The drama is set on the banks of the Luangwa River; a river that flows through Zambia in central southern Africa for 500 miles. It is a river of extremes, in the wet season, when the rainfall average is as much as 10 inches, it is a flooded valley. The Luangwa, the major tributary of the Zambezi, is completely dependant on rainwater to fill it up. Now the rains have fallen and no prospect of any more for six months, the Luangwa steadily undergoes a massive change.
This green and pleasant valley turns into a dried and desiccated dustbowl. A few straggling pools are all that is left of the once mighty river. These pools are crammed with fractious hippos stressed out by the heat and lack of water, surrounded by a healthy population of scavenging crocodiles eager to claim the victim from the next hippo battle.
The crocodiles are not the only predators here. On the banks of the river lives a pride of lions. They have some new editions, two cubs and it is their mother that will be involved in the final showdown this summer. The lioness has not successfully raised cubs for the past five years.
The lioness is not the only mother trying to raise young; a hippo mother is also trying to raise her calf. It is a boy and he was born at the worst time of year, the very end of the wet season. This will mean he will have to survive the claustrophobic embrace of the hippo herd as they crowd into smaller and smaller pools. When the number one killer of young hippos is getting crushed by adult hippos, this makes it a dangerous place to be! And it will get worse.
For all young animals the Luangwa is tough place to survive not just because of the predators but from the brutal environment.
The conditions are the cause, the youngsters are the catalyst but the battle is their own as a lioness, a hippo and a crocodile collide head on, on a riverbank in Africa to decide who is the winner of this summer?
In the Long Hot Deadly Summer.