THE BBC is launching a two-part virtual reality news documentary series, Damming The Nile, exploring the water politics of the river Nile.
Produced by BBC VR Hub and BBC News, the series is available now through the BBC VR app on the Oculus Gear VR store.
Damming the Nile VR transports viewers on a fascinating journey down the famous river, taking in its beautiful sights and dramatic sounds as they travel through canyons and fly above waterfalls.
But it’s also where the world’s first war over water could be fought.
A major new project, the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, threatens to upset the balance of power between neighbours and rivals Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan.
Following BBC Africa Correspondent Alastair Leithead on assignment across the Nile, Damming The Nile VR gives audiences a unique perspective on the dispute.
They’ll join the crew as they hear from locals in the cafés of Khartoum and street corners of Sudan, meet the richest man in Sudan, and grill ministers fighting their countries’ corners.
They’ll also be able to inspect the dam up-close, explore ancient Sudanese pyramids and Egyptian temples from a hot air balloon, before coming back down to earth in chaotic Cairo.
Alastair said: “As a foreign correspondent, my job is to introduce people to new and fascinating places, challenge stereotypes and explain how countries are growing and changing.
“Virtual reality means films like Damming the Nile VR can actually take our audiences there so they can see it for themselves.
“Once you put on a headset and enter the virtual world.”
“You come with us on assignment to Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt to explore their issues up close, and understand the politics of the Nile through a unique new perspective.”
Damming the Nile VR will be available to watch via a new website, bbc.co.uk/virtualreality, along with other BBC VR highlights.
In addition to watching the series on a Samsung Gear VR, both parts can viewed in full on YouTube with or without a VR headset like a Google Cardboard.
A special 360° version of the films will be available to to watch through the BBC News website and on Facebook.
The story will aired as a news documentary on BBC TV channels, and will be available to read on the BBC News website.
Zillah Watson, head of BBC VR Hub, said: “We want to create high quality mobile VR pieces that give audiences experiences they can’t find anywhere else.
“Damming the Nile VR does this by making you feel like you’re there, unearthing the story as you go, and getting a better understanding of the different cultures and points of view at play.
“Audiences can also enjoy the sheer scale and beauty of the Nile, alongside the major infrastructure projects that have shaped its past and will continue to shape its future.”