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Friday, January 21, 2011

World tour guides to Wild Africa

Wild Africa is a nature tourist locations in the natural history of the African continent. It contains nice places to visit. Each concentrates on a particular environment. The continent Danakil Depression in Ethiopia is to the highest, the summit of Kilimanjaro. Successes included rare footage of huge feeding groups of manta rays, and Walia ibex locking horns in the Simien Mountains.

Mountains: The first look at Africa’s mountain ranges. First to be featured are the Ethiopian Highlands, the remains of a huge volcanic intrusion. Geladas survive in large groups on the cold grassy highlands and use facial expressions to resolve tensions without confrontation. Walia ibex clash horns on precipitous slopes, and Ethiopian wolves stalk grass rats and giant mole rats. A pair of adult lammergeiers locks talons and tumbles through the air. Juvenile birds are shown practising the art of dropping bones from great heights onto rocks. In North Africa, Barbary macaques are filmed foraging in a snow-covered cedar forest in the Atlas Mountains. The Cape Highlands are Africa’s oldest mountains.

Deserts: The Second programmed features are Africa’s deserts, whose swathes of sand and rock cover half the continent. The desert insects and spiders have evolved to survive. With no more than 5cm of rain each year, this is Africa’s driest desert. On warm nights, sea fog forms over the Cold Ocean and blows across the dunes, bringing vital, life-sustaining moisture; elephants use knowledge passed down through generations to find sustenance. The blossoming of flowering plants in the spring is shown using time-lapse. The rains also trigger the emergence of locusts, which swarm together and destroy all fresh growth in their path. The Sahara is much newer than Africa’s southern deserts, the product of a rapidly drying climate coupled with overgrazing. Ancient rock art in Chad’s Ennedi Plateau shows a vanished world – giraffe, elephant, rhino and other savannah creatures. Now, the last remaining Nile crocodiles share their dwindling pools with the passing camel trains.

Jungles: The penultimate looks at the continent’s rain forests, which cover equatorial Africa from Uganda to Sierra Leone, the forests are near their maximum coverage. In the wet season, killifish hatch, grow and breed in a puddle in an elephant’s footprint and can move across land to find new water sources. Fruiting trees attract birds such as black-casqued hornbills, great blue turacos and African grey parrots. Elephants are filmed breaking open fallen omphalocarpum fruits using their trunks, behaviour only recently discovered by scientists. Chimpanzees are filmed using sticks to extract termites and safari ants from hollow logs. The Central African Republic visited by 2,800 elephants, shy bongos and Western lowland gorillas.

Lakes and Rivers: The final looks at how water influences life on the continent. Rain falling on the mountains of equatorial Africa eventually flows into Nile, Congo, Niger and other great rivers. The Luangwa, a tributary of the Zambezi, draws animals from the surrounding arid lands. The waters hold dangers too; a Nile crocodile attacks a buffalo. When river levels fall, hippos are forced together and sometime fatal territorial fights ensue. Crocodiles are filmed tearing flesh from a hippo carcass. Carmine bee-eaters excavate nest chambers in exposed river banks, but African fish eagles and monitor lizards prey on the birds and their eggs. The lakes of East Africa hold most of the continent’s fresh water.

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