Nat Geo’s New Doc ‘Into the Okavango’ Ventures Into the African Wetlands
“You don’t want to startle the hippos,” advises National Geographic fellow Dr. Steve Boyes as he gives a lesson on how to steer a mokoro, a traditional canoe, down a shallow tributary in Botswana.
These dugouts are the main transportation mode of Into the Okavango, a gorgeous and gripping documentary about his scientific expedition through Africa’s wildlife-rich Okavango Delta.
TV Guide Magazine took to the river with Boyes for an up-close look at the southern section of this unique landscape. Home to elephants, cheetahs, wild dogs, crocodiles and hundreds of bird species, it’s also the bedrock of a natural system providing water to 1 million people.
“Our journey started out as an exploration, but we realized we had to protect this area,” says Boyes, whose team made 32,000 wildlife sightings on their four-month, 1,500-mile trek through Angola, Namibia and Botswana. Along the way, cameras capture the joyous discovery in Angola of elephants — thought to have disappeared after the country’s brutal civil war — as well as a near-fatal animal encounter for Boyes.
The scientist hopes the three nations will declare the 125,000-square-mile area a park called Lisima, meaning “source.” “It’s an important place to protect,” he says. “It’s a lifeline.”
Into the Okavango, Documentary Premiere, Thursday, Dec. 13, 9/8c, Nat Geo Wild