Of the many ways in which humans show cruelty to animals, poaching is one of the most prevalent methods. While it is an illegal activity, it doesn’t stop people from seeking animals out from their habitats and killing them for their hide or tusks or horns. Animal rights activists have been working tirelessly to help animals. From rescue to rehabilitation, a lot more work goes into helping these animals heal from the trauma they suffer at the hands of the poachers.
Kristin Davis, the actress known for playing Charlotte in ‘Sex and the City’, has worked in elephant rehabilitation for about a decade now. Her quest began in Kenya when she and her friends found an orphaned elephant and came face to face with the brutality of poaching. In the following years, she invested her time in wildlife trusts and conservatories, spending time with the elephants, getting to know them and their surroundings, and helping the people who have already been in this line of work their whole life. And now, she brings the issue onscreen with Netflix’s ‘Holiday in the Wild’.
The movie follows the story of a woman whose life suddenly derails. After her son leaves for college, she and her husband had planned a second honeymoon in Zambia. However, two weeks before the departure, he tells her that their marriage is over and she has to come to the African country all by herself. There she meets a man who is not just a pilot for her safari but is also an animal conservationist. While showing her the wilds of Zambia, he takes a detour. She follows him into the jungle and comes to know about what he does. Moved by the situation of the baby animals, she decides to join in. So begins their journey of finding a place for the baby elephant who has been orphaned, all thanks to the poachers. In the meantime, she also rediscovers the purpose of her life, while falling in love. With Africa!
In a true holiday spirit, ‘Holiday in the Wild’ is much more than just a rom-com. The story is just an attractive packaging to put forward the seriousness of animal cruelty and help the cause of animal rights. In order to do so, the filming took place in the wilderness of African jungles where the elephants feel safe and at home. There are a number of locations in the African continent that have served as locations for films like this. However, rarely is any of film as concerned about the well-being of animals as the crew of this Netflix film was. Special care was taken to ensure the safety and comfort of the animals, above all, and even doubles were used, at times. However, there is no alternative for the sprawling wilderness of Africa, so of course, you can plan your next safari based on the locations of ‘Holiday in the Wild’.
Aware of the effect that a strict shooting schedule can have on the animals that are to feature in the movie, neither Netflix nor the production crew wanted to employ the locations that would present them, and the animals, with a situation like this. Davis herself scoured through potential locations where they could set the story while spreading the cause, and eventually, Zambia was decided upon. The scenes where the characters familiarise themselves with the baby elephants are filmed at an elephant orphanage in Zambia. In fact, one of the rescued elephants, Mkaliva, has a story very similar to the one that we see in the film. She is under the care of Game Rangers International reserve, which is dedicated to rescue, protect and rehabilitate the young elephants. The location of the orphanage is in Lusaka, and the owners of the place have been involved in protecting elephants under difficult circumstances.
While Zambia serves as the official location of the story, the crew had to accommodate other places in their schedule to feature the elephants from other places, especially the big ones. While the orphanage in Zambia gave access to filming with the young calves, most of the full-grown beasts were captured in their majestic form in South African locale. Hoedspruit and Drakensberg serve as the places to focus on the wilderness part, while the on-set locations in Cape Town were also employed. In Hoedspruit, there is the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre that not only takes care of elephants but also other species marked down on the red list, especially the cheetahs. There are the scenes involving Jabulani, another elephant who was rescued just in time, that are filmed in Camp Jabulani, named after the animal.
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