We love an animal documentary at Origins Safaris (who doesn’t?). Here are 12 of our favourite wildlife and nature documentaries that showcase both the majesty of wild animals and the challenges faced by the natural world.
Inspiring, thought-provoking, entertaining, change-making – nature documentaries have been regular fixtures on our television screens since the late 20th Century, educating viewers on the lives of wild animals and increasingly highlighting the impact that we as humans are having on nature’s fragile ecosystems.
Here are 12 must-see animal documentaries to watch right now:
- Seven Worlds, One Planet
National treasure and prolific documentary-maker Sir David Attenborough is back with his latest BBC series Seven Worlds, One Planet. The new series explores the incredible biodiversity of the seven continents. The relevance of this documentary will no doubt mirror increasingly concerning reports on shrinking biodiversity and the mass extinction of wildlife. From the makers of “Planet Earth,” and narrated by Emmy and BAFTA winner Sir David Attenborough, Our Planet showcases our planet’s natural beauty and examine how climate change impacts all living creatures.
- Our Planet, Netflix
From the makers of “Planet Earth,” and narrated by Emmy and BAFTA winner Sir David Attenborough, Our Planet showcases our planet’s natural beauty and examine how climate change impacts all living creatures.
- Blue Planet II, BBC
Sir David Attenborough’s Blue Planet II series explores the fascinating underwater world of the least known part of our planet – the ocean. Blue Planet II is the follow up to the multi-award winning 2001 nature series, The Blue Planet. Almost five years in the making, the series uses revolutionary new technology to take viewers to never before seen parts of the ocean, bringing to life some of the most spectacular natural events and showcasing the surprising intelligence and complexities of sea creatures, as well as documenting the problems that oceans face.
- Planet Earth II, BBC
In this sequel to the Emmy-winning Planet Earth series, Sir David Attenborough takes viewers to some of the most iconic habitats on earth – including deserts, jungles, mountains and cities. The series explores the natural diversity and spellbinding wildlife of each habitat from the viewpoint of the animals, highlighting the challenges they face to survive.
- The Ivory Game
Filmed undercover for 16 months, this documentary exposes the corruption of global ivory trafficking and the impact it is having on the African elephant population. A prized status-symbol in China pushes poachers to slaughter African elephants in dangerous numbers, reducing the population by 97% in the last century.
Heart-wrenching Blackfish challenges viewers to reconsider their relationship with nature through the story of Tilikum – a performing killer whale that killed several humans while kept in captivity. Containing shocking footage and emotional interviews, the film explores the extraordinary nature, high intelligence and enormous sentience of these magnificent creatures, exposing their cruel treatment in captivity by the multi-billion dollar sea-park industry.
Multi-award-winning Virunga exposes the gripping true-life story of a group of courageous park rangers risking their lives to protect one of the most bio-diverse places on earth – eastern Congo’s Virunga National Park, home to the planet’s last remaining mountain gorillas – from the threat of armed militia and poachers. From director Orlando von Einsiedel and executive producer Leonardo DiCaprio.
- Racing Extinction
Follow undercover activists on a mission to save endangered species from man-made mass extinction across the world. This documentary exposes hidden issues and never-before-seen images exposing the threat to life as we know it.
- Frozen Planet
Capturing the remote polar regions, Frozen Plant documents the ecosystems of the Arctic and Antarctic. The effect of climate change on the lives of polar bears, wolves, penguins, killer whales and more species is tracked thoroughly chronicled by Sir David Attenborough.
Sir David Attenborough’s latest series follows the true stories of five of the world’s most celebrated, yet endangered animals; penguins, chimpanzees, lions, painted wolves and tigers, as they fight for the future of their family dynasties.
- The Elephant Queen
Embark on an epic journey of love, courage and coming home. Join Athena, the majestic matriarch of an elephant herd, as she is forced to lead her family across the unforgiving African savanna in search of water. This family-friendly adventure is a cinematic love letter to a threatened species. Narrated by Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave, The Lion King), The Elephant Queen won the Cinema for Peace International Green Film Award of the Year. The film was previously an official selection at The 2018 Toronto International Film Festival and The 2018 BFI London Film Festival, as well as invited as a special selection to the 2019 Sundance Film Festival.
- The Year of the Wildebeest
If you thought the BBC was innovative, sending in a Mars Rover-like camera to record the day-to-day behavior of African lions, you must check out this film. Back in the 70s, Alan and Joan Root stuck a film camera into a tortoise shell and recorded stunning visuals of the annual East African wildebeest migration as thousands of gnus stormed over the lens. Magical memories of watching this film in Nairobi in my childhood and later seeing the migration in the distance in the flesh. The film techniques on display here are revealed in another film “Two in the Bush” – a documentary on the Roots. I’m not sure why their catalogue of work is so hard to find but they are well worth the effort.
About Origins Safaris
At Origins Safaris we are passionate about wildlife, cultural heritage, adventure and exploration. We customize each and every safari to your personal requirements and expectations, ensuring an exclusive, unique and authentic experience every time.
Origins Safaris is a family business, founded in 1963 by Don and Margaret Turner. It is managed today by two subsequent generations of the family, and predominantly by Don’s son, Steve. We are so much more than just a travel broker – our years of experience, professionalism and reliability means that we go the all-important extra mile, to make sure your dream safari is safe, memorable, educational and most of all great fun. We are renowned for our meticulous safari planning from start to finish, and the highest standards of natural history interpretation.
Contact us on https://www.originsafaris.com for more information and pertinent itinerary advice.
Origins Safaris – Authentic African Experiences Since 1963.