Review: Africa 2013: Countdown to the Rains Episode 1

Presenters Simon King and Kate Humble Image: Spencer Scott Travel

Rating: Four star

I love Africa so I have been anticipating the start of this three-part series, and it certainly exceeded my expectations. The premise is that over three episodes, we see all the action in and around the Luangwa River in Zambia. Herbivores are struggling to find enough food and water to survive and consequently carnivores are thriving, preying on those that are weakened. Technology advances mean that they are using 70 odd cameras to cover the action, including camera traps, and remote control cameras which can be moved up, down, left and right. 

Kate Humble points out at one point an elephant which has lost the bottom half of its trunk. It’s interesting to see how it has adapted to its disability, and I just hope it survives. I wish these wildlife programmes wouldn’t make you so attached to the animals they follow, but then I guess that’s part of their magic. Until watching the programme last night I hadn’t really thought about hippos actually getting stuck pools as they dry up. It will be interesting to see how they cope as the water keeps drying up. Particular highlights of last night had to be the lion cubs, because they are so cute, and finding the leopard and her cub. I know just how tricky it is to find a leopard, and it must have taken some luck to find them. Lovely to see them doing so well, and Simon King bothering to explaining their behaviour. There’s nothing better than an educational nature programme.

However, I did feel insulted when the voiceover person introduced the programme warning of ‘lion and buffalo kill’ scenes. For one, it’s nature and it shouldn’t really shock us that an animal has to kill to survive. Secondly, all you see is a few lions with bloodied faces and a buffalo lying dead on its side. Not really anything traumatising at all.

Unfortunately I can’t comment on the red button extras, as I turned over for Dowton Abbey, which is a real shame, but with Simon King and Kate Humble at the helm I am sure it was good. Needless to say I am excited for the next dose of action on Sunday at 8pm. 

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