Getting close to baboons
By producer Rob SullivanWatch baboons groom a man
By walking slowly, avoiding eye contact, and making submissive noises we were able to get within a few feet of the baboons. Over the course of a year we observed some incredible behaviour and really got to know some of the baboons well, following individual stories across several months.
During the dry season there were some very long days, walking 20 miles a day in 42 degree heat with kit and we often lost the baboons in thick Acacia. But we returned every night to bathe in the hot springs and listen to hyenas and the occasional lion roaring in the night.
Working with the notorious Afar tribe
By producer Rob SullivanWatch the web exclusive of an Afar wedding
Working with the Afar tribe required a very gentle approach. Apart from the fact that they all carry AK47s, they are infamous for cutting off the testicles of outsiders. I’ve worked a lot with Bruce Parry and even he warned me to be careful with the Afar.
After a few meetings without cameras, and a great deal of chewing chat, they agreed to cooperate and the barriers started to come down. After almost a year filming with them, I now see them as kind, warm and tough people who just want to raise their cattle and children in their traditional ways.