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WildFilmHistory » Home » Films » Mzima: Portrait of a Spring

Mzima: Portrait of a Spring  (1969)

Mzima - an emerald oasis

In this epic, hour-long special, award-winning filmmakers Alan and Joan Root explore the myriad life that flourishes in Kenya’s Mzima spring. Their stunning cinematography captures the creatures’ incredible interdependence, as anhinger birds dart through the sky, oryx drink thirstily on the banks and otters feast on fish.

In this otherwise arid land, the spring water filters down through the volcanic soil of the Chyulu hills, providing an oasis for a wealth of birds, mammals and reptiles. Providing a fascinating insight into the hippo’s underwater world, the couples’ impressive photography captures the graceful movements of these mammals. Highly dangerous creatures, the Roots had a number of close-calls with face masks bitten off, and in Alan’s case, a leg nearly amputated.

An intriguing portrayal of a varied ecosystem deep within Tsavo National Park, Mzima: Portrait of a Spring was widely acclaimed. Receiving rave reviews when distributed in Britain as part of the Survival series, it also won the Red Ribbon at the American Film Festival.

Its success was echoed thirty years later when Alan’s protégés, Mark Deeble and Victoria Stone, made an award-winning film about the same area, Mzima – Haunt of the Riverhorse (2003).

Copyright holder

Copyright Holder: Alan Root
Address: P.O. Box 43747
Nairobi 00100
Telephone: +254 20 606 222

Film credits

Film Editor: Robin Hellier
Narrator: Anthony Smith
Photographer: Alan Root
Presenter: Suzanne Gibbs
Production Organisation: BBC - Natural History Unit
Sound Mixer: Ann Goodliffe

Related links

They Said It Couldn't Be Done: Mzima: Portrait of a Spring  (1999)
Alan Root
Joan Root
The top of Mzima's food chain
The top of Mzima's food chain
Mzima - an emerald oasis
Mzima - an emerald oasis
Life on Mzima's surface
Life on Mzima's surface
Underwater world of the river horse
Underwater world of the river horse