South Africa is fast becoming a favorite filming location for many Hollywood blockbusters for various reasons, and its popularity is only set to increase in the future. We have identified some of the best and most iconic filming locations around the Rainbow Nation.
For starters, South Africa is a vast and diverse country where you can find lush rolling fields and mountains and huge built-up cities within a few kilometers of each other, which makes filming different scenes convenient and less expensive.
The country also has a well-established film and production industry with world-class infrastructure for filming, such as the purpose-built studio outside of Stellenbosch in the Western Cape, so film crews do not have to worry about lugging equipment halfway around the world.
The cherry on the cake is that the official currency is not especially strong on the global market so that production teams can get a significant bang for their buck, and any time you can save money during production; you are going to pique producers’ interest.
As any truly South African will know, the only difficulty with identifying breathtaking locations to shoot a film is narrowing down the list because there is just so much to see and do in the Rainbow Nation.
One of the most celebrated movies filmed in South Africa is Neil Blomkamps’ District 9, nominated for four Academy Awards. The film is about a group of lost aliens that have taken up residence in the slums of Johannesburg.
The majority of the film was shot in the township of Soweto, just outside the city. Blomkamp chose to shoot there during the dry winter months because he said it “actually looks like a nuclear apocalyptic wasteland.” Visit during the rainy summer season, though, and you find a beautiful, lush urban jungle. One of the most intriguing parts about the region is how much the scenery changes from season to season.
Tomb Raider (2018) is an action-adventure film starring Alicia Vikander as Lara Croft based on a 2013 video game of the same name. It is the third film in the Tomb Raider series but serves as more of a reboot for the franchise than a sequel to the original two starring Angelina Jolie. The film is set in Hong Kong, but most people don’t know that most of the fishing village scenes were shot in the picturesque little town of Hout Bay, about 20 minutes drive from Cape Town’s city center.
The popularity of the Tomb Raider franchise has had a significant influence on modern pop culture. Apart from the mentioned movies, there are many games such as the pinball game Tomb Raider – A Survivor is Born. There is also a board game titled Tomb Raider Legends: The Board Game, and even a Tomb Raider slot game that can be found at the top casinos like Casino Cruise.
The Maze Runner
The Maze Runner was a 2014 science fiction film about a dystopian future in which teenagers are placed in a maze with no memory of how they got there as part of a twisted science experiment. It is based on James Dashner’s 2009 book of the same name and was the directorial debut of Wes Ball. The entire film was shot at various venues across Cape Town, such as the tunnel system underneath the city and the stunning Du Toitskloof Pass, where they shot the film’s big tunnel scenes in the Huguenot Tunnel.
Du Toitskloof Pass mountain road was part of South Africa’s national N1 highway until the 3.9km-long Huguenot Tunnel through the mountain was opened in 1988. The route is still open to this day and is used by keen mountaineers and hikers who like to visit the peaks in winter when there are often coverings of snow.
Resident Evil: The Final Chapter
Resident Evil: The Final Chapter was a science fiction film released in 2016 and was the sixth installment of the Resident Evil film franchise based on the series of video games by publisher Capcom of the same name. It stars Milla Jovovich and Ali Larter and was directed by Paul W. S. Anderson. A portion of the film was shot at one of South Africa’s most famous locations, Table Mountain.
The film makes use of the iconic cable car system that usually transports tourists and locals to the mountaintop and back down again and is so popular that massive queues are generated down the road during summer. Cape Town city skyline was also used to emulate downtown Washington DC and Raccoon City.