After wading through knee-deep swamps and climbing over sheer mountains, the Expedition Africa team heads for the dry grass of the Mkata plain in the third leg of their trek across the continent.
By far the most dangerous terrain they’ve crossed yet, the Mkata grasslands are home to Africa’s Big Five, forcing our adventurers to take extra precautions against wildlife attacks. Minutes into the episode, they come across an eerie pile of zebra and giraffe bones, as well as a recently-killed buffalo calf. To complicate matters even further, Mireya sustains a bloody injury in the tall grass, local water sources prove unusable, and temperatures soar above 116 degrees Fahrenheit.
Pasqaule’s dogged determinism to make good time continues to ruffle feathers, especially when Benedict questions his navigation. For the third straight episode, both Pasquale and Kevin are presented in a particularly unflattering fashion. I’m not blaming the editors, it just seems like some personalities don’t make for the most civil conversation on television (in the case of Pasquale), and perhaps poor Kevin was doomed from the start due to his relative inexperience.
But it’s still clear that regardless of differences in experience and opinion, these four adventurers are tough, self-disciplined, kind-hearted people. Kudos to the producers for not casting a melodramatic group of giant egos.
The highlight of the ep for me was the Maasai. When asked to keep watch overnight while the team slept, one of them actually hoped an elephant or a lion would attack so that he could spear it. And later, two Maasai make a touching effort to save a stranded calf, in one the ep’s many fascinating demonstrations of the role of livestock in Maasai culture. Another demonstration involves several liters of blood!
On a random note, I could listen to Benedict talk for hours, even if it’s about which kinds of animal dung make the best kindling. What a cool voice! And are we ever going to get a look at the poor cameramen that are making the same trek?
Next week…rain. Lots of it. And I can tell you from my own backpacking experience that heavy rain changes everything. The stakes will skyrocket.
Head over here to catch up on episode three, and tune in this Sunday at 10/9c for episode four on the History Channel.