African Fixer

When Filming In Africa, Don’t Forget Zambia’s Natural Wonders

November 14, 2023

Zambia lies in the centre of southern Africa and is a landlocked country surrounded by Angola in the west, Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe in the south, Mozambique, Malawi and Tanzania in the east , and the Democratic Republic of Congo in the north.

Famous for the spectacular Victoria Falls that forms the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe, this country is often under-rated as a filming location. However, when filming in Africa, producers and directors should not forget to explore more of Zambia’s natural wonders.

Documentaries, Reality TV Shows and Adventure Movies

A number of film and television productions have been shot in Zambia, and recently Reality TV Shows such as ‘The Amazing Race’ and ‘White Hunter, Black Heart’ have filmed episodes in the less widely known regions of the country.

Zambia offers any film or television producer a range of scenic locations to choose from: nature reserves, safari camps, towns along the Copperbelt and the bustling capital Lusaka, one of the fastest growing cities in southern Africa.

Lusaka offers a variety of interesting backdrops for film and television productions, as there are always new buildings, restaurants and roadside stalls popping up. Just 120 kms west of Lusaka on the Kafue Flats, the Blue Lagoon National Park is a floodplain that attracts thousands of birds. It was only opened recently and remains one of the last untouched places in Africa.

The best time to film here is during the cold, dry season from June to August when the area is transformed into a flat green grassland, and you can watch the migration of birds.

Victoria Falls is one of the most spectacular film locations in Africa, and its proximity to Kariba Dam makes it a popular backdrop for many film and television productions. Located in the KAriba Gorge of the Zambezi River basin between Zambia and Zimbabwe, the dam forms Lake Kariba, the largest man-made lake in the world.

The Zambezi River itself is also a popular film location, especially for wildlife documentary producers. It is the fourth longest river in Africa, and the largest river flowing into the Indian Ocean from the continent. Documentary film producers can enjoy shooting hippo, Nile crocodiles and monitor lizards as well as buffalo, zebra, giraffe and elephants in the riverine woodlands.

The region that comprises Victoria Falls, Kariba Dam and Lake Kariba is called Mosi-oa-Tunya and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is also one of the 7 Wonders of The Natural World. Mosi-oa-Tunya means ‘smoke that thunders’ and the region got its name from the column of spray that, at the height of the rainy season from December to March, can be seen from miles away. This region is a breeding site for species of endangered birds such as the Taita Falcon and Black Eagle. It is also home to termite hills that are the size of a small house.

On the North Zambian Plateau, the Bangweulu Swamps are found in the Great Bangweulu Basin that incorporates the Bangweulu Lake and a massive Wetland area in the center of an ancient cratonic platform. The inhabitants of this region are descendants from a series of emigrations from the Congo Basin, and are some of Zambia’s earliest settlers. They are known as the Batwa, or Wild Men.

In this region there are 17 magnificent waterfalls that provide ‘cascade followers’ with an adventure into the remote, under-developed rural areas where a taste of village life can be experienced.

Towns Of Interest To Film and Television Producers

Two well-known Zambian towns are of great interest to film and television producers , and they were settings for the movies ‘Gabriel and The Mountain’ in 2017, ‘Holiday In The Wild’ in 2019 and ‘Vanguard’ in 2020.

Livingstone was named after the famous Victorian missionary explorer Dr David Livingstone and dates back to 1905. The Livingstone Monument, walks with lions, elephant safaris, boat cruises and the Mukuni Cultural Village are attractions that draw many film and television crews.

The Chingola Copper Mining Town founded in 1943 is another picturesque film location, and is home to the largest open cast mine in Africa. It is also home to the Chimfunshi Chimpanzee Sanctuary, a refuge for orphaned chimpanzees.

Depending on where in Zambia you want to film and the nature of the production, permits can be easily obtained once the film crew has obtained Media Accreditation. For information about sourcing film equipment supplies, film crew expertise and local talent contact African Fixer and let us help you plan your next production in Zambia.

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