Sheffield Doc/Fest Review: Into the Okavango

Africa is a continent which continues to be picked apart for its natural resources, whether that’s precious metals and minerals or its vast array of magnificent wildlife. Botswana is renowned for its spectacular and diverse range of flora and fauna. It’s also remarkable in the measures it takes to protect its fertile natural environment, both from poachers and industrial encroachment. The Okavango Delta is the jewel in its crown, one of the most biodiverse areas in Africa.

Situated in the north of the country, the natural wetlands are home to hundreds of species of birds. South African adventurer and ecologist Dr Steve Boyes notices that they’re increasingly clustering towards the centre and wants to find out why. He puts a team together, including Angolan biologist Adjany Costa and Botswanan guide ‘Water’, and decides to chart the flow of water from its source in rural mountainous Angola.

Neil Gelinas’s film Into the Okavango follows the team’s expedition in 2015 to chart the path of the water which is the life blood of the delta. Starting in a remote, uncharted and formerly war-torn region in Angola, using canoes they trace the flow through Namibia and Botswana. There are one or two shocks in store, and several worrying discoveries. Into the Okavango is the most beautiful documentary I’ve ever seen. So beautiful it will make you cry. As will the way we are contriving to destroy this natural wonder.

Into the Okavango screens again at Sheffield Doc/Fest on 12 June. To find out more about the project, visit their website.

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