, cunning defensive tactics, and even physical changes. The lions have evolved beyond their traditional hunting methods. Fearlessly navigating deep waters, hunting in broad daylight, and devising specialized strategies to outwit the powerful buffalo. This relentless struggle has given rise to a community of colossal felines, larger and mightier than their counterparts, armed with extraordinary team-hunting prowess. Their epic clashes in the wild paint a vivid portrait of nature’s ceaseless determination to endure.

7. Solo – A Wild Dog’s Tale

Deep within Botswana’s enchanting Okavango Delta, an extraordinary tale unfolds as a lone African wild dog named Solo embarks on a remarkable journey. Against all odds, Solo forges an unlikely alliance with hyenas and jackals, creating a new pack unlike any other. In the heart of the untamed wilderness, they become not just hunting partners but a tightly-knit family. Solo’s story exemplifies the resilience of nature and the unbreakable bonds that can form amidst the most unlikely of companions.

8. The ivory game

This documentary delves deep into the harrowing world of elephant poaching in Africa. Drawing a chilling connection to the ivory trade in China and Hong Kong. Over 16 months, undercover investigators risk it all to expose the ruthless killing of elephants for their precious tusks and the illicit ivory smuggling operations that funnel this contraband to China. Where it holds a dark allure as a symbol of status. Amidst the shadows of illegality, a thriving black market thrives, marred by corruption and clandestine dealings that cast a grim shadow over the future of these magnificent creatures.

9. Eye of the pangolin

In this compelling documentary, two dedicated individuals embark on a remarkable quest to capture all four species of African pangolins on camera. For the very first time. Their journey takes them across the continent as they seek to understand the tireless efforts of those working to protect and study these enigmatic creatures. Along the way, they become deeply entranced by the world of pangolins, whose secretive nature belies their vulnerability to poaching and extinction. The documentary chronicles the urgent race to safeguard these unique beings from the brink of annihilation.

10. Africa

Embark on an immersive journey across the African continent as this documentary series transports you through five diverse regions. From the rugged beauty of the Kalahari to the expansive savannah, the lush Congo, the captivating Cape, and the formidable Sahara. This series offers a seamless exploration of Africa’s breathtaking landscapes and its captivating wildlife. Each episode promises intimate encounters with the mesmerizing creatures that call this vast continent home. And with another episode on the horizon, the adventure continues. Promising even more insights into the future of Africa’s natural wonders. Tune in to BBC Earth to experience this extraordinary series.

11. Brothers in Blood: The Lions of the Sabi Sand 

Delve into the gripping saga of Africa’s most infamous pride, a formidable group of six male lions, in “The Lions of Sabi Sand: Brothers in Blood.” This documentary unravels their extraordinary journey, characterized by shocking violence, cunning deception, and an insatiable thirst for power. Beyond the savagery, it uncovers a surprisingly intricate dimension to the politics governing lion behaviour. Prepare to be captivated by this compelling narrative of survival and dominance in the wilds of Sabi Sand.

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