Namibia lies to the north west of South Africa and recently hosted filming for MTV’s structured reality series The Challenge. The show has filmed scenes in the country before, but this was the first time a full season had shot there. MTV filmed on Namibia’s coast between the city of Swakopmund and in Walvis Bay to the south.
UK broadcaster ITV also shot the first episode of its TV series Straight Talking with Ant Middleton, and LG shot part of its commercial for the new LG OLED TV at Deadvlei and Sandwich Harbour.
Most of the international shoots that go to Namibia originate from South Africa, with producers from Germany and the UK the next most common visitors.
One of the key location attractions is the Namibian dunes and desert. Stunningly desolate looking, but conveniently situated just a 30-minute drive from impressive hotels and lodgings, such as the Wolwedans Dunes Lodge and Little Kulala.
But there’s so much more. “From the Fish Canyon in the south to the flood plains of the Zambezi region in the north,” says Guy Nockels, executive producer at Namib Films. “Plus, the clay pans of Deadvlei and Sossusvlei attract commercials, music videos and small sections of feature films.”
There are also plenty of private game reserves offering amazing scenery and wildlife up close for filmmakers. While the arid landscapes can double for the likes of Afghanistan, Iraq or Iran, if film makers are shooting conflict projects.
“Our famous Moonscape [which was formed by the valleys of the Swakop river] has been used for period religious series and the actual moon,” adds Nockels.
It is generally easy to get permission to film at these various locations, as long as you work with a local company. The Namibian Film Commission has formulised the industry with local companies needing to register with them, so that international productions only deal with reputable organisations with the required experience and skills.
Permits usually take three working days, but once issued all foreign crew and cast coming to the country require a work visa.
There are studios available in Windhoek, but unfortunately there are no such facilities elsewhere in Namibia. “For large productions that shot on the coast like Flight of the Phoenix and 10,000 BC large warehouses were used as studios, not sound stages,” explains Nockels.
The Namibia Film Commission, firstname.lastname@example.org.