It’s back to the mountains for our adventurers in this week’s grueling episode of Expedition Africa. Leaving the sizzling Mkata plain behind, the team climbs into the cool, foggy Sagara Mountains amidst a series of torrential downpours.
Whether you’re on a day hike in the Smokies or a month-long trek through Africa, rain is a gamechanger. The risk of hypothermia skyrockets, building a fire becomes nearly impossible, injuries due to slips and falls increase exponentially, and morale can really plummet. When I worked in a temperate rainforest one summer during college, trails would literally turn into rivers in a matter of minutes, and trying to sleep when you’re soaking wet is quite a challenge. And to be honest, constant heavy rain can really suck the fun out of being outdoors.
Pasquale and Benedict butt heads once again on the expedition’s pace. Should we cover ground as quickly as possible, or stop to enjoy the views and the wildlife when we can? While I understand Pasquale’s rationale for speed, I have to side with Benedict. What’s the point of crossing the continent if you can’t slow down enough to experience it? And while Pasquale’s intentions are good, his tone is often brash and condescending compared to the light-hearted suggestions of the other team members.
The rain really sets the team on edge. In the mountains, temperatures dip into the low 40s, which is hypothermia weather when you’re dripping wet. Stunningly, the group didn’t bring waterproof bags, and none of the porters were equipped with rain gear.
Kevin gets a nice redemptive moment when his idea to wait out a storm pays off. Low on provisions, eating just one meal a day, the team grows desperate and wanders into a few tiny, ghostly villages clinging to the slopes of the Sagaras, some of which have no food to spare.
Overall, it’s another inspiring forty minutes of brilliantly-produced television, getting to watch the incredible resolve of the explorers, porters, and Maasai guides in the face of adversity. One porter falls victim to an especially dangerous threat, affecting the emotions of the entire group, and reminding viewers that this isn’t Survivor. It’s survival.
Watch every episode here, or tune in to the History Channel Sunday nights at 10/9c.