Serengeti: The Adventure

2013, Nature  -  45 min Leave a Comment
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Endless plains - that's what Serengeti means in the Maasai language. 30,000 square kilometers of African Savannah shared between Tanzania and Kenya. Wildlife filmmaker Reinhard Radke spent two years in this wilderness in the hunt for spectacular images. It's the first German cinema film about the Serengeti after half a century. The most recent technology's been used. Footage with up to 2,000 frames per second opens up new worlds. Shooting a film in the Serengeti is a difficult task full of surprises and adventures.

The day starts early in the Savannah. You need to use the first light as many animals only hunt in the cool morning hours. Reinhard Radke is a biologist and he's been coming regularly to the Serengeti for 30 years. First he came on field trips, then for television and now a film. To get better footage a 4x4 has been converted into a camera platform. The roof's been strengthened and as a filming balcony every camera angle should be feasible. With such a large number of wildebeest the predators can't be far away... the difficulty is finding them.

Reinhard got footage of an extraordinary hunt and now it's time to think about his own food supply. Despite the vehicle's idiosyncrasies it proves to be a jack of all trades. There's a compartment for everything. The car has been equipped with everything that may be required for an impromptu overnight stay in the wilderness... in case it's too far to drive back to the base-camp.

The filmmaker's not alone; he's assisted by a lookout. His main job is to spot the film's main characters. You have to know the animals' behavior patterns very well for this job and Reinhard's sidekick does. Storm clouds gather in the evening. The overnight rain has turned the sandy tracks into deep mud. Even an off-road vehicle can get stuck, but help can be found even in the remotest areas.