Most helpful positive review
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 8 July 2013
I've just finished watching "Africa" on Blu-Ray and in the main must agree with the majority of other reviewers. Each episode is a marvel of natural history film making and the series warrants an unequivocal five stars, however, the episode entitled "Cape" lets the entire series down very badly. The episode is shoddily put together and misleading.
The Cape has its own unique floristic and faunal composition caused by climatic conditions. This was only touched on by the programme. A quarter of the episode was devoted to the reproduction of turtles, which although interesting had nothing to do with the Cape. The episode continued with some film of storks, spoonbills and pelicans fishing. The relevancy of this to the "Cape" was never explained. The Drakensburg Mountains were then considered. Again, interesting but relevant to the Karoo, not to the Cape.
Additionally the episode was littered with glaring errors of which two examples will be sufficient. It was stated that the sardines met an impenetrable barrier when they met the warm Agulhas Current. This is utter hogwash. The arrival of the sardines off the coast of KwaZuluNatal, more than 1 500 kms east of this "barrier" is a well reported event and a highlight for fishermen, dolphin watchers and nature lovers in general. Indeed their arrival was extensively filmed as part of an earlier Attenborough documentary.
Secondly, the assertion that "rainwater flows from Mozambique, south to the Eastern Cape" left me speechless. Where are these westerly flowing rivers? Did anyone look at a map? In the interest of brevity, I'll not go into other errors, suffice to say that the episode gave the impression that the series makers had a lot of excess film which they didn't know what to do with. These were then lumped together under the tenuous title "Cape".
The Cape is in fact an exceptional area of biological diversity. Nearly 4% of the Earth's plant species live in the Cape and the vast majority of these species are unique to the area. I would have thought that such an ecosystem would have been better served from an eponymous episode in an otherwise excellent series.