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Saturday, June 22, 2024

What Our EPIC Tanzania Trip Taught Us About Nature’s ‘QUEENS’

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Source: Nat Geo

The only place more magical then Disney World is Tanzania, Africa where we traveled (15 hours!) to experience the sheer magnificence of Nat Geo’s all-female-led QUEENS Docu-series now streaming on Disney+.

Narrated by the always incredible Angela Bassett, QUEENS introduces viewers to six iconic worlds “ruled by the fierce and formidable matriarchs of the animal QUEENdom, setting the stage for a series that transcends everything viewers know about natural history programming,” per the press release.

With endless streaming content served to viewers like McDonald’s Happy Meals, it’s easy to be distracted from monumental achievements like QUEENS which delves into everything you thought you knew about nature’s mightiest matriarchs.

In a moment of pure wonder, we found ourselves marveling at a pride of lions while traveling through the breathtaking Ngorongoro Crater–a staggering wonder of the world which formed when a large volcano erupted and collapsed on itself over three million years ago.

Check out our pal Kaye capturing that very moment in the video below:

Majestic in every way, the pride passed through a cavalcade of safari trucks in a surreal moment only mirrored by the stunning footage captured by QUEENS Executive Producer Vanessa Berlowitz and her immensely talented team of female filmmakers.

“When we first started making the series, we heard someone in our industry say, ‘oh, QUEENS, that series that girls are making’, and it was comments like that that made Vanessa and I feel the weight because you suddenly know that not only do you have to make a great series, you have to make a better series than anything else because we’re women,” said Co-Executive Producer/Showrunner Chloe Sarosh in an interview with Forbes.

At one point during the ‘African Queens’ episode, a lioness is forced to protect her cubs from a vicious male lion trying to kill them to make space for his own in an emotionally stirring scene that showed the unflinching reality of their world.

“The resilience of these female leaders was the thing that got us time and time again,” said Berlowitz in an interview with Forbes.

“They were living in harsh environments, looking after their families at a huge physical cost to themselves, being hit by the need to problem solve or the need to protect their family, potentially at their own personal loss. It was so relatable and it resonated with us on such a human level that the idea of them and us disappeared.”

I knew that lionesses do ALL of the hunting and that male lions sleep for 18+ hours a day. What I didn’t know, though, is that male lions can be a lioness’ biggest enemy when they want to take over their territory and mate.

There’s also a showdown between lions and nature’s treacherous little troublemakers aka hyenas who are lead by female alphas in their packs.

In order to lead the pack, a female hyena must prove that she’s the strongest when challenged by other female hyenas for the crown.

Four years in the making, QUEENS utilized cutting-edge technology to capture incredible moments within the animal kingdom for the first time, including rarely seen hyena infanticide, the first filming of bonobos in the canopy from tree platforms, color documentation of the Ngorongoro Crater through the night, and a development time-lapse of the Orchid bee brood.

The final episode of the series celebrates the women who (literally) went to the ends of the Earth to document and protect animal queens.

“Being a team and trusting each other and knowing that we all have the best intentions allowed us to have difficult conversations because we knew that fundamentally we’ve got each other,” Berlowitz told Forbes. “It’s safe. And even though we were taking huge risks and there was a lot of pressure, I always felt incredibly safe.”

A love letter to the power of femininity, QUEENS reigns as an eye-opening parallel between the cruel realities faced by matriarchs in the wild and struggles navigated by women on a daily basis.

What I thought I knew, I didn’t know, and enjoyed learning from Vanessa and Kenyan Director/Producer Faith Musembi who dedicate their lives to telling incredible stories.

I was humbled beyond measure to connect with these authentic storytellers while basking in the beauty of Tanzania on the greatest trip of my lifetime.

Check out my photo recap below:

All 7 QUEENS episodes are now streaming on Disney+.

What Our EPIC Tanzania Trip Taught Us About Nature’s Fiercest ‘QUEENS’ 
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