South Africa is one of the top southern hemisphere production hubs and – along with Morocco – the most popular film- ing location in Africa. Generous filming incentives and experienced crew have helped increase its international profile.
Marvel gave the country a boost by choosing Johannesburg for a key action sequence for Avengers: Age of Ultron involving a chaotic showdown between Iron Man and Hulk.
Gritty pirate drama Black Sails is based at Cape Town Film Studios and George Miller shot studio work for Mad Max: Fury Road in Cape Town. South Africa is being used as a double for expensive US locations more frequently in the likes of TV drama Dominion (creating a dystopian Las Vegas) and in the feature film Young Ones (creating a sun-blasted mid-West).
The BBC doubled South Africa for Afghanistan for both its modern war drama Our Girl and for its bomb disposal comedy Bluestone 42. Rival UK broadcaster ITV is doubling the region for period Egypt in Tutankhamun, a drama following the discovery of the famous pharaoh’s tomb in the early 1920s.
South Africa also has a thriving commercials industry and has recently hosted shoots for Pennzoil, VW, Toyota and Mazda among many others.
Most of South Africa has a sub-tropical climate but temperatures are moderated by the sea as it is on a peninsula. It also has a higher-than-average elevation above sea level. It is a relatively dry country, with an average annual rainfall of about 464mm.
Summer lasts from mid-October to mid-February and is characterised by hot, sunny weather peppered by frequent, heavy, tropical storms. The Western Cape, with its Mediterranean climate, is the exception and get its rain in the winter months. As Johannesburg is 1,694m above sea level its summer temperatures tend to stay below 30C.
Autumn runs from mid-February to April. Very little rain falls during these months and it is still warm but not too hot. Cape Town's weather is very good in autumn.
Winter lasts from May to July and is characterised in the higher-lying areas of the interior plateau by dry, sunny, crisp days and cold nights. The coastal regions are much warmer in winter. The hot, humid KwaZulu-Natal coast, as well as the Lowveld (lower-lying areas) of Mpumalanga and Limpopo provinces, have good winter weather with sunny, warmish days and virtually no wind or rain. The high mountains of the Cape and the Drakensberg in KwaZulu-Natal usually get snow.
The spring months are from August to mid-October. During this season, in the Cape provinces, thousands of small, otherwise insignificant plants cover the plains in an iridescent carpet of flowers.