Botswana’s Makgadikgadi Pans are home to the largest zebra population in southern Africa, but it’s not an easy life. There is no permanent water in the arid saltpans, so thousands of zebras are dependent on isolated summer rains for their survival. Fleeting thundershowers produce islands of grass scattered across the otherwise barren landscape.

When the seasonal storms end, and the dry season begins, the striped nomads start their long trek west to the Boteti River for fresh drinking water. There, water is plentiful, but the zebras must travel further and further from the river to reach adequate grazing before trudging miles back to quench their thirst. It’s a grueling routine that will continue until the storm clouds return, the dry season ends, and the zebras can return home where they will welcome newborn foals into their families.

“Great Zebra Exodus” explores parenthood and the fragility of young life—from zebras to lapwings to meerkats. It’s a tale of loyalty and sacrifice, of home and exile, of death and new life, set against the backdrop of one of Africa’s most surreal landscapes.

On CPTV: Wednesday, March 22 at 8 p.m.

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