A to Z of Destinations
Australia, NZ and South Pacific
A to Z of Experiences
Walking and trekking
Diving and snorkelling
Wildlife and safaris
Meet the locals
Frontier and expedition
Cycling and Mountain Biking
Visiting the Poles
Career breaks and BIG trips
Body and soul
Volunteer and conservation
Australia, East Coast
Everest Base Camp
Aurora Borealis/Northern Lights
Trans-Siberian and Trans-Mongolian railway
Cruising the Nile, Egypt
Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail
Big cats. Bigger scenery. The biggest screens. Wanderlust trails African Cats with Alastair Fothergill
Tom Hawker | Issue 128 | April 2012
Alastair Fothergill is a busy man. He’s taking time out from co-directing a gorilla documentary in Uganda and Sierra Leone to talk Wanderlust through this month’s three-years-in-the-making cinema documentary African Cats.
This means he hasn’t had a moment to revel in the plaudits for last year’s Frozen Planet – we reckon you may have heard of it – his follow up to his other modest successes The Blue Planet and Planet Earth.
Released by Disney, African Cats follows two families – one lion pride, one cheetah clan – as they navigate the brutal circle of life on the Masai Mara. It’s perfect for the cinema, featuring some extraordinary hi-def wildlife cinematography and sounds from the Great Migration: when a lion roars, you will tremble.
It’s also very much a Disney film – a tale of mothers and their young – with Fothergill having to strike a careful balance between drama and audience manipulation like never before.
“You can’t stop anthropomorphism – that’s a natural human tendency – but we ran a fine line,” he tells us. “We were very aware we needed a universal rating, we wanted it to be accessible to all ages. But it’s a brutal world out there – it would be dishonest not to show the harder side of being a cat in the savannah.”
Fothergill is quick to dismiss the adventure aspect of filming among some of the world’s most lethal predators. “It’s not dangerous. The cats don’t see someone in a vehicle as a source of food. If you walk across the savannah, you could be in trouble but the Maasai do it every day. I genuinely think the most dangerous part of the job is driving to the airport!”
But having spent three years filming out on the Masai Mara – capturing some animal encounters and scenery that will have you instantly raiding your piggy bank for tickets to Kenya – does Fothergill have any tips for Great Migration watchers?
“The most important thing is patience. When you’re on these safaris the tendency is to rush around. It’s understandable – you’re only on safari once in your lifetime so you’ve got to see a lion, a cheetah, a leopard... But maybe the best idea would be to spend a lot of time with the cheetah – you might have a richer experience.”
African Cats was released in cinemas yesterday, on 27 April
Alastair Fothergill reveals what life was like producing Frozen Planet | Interviews... More
Want to take your own safari? Take a look at our Great Migration travel guide for tips, advice and trip ideas | Plan a trip... More
Great Migration calendar: 12 months, 12 ways | Inspire me... More
Top 15 tips for taking Great Migration photos | Inspire me... More
Does safari + children = risk? | Family man blogger William Gray asks the worrying question... More
You must be logged in to leave a comment. Login or get more from Wanderlust - register today!
Simply select the destination you’re interested in or the activities you’re looking
for and we’ll send your request to a select panel of tour operators.
Each operator will respond to your request individually. Your details remain private
and are not disclosed to any partners unless you decide to proceed with a booking.
10% OFF at Powertraveller
Save 5% on travel insurance with Insure & Go
Save £5 off every Visa with The Visa Machine
Wanderlust sends out regular email newsletters – be the first to know about web
exclusives, competitions, hot offers and travel jobs. Register today!
I have read and agree to the Terms &
Where in the world are you? Add
#wanderlustmag to your tweets and share your latest travel adventures with
fellow Wanderlusters on wanderlust.co.uk
Get to know Wanderlust on facebook and bring all your travel-minded friends, too