The Hippo King

An old, battle scarred hippo bull was once a giant king amongst the largest concentration of hippos on this planet. Normally hidden under water or concealed in the cover of darkness, the hippo is an animal cloaked in mystery and largely misunderstood. For the first time ever, we get to know the true character of one of the planet’s largest land mammals, as we reveal the life story of a charismatic hippo bull in Africa’s Luangwa Valley, starting from the day he was born.

The Hippo King is a collection of true events shaped into a beautiful tale that shows the life story of a hippo, from birth to adulthood.

Produced by

Terra Mater Studios, Skyland Productions, Into Nature Productions, Doclights, NDR Naturfilm, The WNET Group. ©2021

  • A film by Will & Lianne Steenkamp
  • Narrated by Russel Boulter
  • Edit by Alan Miller
  • Original score by Christian Heschl



  • Jackson Wild (2022): Special Jury
  • New York Festivals (2021): Gold Winner Cinematography
  • New York Festivals (2021): WaterBear Gold Award Winner Nature & Wildlife
  • Matsalu Nature Film Festival (2022): Official Selection
  • Rotterdam Wildlife Film Festival (2022): Official Selection
  • Rotterdam Wildlife Film Festival (2022): Animal Behaviour Nominee
  • Festival International Nature Namur (2022): Official Selection

Sequence Filming

  • Mammals (2024) – BBC
  • Planet Earth III (2023) – BBC
  • Dynasties II (2022) – BBC
  • Eden: Untamed Planet (2021) – BBC
  • Perfect Planet (2020) – Silverback/BBC
  • Primates (2019) – BBC
  • Big Cats (2018) – BBC
  • Camp Zambia (2017) – Plimsoll Productions/Blue Ant
  • Planet Earth II (2016) – BBC
  • Africa’s Wild West (2014) – Interspot Film/ORF