7 nature and wildlife documentaries to entertain and enlighten

Posted by Gabrielle Jacobs on 27 March 2020

If you’re hard pressed to get your fix of nature, wildlife and outdoor encounters, here are a few documentaries and films from the last few years to keep you entertained while staying safe at home.

1. Sisters of the Wilderness (2018)

This documentary tells the tale of five young Zulu women from impoverished urban or rural areas who embark on a journey of discovery inside KZN’s Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park. Their journey in the wilderness is a personal one too, and the women are accompanied by three nature and wilderness guides (two of them female) who lead them down this path of discovery and mentorship. In this time, the ladies also learn about the Park’s challenges with combatting threats to wildlife such as rhino as well as the environment. Available on Showmax.


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2. 2040 (2019)

The film 2040 is the product of one dad’s mission to inspire action and change through a positive outlook on our society’s rather dire environmental predicaments. Aussie director Damon Gameau wanted to project a positive picture of what the earth could be like in 2040… if individuals and society as a whole implemented sustainable practices and stopped damaging behaviour. Gameau wished to create a new perspective and method for tackling gloomy problems such as climate change and pollution by approaching them with a more proactive outlook.


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3. Stroop (2018)

Stroop is the multiple-award-winning documentary about the war on rhinos and the incredible ranger heroes fighting to protect them on the frontlines. Go undercover and get a glimpse inside the illegal trafficking trade. A bit harrowing at times, this documentary film sends home a powerful message about standing up to injustice.


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4. Eye of the Pangolin (2019)

South African filmmakers Bruce Young and Johan Vermeulen travel around Africa in search of the continent’s four pangolin species. The most trafficked animal in the world, the pangolin is on the edge of extinction. You can watch this 45-minute film for free online at Pangolin.Africa.


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5. March of the Penguins (2005)

This mid-2000s favourite is still worth a watch 15 years later. The feature-length nature doccie chronicles the migratory breeding patterns of Antarctica’s iconic emperor penguins. Observe their social behaviour as they search for mates, conduct their mating rituals and brave the winter climes before welcoming their new brood. Narrated by Morgan Freeman, this is still an informative and heartwarming watch suitable for the whole family.


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6. Blood Lions (2015)

Blood Lions still packs a poignant punch in highlighting the plight of the canned-hunting industry, as well as unethical wildlife tourism. This film still serves as a call to action, for lions and all wild animals embroiled in exploitative industries and trade. Available on Netflix and Showmax.


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7. Wild Karnataka (2019)

The state of Karnataka in southern India has the country’s highest numbers of tigers and elephants, as well as incredible flora and other fauna which add to its natural beauty. This film, filmed entirely in 4K resolution, is narrated by Sir David Attenborough and celebrates Karnataka’s incredible biodiversity, covering multiple habitats from aerial shots to hidden cameras capturing special wildlife encounters. ‘We cannot save what we don’t love,’ is one of the takeaways from this film.


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You can also check out these documentaries and nature series on these online viewing sites:


  • Chasing Coral
  • Our Planet
  • Dancing with the Birds
  • Night on Earth


  • Big Cats
  • Animals with Cameras
  • Andy’s Safari Adventure
  • Planet Earth II (until 30 March)

Amazon Prime

  • Ocean Odyssey
  • Extinct
  • Animal Strategies
  • Wildest Places

Featured image: Unsplash

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