THE FILM INDUSTRY IN KENYA
Kenya has long been a popular destination for filmmakers with the readily accessible wildlife, spectacular landscapes and traditional cultures making it the perfect cinematic setting for a range of productions including the Academy Award winning Out of Africa, the real-life murder mystery White Mischief, and, more recently, To walk with the lions, the biopic of famed conservationist George Adamson.
Kenya has hosted over 80 international films: they include Out of Africa, King Solomon’s Mines, Born Free, Rise and Fall of Idi Amin, Mugambo, The Wilby Conspiracy, Master of the Game, The Colour Purple (second unit), Kitchen Toto, Cry Freedom (second unit), White Mischief, The Life of Hemmingway, Besieged, Forbidden Territory, Constant Gardener, White Maasai, Congo (second unit), I Dreamed of Africa (second unit) and To Walk With Lions.
KENYA’S SCENIC LOCATIONS
Kenya is a country of breath-taking and magical beauty. There is superlative scenery and romantic views ranging from the palm fringed white sand beaches at the coast, the coral reefs, the mangrove swamps along the river delta and then the Tsavo, a pure wilderness incorporating the savannah, ranges and hills, stark lava flows, conical volcanoes, precious stones, acacia and montane forest and the fascinating Lugard falls where white water rages through a series of spectacular rock formations.
The Tsavo also has the volcanic Mzima springs, which produce 50 million gallons of fresh sparkling water daily. There is even an underwater observatory that gives an incredible view of the crystal clear under-water world brimming with hippos. All through the Shimba hills and the Chyulu hills to the Amboseli, it is all a feast for the eyes. The wide dry plains of the Amboseli, where horizons stretch to be one with the sky, offer a real beautiful view of the Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest peak, especially seen in the early dawn as the elephants cross the plains and the mountain is a dark hue of purple and its snow an ethereal pink.
The doulm palms silhouetted against the deep red sunsets as leopards emerge to hunt in the Samburu… The arid north where the Ewaso Nyiro, a picturesque life-giving artery flows through spectacular country set against a backdrop of the mighty mountain of Olokwe… the riverine forest offering a stark contrast to the arid northern studded plains… This hot, sparsely populated vast, trackless expanse of desert and semidesert wilderness is a place of harsh and stunning beauty. From Maralal, the frontier town to the North, through Marsabit, a beautiful oasis of green set above the desert floor, emerges the stunning cliffs, ranges and thorn scrub where the nomadic tribes traverse with their camel trains on pre-determined routes as old as time itself.
Kenya straddles the center of the Great Rift Valley, that vast prehistoric fissure that stretches from Jordan to Mozambique. It is lined with a series of fresh water and soda based volcanic lakes. These include the Papyrus fringed Lake Naivasha, a bird watchers paradise; the pink carpet of Lake Nakuru; the steam geysers of Bogoria, described as the most beautiful view in Africa; Lake Baringo a haven of peace and beauty with its crocodiles and hippos; Lake Turkana, the longest lake in Africa with its many crocodiles and prehistoric fossil and Lake Magadi with its salt flats and volcanic springs.
The great range of forests from the coastal, through the central high montane to the thick, wet rainforest of the west offer the
filmmaker a wide range of options. These include the Kakamega thick equatorial jungle in Western Kenya, the Aberdares salient forests and moorlands in central Kenya, the Arabuko Sokoke at the Coast and the Mt. Kenya forests in the shadow of Kenya’s highest peak with its glaciers, caves and moorlands.
The western green highlands have excellent viewpoints and so is the Mt. Elgon on the Ugandan border, a spectacular, craggy mountain. The Loroghi hills offer a remarkable view from “the world’s end” while the Shimba hills allow you a view all the way to the Indian Ocean.
The dormant Longonot crater and the Taita Hills also offer wonderful views of the surrounding areas. Kenya speaks of a country generously endowed by God.
Kenya’s primary filming attractions are nature based which include wildlife, beaches at the coast, the physical landscape and the cultures, which offer, immense opportunities for a filmmaker seeking the perfect filming location.