Safari Live

Ages: 8 - 12Manufacturer: National Geographic Kids

Safari Live is an hour-long live trek in search of the wild animals. The unscripted daily live-stream comes from the Sabi Sands in South Africa’s Greater Kruger National Park, and Kenya’s Maasai Mara National Reserve. Guides never know what they’ll encounter.

Each show begins with a warning: “animal kills and carcasses” may be included. Some episodes are completely benign – for example, guides James Hendry and Steve Faulconbridge spent a fair amount of time pointing out birds in the bush, including the African Hoopoe bird and the Greater Blue-eared Starling. (Two beautiful birds, by the way.) When James neared a baby elephant, the camera cuts to him. “Isn’t that special?” he said, pointing out how the baby elephant was being nudged along by its mama. “They’ve got such a careful, stately way of walking.”

The slow pace mirrors the real world. Watching a hippo in a pond isn’t action-packed, but it’s interesting to observe while two birds perch on his back. A hungry hynena and a thirsty leopard offer a you-are-here perspective. Some segments are quite gripping. A frail impala was stranded on a small island and a crocodile waited in the water, eventually forcing the impala to take a dive in and try to swim for shore. The croc, surprisingly fast, zoomed after the impala and dragged it under water. There’s no sugar-coating the fact that the croc made a meal of the impala.

Viewers, particularly students in a classroom setting, can witness ecosystems, weather patterns, and wildlife in real time. Leave it to Nat Geo to deliver a new way to learn about wildlife.

Ann Oldenburg ©2018 Parents’ Choice


Ann Oldenburg, lecturer and interim director of the journalism program at Georgetown University, writes about television, food, workplace issues and other pop culture topics. A University of Florida Gator with a degree in journalism, she began her career at The Washington Post and spent more than two decades with USA TODAY. She and her husband have three sons and live in McLean, Virginia.