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Shutterstock 1237650817Thomas Clode Eles Hero
Shutterstock 1237650817Thomas Clode Eles Hero

Planet Earth III Filming Locations: Episode 3 - Deserts and Grasslands

We highlight some of the places filmed in Planet Earth Three’s Deserts and Grasslands episode; view elephants in Zakouma National Park and Arabian camels roaming the Ennedi plateau in Chad, ostriches and chacma baboons in Namibia.

Exploring Zakouma National Park, Chad

Fast becoming the poster-child as the unique and wild African safari destination of the moment, Chad - and more specifically Zakouma National Park - is a magical blend of conservation success story, and rugged wilderness adventure blended into one. Recent political events have started to settle and if you are looking to expand your horizons, it is certainly somewhere to consider getting to in the next couple of years before it starts to become too well-visited, losing its uniqueness.

Planet Earth III chose to film here, to not only showcase this rare wildlife spectacle, but because Zakouma has come from the brink of destruction to be a model of modern wildlife conservation. Through a strong emphasis on security, stability and local communities, the park has become a stronghold for many species that are endangered or extinct in other parts of central and west Africa. Zakouma is a beacon of hope for conservation with nearly 500 elephants now here. The elephants trust humans again, showing the amazing capabilities of these sentient creatures.Game viewing centres upon the magnificent pans in the eastern part of the park. Their reliable water draws an abundance of wildlife and rare sub-Sahelian species like Kordofan giraffe, Lelwel’s hartebeest and northern greater kudu. Predators are much in evidence including wild dog, leopard, cheetah, lion and both spotted and striped hyena. There are also plenty of smaller cats such as serval.

Following a decade of regeneration this beautiful region of pans and Sahelian forest is thriving. After heavy rains from June to November the landscapes dry out, making February to May the perfect time for a safari. Camp Nomade, set in the heart of Zakouma National Park, is a classic mobile tented camp that moves seasonally to follow the wildlife herds, meaning explorers are always in a prime location for wildlife viewing. Only open for a short period in the dry season this camp is exclusive and very sought after.
Camel Caravan Torsten Pursche Hero
Ennedi Plateau
The Planet Earth 3 crew chose to film dromedary camel (one humped camel) in the Ennedi Plateau. Ennedi Natural and Cultural Reserve, located in the Sahara region in the northeast of Chad, is a natural sandstone masterpiece spanning an extensive 50,000 km2 of a sculpted landscape marked by cliffs, natural arches, mushroom rocks, giant labyrinths, and water catchments. Labelled as 'An Eden in the Sahara', the reserve lies within the Ennedi Massif, a mountainous refuge that was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its unique natural formations and globally significant rock art.

Dating back 7,000 years this rock art, comprising mostly petroglyphs, is a testament to the historic role nomadic people have played in this landscape. Today, despite the harsh climate and environment, as many as 30,000 community members move through Ennedi every year and are dependent on the resources the reserve provides. Visiting Ennedi is truly exploring a road less travelled. Camp Warda gives the opportunity to explore this exceptional part of the Sahara in depth.

We can arrange a private Chad safari for a small group of family or friends, combining 5 or 6 nights at Ennedi, followed by 6 or 7 nights at Zakouma.
A Diverse Desert 2Nd Para Resized 12819
Exploring Namibia
The Namib Desert is the most ancient desert in the world, and one of the hottest places on Earth.

Indigenous people live here, too, and in the deserts, the San, Nama and Damara people might well be your guides. Their knowledge of the landscape and wildlife has been passed down through the generations, and when you travel with them, the journey is an opportunity to open yourself up to their ancient wisdom, soaking up the enchantment and mythos of the desert.

In Damaraland and along the Skeleton Coast, you’ll find Namibia’s big game. The desert rhino, desert elephant, and Angolan giraffe have all evolved over the millennia; the animals you see are the heroic survivors who have adapted to the drought and benefited from a remarkable intergenerational understanding of where to find reliable water sources. These desert adapted species include the chacma baboon and ostrich.
Istock 839153762 Chacma Baboon Hero
Chacma Baboons
The chacma baboon, also known as the Cape baboon, is, like all other baboons, from the Old World monkey family. It is one of the largest of all monkeys. Males have a single, hard pad of naked grey skin that extends across both buttocks, but the female buttock-pads are pink, and at the onset of the menstrual cycle the skin becomes bright and swollen. When two individuals meet each other they touch noses as a friendly sign. Social grooming is used to reinforce social bonds, as well as to remove parasites and debris from the fur. Baboons have a wide range of vocal signals that can be graded into one another and combined with each other and with visual signals in complex and subtle social communication.
Ostrich Zakouma National Park Shutterstock 41988
Desert Ostriches
Ostriches nest in the middle of the desert plains, with no protection from the sun. This is because most predators don’t venture out in the heat of the day, so it offers them and their growing family protection. Female ostriches guard the nest during the daytime and the males take over for the night shift. They will do this for up to 42 days.

Planet Earth filmed ostriches in the Tiras Mountains in the Tirasberg Conservancy in the South, and Chacma baboons in the Tsaobis Nature Park in the North. However we can recommend better locations for spotting wildlife in the parks in Namibia.

We can arrange a Namibian safari combining two or three wildlife areas. The Namib Rand is a dark sky reserve too so there are opportunities for stargazing here.
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