Serengeti returned for a second season, now streaming on Discovery+, after a successful first season which aired on BBC One.

While previous series such as Planet Earth, Blue Planet and Dynasties have been major successes, Serengeti has had a mixed-to-negative response.

Described as “a dramatised story”, the series combines shots of real animals with dramatised plotlines and characters. The Guardian’s Rebecca Nicholson likened season one to “Made in Chelsea or TOWIE”, whereas viewers thought it more closely resembles EastEnders.

But one thing that did not seem real either was the visuals of the show, leading some to speculate they had used CGI.

Here’s everything you need to know about the filming process for Serengeti – from actual footage to CGI use and more.

The Best Thing About Summer | Shark Week 2021

The Best Thing About Summer | Shark Week 2021

Serengeti is on Discovery+

The second series of the programme premiered on Discovery+ on Sunday, July 18th, brining back the majestic animals who call the Serengeti their home.

All six episodes are available to stream now.

Is Serengeti entirely real or do they use CGI?

This six-part series follows the lives of animas in the Serengeti plains in Tanzania, East Africa.

Shot on a private reserve, all the footage involving animals is real, despite the storylines being fabricated.

Series director John Downer previously said of the first series: “No animals were created using CGI but occassionally compositing techniques, which combine real footage, have been used to help the narrative and the dramatic flow of the scenes.”

So, essentially to help those plotlines move forward!

Where have they used these ‘compositing techniques’?

Compositing is where multiple images or videos are layered on top of one another to create an altered final shot.

For example, the scenes in the series where the weather is pronounced, such as rainfall and fire are enhanced and altered to make it more dramatic. The rainfall has been added to the scene for extra drama.

Compositing techniques are also used to create effects with dramatic wind, fog and dust.

John Downer continued to say that “at times, the specially shot animal behavior has been enhanced by previously shot material” to help with the narrative of the story.

Viewers react to the result

Although the director insists the series is all shot with real animals, the digital effects added remove the sense of realism that you would find in an Attenborough series.

One viewer took to Twitter to say: “Watching #Serengeti on @Discovery and it’s so realistic, our dog is going nuts! Finally calmed him down enough to lay on the couch with me, but he’s still glued to the TV!”

And although people are still struggling to believe it’s entirely real and not just “dramatised” entirely – like a BBC version of The Lion King – it does still make some good telly!

MIC-style drama on the Serengeti? Yes please.



Have something to tell us about this article?
Let us know
Eve Edwards
Eve Edwards

Eve spends her days writing about everything culture-related. From celebrity news to music, film and television, Eve covers all bases. When she’s not writing you can find her making music or mastering the art of homemade pasta.

More in BBC