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Savage Kingdom.

This six-part drama takes the viewer by the throat in a bitter, sweet embrace of life and death and refuses to let go until the final curtain.

Savage Kingdom is a six-part drama that takes the viewer by the throat in a bitter, sweet embrace of life and death and refuses to let go until the final curtain from Sunday 4 December at 18:00 on Nat Geo Wild

Here is Savage Kingdom by the numbers. 

The locale

Savage Kingdom was filmed in Savute, Botswana, part of Chobe National Park. This area is known for its fabled Savuti Channel, which has a history of drying up and flowing again with decades between. Our film begins after a rare flood and continues into the drying period, when predators of all shapes and sizes are fighting for control of the diminishing resources. 

Hours filming in the wild

The crew spent more than one year filming, for a total of 20 000 hours in the wild.

The lean team

There were six camera people and producers in the field including five cameras and three safari vehicles. The team lived in the wild, tracking the animals by day and sleeping on top of their vehicles at night. Some days the animals did nothing but sleep and some days the team shot entire battles in the first hour.

It’s a zoo out there

There are more than 23 iconic species in the Savage Kingdom including buffalo, elephants, giraffes, hippos, impalas, jackals, vultures, warthogs, wildcats, wildebeests and zebras.

Savage Kingdom’s baby boom

18 animals were born in Savage Kingdom’s clans during filming including baby lions, leopards, wild dogs and hyenas.

Epic interspecies battles

The crew captured championship fights between species, including hyenas challenging elephants, lions going after leopards, wild dogs fighting hyenas and leopards pulling enormous fish out of water holes. 

Animal pranks

One of the young lions in the Marsh Pride grabbed producer Brad Bestelink’s bag out of his car while he was sleeping. One of the crew woke up to rustling sounds then alerted Brad. He spent 15 minutes trying to figure out which lion had his bag and then following it around until it finally let go of it.

The clans

Rule of the Savage Kingdom is reserved for the strong. Five clans struggle for power. Each will kill to protect their dynasty — each will kill to take the throne. The winners are rewarded with the richest hunting grounds in the kingdom, but the fate of the losers is brutal — exile or death. The only way to succeed is to build an army to steal power before the others cut them off at the knees. Meet the clans below.

The Marsh Pride

  • King Sekekama
  • Queen Matsumi
  • Five adults
  • Eight young lions and three cubs

The Marsh Pride

 

 

The Northern Pride

  • Queen Satau and her sister
  • Two nomadic males
  • Seven adolescents

The Northern Pride

 

 

Mother Leopard

  • Mother Saba
  • Three adult leopards
  • Two leopard cubs

Mother Leopard

 

 

The Hyena Army

  • Queen Zalika
  • Seven adult females
  • Eight to 10 cubs
  • Three to four associated males

The Hyena Army

 

 

The Pale Pack

  • Queen Teemana
  • King Moloa
  • Six adult wild dogs
  • Six pups

The Pale Pack