Africa

Gift of the Rains: Africa’s Great Rivers

A 13-part series on Africa’s most fascinating rivers showing their unique habitats – above and below the water’s surface. Each river flows through a different part of Africa, bringing life to dry deserts, flooding great plains and supplying constant water to tropical forests and bushveld.

In this series we choose 13 dramatically different rivers, each with its own unique characteristics, from the powerful Zambezi to the dry Hoanib River – a river that flows for only a few days a year. Each river flows through a different part of Africa, bringing life to dry deserts, flooding great plains and supplying constant water to tropical forests and bushveld. Some of the wildlife surrounding each of the chosen rivers is endemic, each species part of a unique ecosystem. The rivers have a formative influence on the lives of animals and plants that live along its banks and in its waters.

Uniquely for television, we show detailed underwater sequences of creatures that live and hunt in the rivers of Africa. We follow the hunting techniques of the tiger fish, the protective instincts of mouth-brooding tilapia, the migratory instincts of barbel to reach spawning grounds, the eating habits of scavenging eels, and the hunting strategies of the fishing spider. Along the water’s edge, we show the nest-making rituals of migrant birds, the fishing methods of shoebills, herons and cormorants and the life cycles of frogs. And when the waters dry up we will show how terrapins, fish and mammals manage to survive in the harshness of their arid habitat.

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Ogooue – River of the Rains

Ordinal number: 
13

The Ogooue River flows throughout the year through the lush tropical rainforest of Gabon in West Africa. The country is an unspoiled wildlife haven where nature is almost untouched by humans.

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70

Pongola – The Generous River

Ordinal number: 
12

When in flood, the Pongola River creates a whole new wild world of quiet backwaters, hidden animals and ancient rituals.

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70

Olifants – River of Treasures

Ordinal number: 
11

At the southern tip of Africa, the Olifants River flows through and nourishes the unique Cape Floral Kingdom.

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70

Rufiji – The Perennial River

Ordinal number: 
10

The Rufiji River flows through Tanzania in East Africa, through the vast Selous Game Reserve – the largest reserve in the whole of Africa.

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70

Limpopo – River of Giants

Ordinal number: 
9

The Limpopo River in Southern Africa is a giant, not only in its size, but also in the wealth of animal life it supports.

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70

Sand – River of Riches

Ordinal number: 
8

The Sand River is shorter and smaller than many of Africa’s rivers, but it has great importance because it supports such an abundance of wildlife.

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70

Shire – River of Fertility

Ordinal number: 
7

The Shire River is one of the few African rivers that flows steadily and peacefully throughout the year. It is a breeding haven for many creatures, from hippos to water monitors to birds such as bee-eaters and whitebreasted cormorants.

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70

Victoria Nile – River of Beginnings

Ordinal number: 
6

The quest to find the source of the Nile built and shattered explorers’ dreams for centuries, until it was eventually discovered that the river’s birthplace is Lake Victoria.

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70

Mara – River of Strife

Ordinal number: 
5

For most of the year, the Mara River flows peacefully through the wide grass plains of Southern Kenya, but during the dry months it displays the ultimate life-and-death struggle: the crossing of hundreds and thousands of wildebeests.

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70
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