Follow in Richard Attenborough’s footsteps to see the animal families that captivated the small screen
Nature lovers have been glued to their screens watching the latest showstopping series from wildlife expert Richard Attenborough. The follow up to Planet Earth and the Blue Planet, focused on the lives of five families: lions, chimpanzees, hunting dogs, emperor penguins and tigers. The series, which took four years to film, looks at the challenges that each species faces, such as cities encroaching on their homeland and climate change. By the end of the series you’ll feel like you know each family personally. If you got palpitations when the iguana tried to run away from the snakes in Planet II, you’re going to be permanently on the edge of your seat with Dynasties.

Location: Senegal, West Africa

Attenborough’s team filmed this group of chimps in Kedougon, where the forest and Saharan desert meet. It gets so hot and dry here, these animals are really pushed to their limits. However, survive they have and researchers from the Fongoli Research Project who have been studying this group of animals for over 10 years, noted that these smart-thinking chimps have learnt how to create spears to hunt, without human assistance. Clever hey? GO: While the project isn’t open to the public, you can get your chimp fix at the new One&Only Nyungwe House in Rwanda where they organise chimp tracking sessions.


Location: Masai Mara, Kenya

Lights, camera, growls… The stars of the BBC’s Big Cats series take to the screens once again in Dynasties. The pride has been abandoned by all the male lions and is led by the lioness Charm. The episode is beautiful, yet harrowing, as this group fights for survival. GO: As the episode told us, there are now only 2,000 lions in Kenya and the population falls by 100 animals a year. If you want to see one of these prides for yourself, book into the Cottar’s 1920s Safari Camp that overlooks the Masai Mara. Elephants will wander up to the watering hole in front of the camp to feed, and you can spot buffaloes, rhinos, lions and cheetahs when you go on your game drive.


Location: Mana Pools, Zimbabwe

This episode told the story of an ageing matriarch whose authority was being challenged by another pack led by her daughter. For a long time painted wolves were seen as vermin and they were heavily persecuted. The result is that the population is now one per cent of its former size. GO: While David Attenborough’s team is no longer in Mana Pools, National Geographic giants Dereck and Beverly Joubert are about to open a camp in the area in 2019. Another charming hideaway is Ruckomechi Camp, which features a unique sleep-out deck so that you don’t miss any of the action.


Location: Atka Bay, Antarctica

This is the episode where the cameramen put down their tools and helped save a group of baby penguins after a storm. The intervention came when the team saw that the group of penguins they had been filming were stuck with their chicks in a gully and facing death. The cameramen decided to build a slope that would help them climb out to safety. This is only the second time that Attenborough’s camera crew has broken their cardinal rule of never interfering with nature - they confessed that they help rescue some stranded baby turtles in Planet Earth Planet II. GO: If you want to follow in their footsteps, set sail on the National Geographic Explorer, which comes with eight wildlife experts on board as well as a National Geographic photographer. When in Antarctica, you can hop on board a Zodiac inflatable boat and get a closer look at the icebergs, seals and penguin colonies. The National Geographic photographer can give you tips on board to make sure that you capture your own perfect penguin images.


Location: Vindhya Hills, Central India

This episode highlighted the fact that there were 100,000 tigers in the wild 100 years ago, now there are only 4,000 left. They follow the story of a tigress and her four cubs at the Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh where 80 tigers roam. GO: If you want to see these majestic creatures in the wild, visit Flame of the Forest at Kanha National Park in Madhya Pradesh. This luxe lodge offers Jeep safaris and nature walks and encourages you to gather around the campfire at the end of the day to swap your tiger spotting stories. It also has a team of naturalists who can make sure that you are able to enjoy the best photo opportunities when on safari.

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