The Best Nature Documentaries on Netflix Will Make You Worldlier

For an intellectual night in.

Updated 10/04/19

 

ADÉL BÉKEFI/GETTY IMAGES. GRAPHIC BY CRISTINA CIANCI

 

Whether you live in a city and need to fill the tree-shaped void in your life, or just want to take in some truly spectacular scenery, a nature documentary is the answer to captivate, educate, and inspire you. There are so many great documentaries on Netflix right now, and it's worth adding some of their nature-focused offerings to your queue.

We found the best nature documentaries on Netflix that will, without a doubt, make you worldlier. From a visually stunning film showcasing the incredible flora and fauna in Africa, to an eye-opening look at the illegal ivory trade, these are the flicks that we think everyone should watch this Sunday night. Now all that's left to do is pop some popcorn.

Here are our picks for the best nature documentaries on Netflix.

01 of 15

Encounters at the End of the World (2007)

Encounters at the End of the World

IMDb

Filmmaker Werner Herzog chronicles his journey to Antarctica as he visits McMurdo Station, the United States' largest research center on the continent. Not only does Encounters at the End of the World showcase the hauntingly beautiful landscape, but it also explores the minds of the scientists studying the otherworldly wildlife there.

Available on: Netflix

02 of 15

The Ivory Game (2016)

The Ivory Game

 Netflix

Leonardo DiCaprio's documentary, The Ivory Game, exposes the deep-rooted corruption driving the global ivory trafficking crisis. Filmed over the course of 16 months, filmmakers went undercover to gain intel on the trade. The film watches more like a thriller, but shockingly, it's all true.

Available on: Netflix

03 of 15

Planet Earth (2006)

Planet Earth

 IMDb

BBC's Planet Earth claims that you'll see the world "as you've never seen it before," and honestly, the series does not disappoint. From the frozen tundra to the fertile rain forests, the 11-episodes series delivers compelling information and imagery, not to mention, it's narrated by naturalist David Attenborough.

Available on: Netflix

04 of 15

Planet Earth II (2016)

Planet Earth II

 Netflix

If you just couldn't get enough of Plant Earth the first time around, check out the sequel to the Emmy-winning series. Explore islands, mountains, jungles, deserts, and more, getting an intimate glimpse into our planet and the wildlife that occupies it.

Available on: Netflix

05 of 15

The Blue Planet (2017)

The Blue Planet

 IMDb

This BBC series goes beyond the territory covered in Planet Earth and dives into the depths of the seas. The Blue Planet, also narrated by legendary naturalist David Attenborough, spans coasts of various continents around the world and covers a range of creatures from microscopic coral polyps to blue whales.

Available on: Netflix

06 of 15

Life (2009)

Life

 Netflix

Yet another David Attenborough narrated nature documentary, Life explores the strange evolutionary adaptations animals on our planet have made in order to survive. The 11-episode series took around four years to film, covering every continent and habitat on earth. Consider this series the prequel to Planet Earth.

Available on: Netflix

07 of 15

Africa (2013)

Africa

 IMDb

The Discovery Channel and BBC unite to shoot six hour-long episodes about the incredibly diverse continent of Africa. Narrated by David Attenborough, this series is yet another visual feast with incredible never-before-seen footage of the animals, flora, and fauna that dominate this incredible landscape.

Available on: Netflix

08 of 15

Frozen Planet (2011)

Frozen Planet

 TV Guide

David Attenborough lends his voice to another BBC documentary, and this time they head to the Arctic and Antarctic regions to chronicle life in one of the harshest environments on earth. Filmmakers spent a phenomenal 2300 days in the field and 18 months at sea to record this incredible footage and showcase the breadth of life in such a barren place. 

Available on: Netflix

09 of 15

One Strange Rock (2018)

One Strange Rock

 Netflix

Will Smith hosts this documentary, which explores and reveals how life is able to thrive on Earth. One Strange Rock follows eight astronauts sharing their perspectives on earth.The ten-episode series explains how earth is both habitable and lethal, and mass extinctions are necessary for a prosperous planet.

Available on: Netflix

10 of 15

The Hunt (2015)

The Hunt

 IMDb

If you want something with a bit of action, you can't miss this documentary. The Hunt follows showdowns in the animal kingdom, capturing leopards, polar bears, sharks, and other predators targeting their prey. The BBC mini-series is narrated by David Attenborough.

Available on: Netflix

11 of 15

Earth's Natural Wonders (2015)

Earth's Natural Wonders

 New On Netflix

Narrated by Olivia Colman, you'll be absolutely captivated by this documentary. See some of the most amazing natural wonders on our planet, such as Mount Everest, The Grand Canyon, and Victoria Falls, and how the inhabitants survive even though their environment is harsh.

Available on: Netflix

12 of 15

Nature's Weirdest Events (2015)

Nature's Weirdest Events,

 New On Netflix

This three-season documentary examines the bizarre natural occurrences around the globe. You'll explore strange creatures like fish that walk on land, animals that are out of place, and geographical oddities.

Available on: Netflix

13 of 15

Wild Alaska (2015)

Wild Alaska

 New On Netflix

Alaska and its scenery are always intriguing, and this documentary brings you up close with the Northern wilderness. It shows how Alaska sustains a diverse species despite extreme weather conditions.

Available on: Netflix

14 of 15

72 Cutest Animals (2016)

72 Cutest Animals

 IMDb

If you just want a daily dose of cute without any of the extreme or gory footage nature documentaries can often bring, this is a failsafe option. With episodes titled "Fluff and Stuff" and "Bouncing Buddies," this documentary is guaranteed to warm your heart.

Available on: Netflix

15 of 15

Nature's Great Race (2016)

Nature's Great Race

 Instant Watcher

This PBS documentary promises epic footage following the world's most significant land migrations. Watch as elephants, caribou, and zebras embark on a treacherous journey.

Available on: Netflix

Looking for more recommendations? Here are the nine best documentaries on Amazon Prime that will change your life.

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