Nat Geo's New Doc 'Into the Okavango' Ventures Into the African Wetlands

“You don’t want to startle the hippos,” advises National Geographic fellow Dr. Steve Boyes as he gives a lesson on how to steer a mokoro, a traditional canoe, down a shallow tributary in Botswana.

These dugouts are the main transportation mode of Into the Okavango, a gorgeous and gripping documentary about his scientific expedition through Africa’s wildlife-rich Okavango Delta.

'Paris to Pittsburgh': Florida's Climate Action Plan Highlighted in New Nat Geo Documentary (VIDEO)

'Paris to Pittsburgh': Florida's Climate Action Plan Highlighted in New Nat Geo Documentary (VIDEO)

The Sunshine State is putting into practice the use of floating solar panels.

TV Guide Magazine took to the river with Boyes for an up-close look at the southern section of this unique landscape. Home to elephants, cheetahs, wild dogs, crocodiles and hundreds of bird species, it’s also the bedrock of a natural system providing water to 1 million people.

“Our journey started out as an exploration, but we realized we had to protect this area,” says Boyes, whose team made 32,000 wildlife sightings on their four-month, 1,500-mile trek through Angola, Namibia and Botswana. Along the way, cameras capture the joyous discovery in Angola of elephants — thought to have disappeared after the country’s brutal civil war — as well as a near-fatal animal encounter for Boyes.

The scientist hopes the three nations will declare the 125,000-square-mile area a park called Lisima, meaning “source.” “It’s an important place to protect,” he says. “It’s a lifeline.”

Into the Okavango, Documentary Premiere, Thursday, Dec. 13, 9/8c, Nat Geo Wild

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