Review: Africa 2013: Countdown to the Rains Episode 2

Presenters Simon King and Kate Humble
Image: Spencer Scott Travel

Rating: Four star

This was the second episode in a three-part series about the Luangwa Valley before the rains arrive, and it was packed with rare sightings and information about the species seen.

Sadly we learn that the baby elephant that was seen last week, died a few days later. They suspect the mother simply didn’t have enough milk to give the baby, given that food is low in the dry season. The sight of the mother sniffing the air around the calf, and waiting to see if it was going to get up was touching.

We learn that a big lion pride is moving closer to the river for food and drink, getting closer to the smaller resident pride we were introduced to last week. This could spell trouble for the smaller pride, as if they encounter the larger pride, their cubs may be killed.

They really seem to be getting lucky this series, as one of the filming crew came across some African wild dogs. These are one of the most majestic animals in Africa in my opinion. They are also called painted dogs, and are listed as endangered with an estimated population of between 3000 and 5000 individuals. The group they come across had quite a few pups, and it was lovely to see them doing so well.

The other focus of the programme was on crocodiles which were amassing in the river due to the high volume of prey and dead hippo carcasses. It was interesting to see hippos trying to defend the dead carcass of one of their number. They had an expert on who explained that crocodiles sit on guard above their eggs once they had laid them. I had no idea they would do something like that.

Towards the end of the episode the rains have arrived in part of the area they are filming in, but are yet to reach the main river. Kate Humble is speaking and you can hear a thunder storm in the background. Unfortunately, I turned over for Downton Abbey again so missed the red button extras. However, next week I should be able to watch them.  

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