Most of us are not doing a lot of traveling at the moment, and certainly not venturing over oceans or across borders, so we will take any chance we get to capture the essence of global destinations we all love. The City of Cape Town, South Africa recently announced that Love Cape Town, The Movie has been awarded the first prize in the “Tourism Destination – City” category at the International Tourism Film Festival, Africa Awards (ITTF Africa). The film highlights the exciting and authentic experiences and natural beauty offered by South Africa’s “Mother City” which serves as a perfect jumping off point for exploring the rest of the destination.
While travel to South Africa remains off the cards at the moment, you can still experience the beauty of the country’s coastlines, savannas, and cityscapes on the big screen. The nation has long captivated filmmakers from around the world, and productions spanning a range of genres have featured South Africa’s landscapes, cities, and history. Here is a look at five of our favorite movies and television series that were filmed in South Africa, and worth a look…
5 Favorite Movies & Television Series to Experience South Africa
Uncharted – Hosted by multi-Michelin-star celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay, Uncharted is a round-the-world culinary adventure. In each episode, Ramsay visits a new country and learns about its delicacies and culinary traditions from indigenous communities and local experts. Season 2 Episode 2, originally aired on National Geographic on Sunday, June 14, takes place in South Africa. Ramsay learns from Zulu warriors how to cook with traditional braai, dives off a helicopter into the Indian Ocean to harvest mussels, cooks for a revered Zulu chief with South African chef Zola Nene, and explores township culture.
Black Sails – This television series about the Golden Age of Piracy on the high seas was filmed and produced in Cape Town. Following the adventures of fictional characters alongside fictionalized portrayals of real historical pirates, the show’s four seasons follow the group’s quest for a sunken treasure galleon and war with the British navy. Filmed at Cape Town Film Studios in partnership with local production company Film Afrika, Black Sails prides itself on historical accuracy and vibrant set design; for example, the pirate ships in the series are so detailed in their design that each vessel took a team of 300 craftsmen to build.
Avengers: Age of Ultron – Several action sequences in this superhero blockbuster were filmed in Johannesburg. The epic fight scene between Iron Man and the Incredible Hulk was filmed in the historic streets of this South African city, with key downtown landmarks such as the Rissik Street Post Office, Ponte Towers, and even the city skyline visible in several frames. Marvel Studios worked in partnership with the Gauteng Film Commission, local production team Moonlighting Production Services, and Cape Town visual effects studio BlackGinger, and the city even permitted several major roads to be temporarily shut down to support filming.
Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom – Based on Nelson Mandela’s eponymous autobiography, this film showcases the upbringing, education, incarceration, and presidency of South Africa’s first black head of state. Starring Idris Elba in the leading role, planning for this film began decades earlier, even before Long Walk To Freedom was published, with an interview between producer Anant Singh and then-imprisoned Mandela forming the basis for the movie adaptation.
Love On Safari – If you’re in the mood for a cheesy, heartwarming Hallmark movie (aren’t we all, these days?), check out Love On Safari. Filmed at an elephant sanctuary in Belabela and in Johannesburg, this movie follows the adventures of an American web designer who inherits a game reserve in South Africa and falls in love with the head ranger. Wildlife fans will delight in the many scenes featuring elephants, zebras, giraffes, and other stunning South African animals.