Great Rift: Africa’s Wild Heart

7:30pm Sunday, July 15 on Prime

Documentary Series

Grass

Journey through this amazing geographical feature and see how the forces of nature have shaped the landscape, creating a hotbed of evolution and the cradle of mankind. Visible from space, the Great Rift runs for thousands of miles. It creates, connects and defines the wildest, most charismatic landscape in the world. The dramatic split of Africa’s Rift Valley led to the formation of a habitat never before seen in Africa: open grassland savannah.

As the tropical forests retreated and the savannahs encroached in their place, a raging battle commenced between the woods and the grasses. Shaped by fire, rain and the greatest concentration of wildlife on Earth, these savannahs are the most volatile landscapes in the Rift Valley. In the rain shadow of the Rift’s great volcanoes, the dry conditions and unique ash soils have stunted the growth of trees, but have created the perfect conditions for grasslands to flourish – home to Africa’s largest and most charismatic animals and the setting for its greatest wildlife spectacles. This patchwork landscape of open spaces has created a unique challenge for primates, such as baboons, who have adapted their behaviour to savannah life by living in large social groups and forming strong emotional bonds. At night, the carnivores take over the savannah, and for the very first time new technology allows us to see a mother lioness teaching her cubs to kill, behaviour that has never been seen or filmed before.

7:30pm Sunday, July 8 on Prime

Documentary Series

Water

Journey through this amazing geographical feature and see how the forces of nature have shaped the landscape, creating a hotbed of evolution and the cradle of mankind. Visible from space, the Great Rift runs for thousands of miles. It creates, connects and defines the wildest, most charismatic landscape in the world. In the second of three episodes the focus is on the colourful wildlife of East Africa’s lakes and rivers. The Great Rift Valley channels a huge diversity of waterways – rivers, lakes, waterfalls, caustic springs and coral seas – spanning from Egypt to Mozambique. Some lake and ocean deeps harbour previously unseen life-forms, while caustic waters challenge life to the extreme. But where volcanic minerals enrich the Great Rift’s waterways, they provide the most spectacular concentrations of birds, mammals and fish in all Africa.