Filming in Namibia

Filming in Namibia

Are you a media company, brand, ad agency or production company looking for Filming in Namibia or photography production support or shooting crew in Namibia? Contact us for trusted fixers, producers, directors, DoPs, videographers, photographers, and full shooting crews tailored for the specific needs of your project.

For an introduction to shooting in Namibia see below notes on film locations, permits, when to shoot, unique local stories, costs, tax incentives, crews, talent, equipment, communications, art department, studios, post facilities, visas and work permits for filming, transport, film-friendly accommodation, and safety advice.

Namibia Film Locations

Namibia is located in southern Africa on the Atlantic coast. It is known for its spectacular desert locations, rugged coastline, African wildlife, German colonial-era architecture, and an extensive rail network.

Agricultural film locations include plantations of corn, peanuts, grapes, and cotton. Sheep, goat, and cattle are farmed. Namibia mines diamonds, uranium, gold, lead, tungsten, tin, manganese, marble, copper, zinc, and salt. Energy locations include hydroelectric dams, thermal-power plants, and solar power plants.

Namibia has hosted productions such as The Red Sea Diving Resort (2019), The Mummy (2017), Mad Max: Fury Road (2015), The Amazing Race: Season 2 (2002), The Cell (2000), and 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968).

Film locations can be divided into the following regions:

Northern Area

This area includes the regions of Kunene, Omusati, Oshana, Ohangwena, Oshikoto, Kavango West, Kavango East, Zambezi, and Otjozondjupa.

The north is Namibia’s most densely populated area, and home to the country’s largest ethnic group, the Ovambo.

The Caprivi panhandle in the north-east of Namibia is one of the country’s only areas that has a wet, tropical climate. The Bwabwata National Park is an important migration route for the African elephant. Nkasa Rupara National Park is another wildlife park located in the Caprivi panhandle.

Etosha National Park wildlife is known for its elephants, rhinos, zebras, giraffes, wildebeest, hyenas, and lions. The Etosha pan is one of the largest salt flats in the world.

Otjiwarongo is home to the Cheetah Conservation Fund, and Crocodile Farm Otjiwarongo.

Skeleton Coast National Park, where the Atlantic Ocean meets vast desert sand dunes, is named for the many shipwrecks that dot the coastline. Of note is The Eduard Bohlen, a shipwreck that looks like it’s in the middle of the desert. Shipwreck Lodge luxury cabins are an interesting location to film and sleep your crew.

Waterberg Plateau Park is home to black and white rhino, buffalo, and sable.

The Vingerklip is an unusual rock pinnacle that rises up from a vast flat expanse.

Early morning or late afternoon photography of Burnt Mountain gives you a range of red, orange, grey and purple colours that make the area appear as if it were on fire. The nearby Organ Pipes are an unusual structure of rock columns, and Twyfelfontein is a site of ancient rock engravings.

Epupa Falls are a beautiful film location.

Central Area

This area includes the regions of Erongo, Omaheke, and Khomas.

Windhoek is the capital and main entry point by air. Locations of note include the Tintenpalast, National Botanic Garden, Independence Memorial Museum (designed by North Korea’s Mansudae Overseas Projects), Christ Church, Windhoek and Hosea Kutako International Airport, and Katutura township. Daan Viljoen Game Reserve is located on the outskirts of Windhoek.

The Kalahari desert covers much of the eastern part of this area.

Cape Cross is known for its seal colony.

Swakopmund is known for its German colonial landmarks including the Swakopmund Lighthouse and the Mole. The Moon Landscapes are located nearby.

Walvis Bay has a shipping container port. Pelican Point Sand Spit is a tidal lagoon home to abundant birdlife including flamingos, pelicans and Damara terns. It also has saltwork evaporation fields. Dolphins, whales and Cape fur seals inhabit the Atlantic waters around the Pelican Point Lighthouse.

Königstein peak on Brandberg mountain is the highest peak in Namibia.

Messum Crater offers a spectacular desert landscape.

Goboboseb Mountain is famous for its precious stones.

Spitzkoppe is a spectacular granite peak that rises up from the Namib desert. The location was filmed for the “The Dawn of Man” sequence in 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968). Another impressive location near Spitzkoppe is the giant stone arch.

Southern Area

Located south of the Tropic of Capricorn, this area includes the regions of Hardap and ǁKaras.

Namib-Naukluft National Park has several interesting film locations.

Deadvlei is a white clay pan known for its dead acacia trees and surrounding red sand dunes. Filmmakers have used the iconic location for everything from fashion shoots, to advertising skin care products, to portraying an otherworldly dream-like place. Early morning or late afternoon is the best time to film for light and to stay out of the intense midday heat.

Sossusvlei is known for its magnificent red sand dunes. Dune 45 is a popular location for sunrise photography.

Finally, Namib-Naukluft National Park is known for fairy circles, which are unique arid grass formations.

Fish River Canyon is the largest canyon in Africa spanning an area up to 160 km long, 27 km wide, and 550 meters deep. The rainy season from January to April turns the canyon into a raging river. Otherwise the canyon is dry. One of Southern Africa’s most popular hiking trail traverses the river from Hobas to Ai-Ais hot springs.

The Quiver Tree Forest is home to the trees of the same name. Trees bloom bright yellow flowers from June to July. Locals believe anyone who worships these trees will find good luck.

NamibRand Nature Reserve is the Namib desert is a private nature reserve known for its zebra, giraffe, and springbok.

Lüderitz is a coastal town known for its German colonial buildings. It hosted The Red Sea Diving Resort (2019).

Kolmanskop is a ghost town in the Namib desert famous with photographers for its desert sand covered houses.

Elizabeth Bay is another deserted mining town.

The Sperrgebiet is a diamond mining area.

Duwisib Castle is an unusual medieval looking fortress.

Shark Island is a former concentration camp located off the coast of Luderitz.

Namibia Film Location Permits

Visiting productions must apply for a General Film Permit from the Namibia Film Commission at least 3 weeks prior to arrival. See here for the application. Our Namibian fixer / service producer will assist with the application process to make sure everything runs quickly and smoothly. Once you have the General Film Permit additional permits will apply for specific locations, shooting b-roll in cities, shoots that require exclusive use of public space, filming in national parks, drone filming, or filming with tribes such as the Himba and San people. An environmental officer is required to be on set each day of filming in a national park. Additional fees apply. Unauthorised filming of sensitive government areas and public infrastructure is illegal. Penalties may include fines, prison and confiscation of film equipment. Please contact us for more location specific information.

When To Shoot in Namibia?

Namibia’s climate is typical of semi-desert terrain, hot days and cool nights. The coastal regions are cooled by the cold Benguela current, bringing fog and rainfall. Temperatures are lower in the central plateau which is at a higher elevation.

Namibia sees an average of 300 days sunshine per year. The hot, rainy summer months run from October to April. Most rain falls as heavy thunderstorms, filling the dry riverbeds, bringing flowers into full bloom. The dry winter months run from May to September with warm days and subzero nights. Winter is the best time for filming wildlife as the dry weather forces animals to congregate at watering holes. For monthly weather statistics please see here.

Events of interest to filmmakers and photographers include:

  • The Kuomboka ceremony of the Lozi people takes place at the end of the rainy season in March / April.
  • Oshituthi shomagongo is an Aawambo festival that celebrates the harvesting of the marula fruit in March / April.
  • The Sahara Race ultra-marathon takes place in April.
  • A former German colony, Namibia celebrates its own version of Oktoberfest.

Namibia is a predominately Christian country. A minority also practise traditional faiths.

Public holidays may affect timing, availability and costs. See here for public holiday dates in Namibia.

Unique Local Stories

Brands are looking for local stories that match their brand narrative. Our local teams are a great lead for sourcing those unique stories and characters.

If you are looking for stories for your next shoot, send us your brief and we will pitch you ideas.

If you have a unique story you would like to pitch to a brand anywhere in the world, pitch us your idea. We have well-established processes to ensure that your ideas are properly seen and protected.

Namibia Costs & Tax Incentives For Filming

Costs. The Namibian Dollar is pegged to the South African Rand. On average Namibia offers a similar price point to South Africa. Vehicle rental is slightly more expensive. Fuel and crew rates are slightly less expensive. The need to bring in all key crew and equipment adds to the costs of filming in Namibia. That said, our Namibian fixer will negotiate local deals and provide the appropriate level of production support to match every budget.

Tax Incentives. There are no tax incentives for foreign feature films or commercials shooting in Namibia.

Namibia Film Crew & Talent

Crews. Namibia has a very small pool of local directors, videographers and stills photographers. Most supporting crew speak English. Depending on how busy the industry is it may be necessary to bring in some key crew. South Africa is the closest major production centre for experienced crews with Cape Town and Johannesburg a short 2 hour flight away.

Contact us if you are looking for a director, DP, photographer, videographer (cameraman/ camera operator), camera assistant (focus puller), sound operator, grip, gaffer, stylist, hair and makeup, PA / runner, production driver, or any other film crew for your shoot in Namibia.

Talent day rates and buyouts are negotiable. Day rates are very reasonable and negotiated on a personal basis.

English is the official language. Afrikaans is most commonly spoken between locals. Oshiwambo is spoken by the largest tribe.

The Ovambo are the largest ethnic group. Minority groups of note include the Kavango, Herero (including Himba), Damara, Nama, Caprivian, Bushmen (San people such as the !Kung), Tswana and White Namibians. Namibia’s close proximity to South Africa allows access to that significant talent pool should you ever need to look further.

Namibia also has animal actors available for filming including lions, monkeys, zebras and cheetahs.

Namibia Film Equipment

Equipment. Namibia has some basic camera, grip and lighting equipment available locally. Nearby South Africa has a very good range of standard and specialized equipment. For productions looking to bring in film equipment Namibia is an ATA carnet country.

Communications. Communication is key. Our agility and global experience allows us to customise the right communications systems for every shoot.

Web posted casting, scouting, and videoconferencing.

For clients that are unable to attend set we offer a virtual video village solution. This dedicated and secure high-resolution video streaming platform allows clients from one or multiple timezones to view setups without compromise and to participate in real-time with the team on set. Separate systems can be set up for the discrete conversations that are required to make a job run right. Working remotely with our local teams reduces your content production costs, turnaround times, carbon footprint, and risks associated with unpredictable global events.