WHAT OUR LOCAL FILM FIXERS HAVE TO SAY ABOUT FILMING ON LOCATION IN NORTH AFRICA
North Africa, region of Africa comprising the modern countries of Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt and Libya. The geographic entity North Africa has no single accepted definition. It has been regarded by some as stretching from the Atlantic shores of Morocco in the west to the Suez Canal and the Red Sea in the east, though this designation is more commonly referred to as northern Africa.
Over the next couple of weeks our location scouts will share insights into some of the most beautiful film locations in the world.
Marrakech is one of the most unusual film locations in North Africa. It is a labyrinth of twisty alleyways filled with an array of snake charmers, fortune tellers and spice sellers. The problem here isn’t the city: This city is a state-of-mind which invites the film maker to leave their structured daily routine behind and let the ebb and flow of Marrakech draw you deeper into its colourful chaos.
Start your location recce within the salmon-pink walls of the Medina of Marrakech, which contrasts with the white, jagged peaks of the nearby Atlas Mountains and serves as the inspiration for the city’s nickname, the Red City. This ancient part of Marrakech houses the famous Jemaa El Fna square that brims with food vendors selling everything from sheep’s heads to snails beneath creamy awnings. From here, allow yourself to be lured down the shadowy alleyways to souks (or markets) filled with cones of burgundy-, auburn- and citrine-hued spices exuding an aromatic haze. Stroll past the carpet sellers, with their cobalt-, jade-, and crimson-threaded merchandise, and make your way to architectural marvels like Koutoubia Mosque and the Bahia Palace. Should you desire a break from the medina’s bustling streets, retreat to a hammam (public bath) or Majorelle Garden.
Most film makers look to Egypt’s capital to film the wonders of the ancient world, following the footsteps of the pharaohs. But there are two sides to Cairo; the city’s residents embrace their history and rejoice in their progress. The ancient pyramids of Giza, Dahshur and Saqqara fight with the trendy bars of the Zamalek and Heliopolis neighbourhoods for spotlight. Honking taxi cabs vie for space with braying donkeys in the narrow streets. And the traditional Islamic call to prayer, lounge music and boisterous banter can be heard simultaneously. The only way to get a true sense of Cairo is to take the old with the new.
The desert heat, the noisy streets and the sheer size of Cairo will imprint a memory that will last forever on the entire film crew. The street vendors, the inescapable aroma of Egyptian cuisine and the seemingly chaotic way of life will joggle the senses. But be patient. Take some time to relax over a cup of tea, to wander the ancient streets and to watch the sun lower over the mighty Nile River. It won’t take long for the city’s treasures to reveal themselves
Algeria is among the best 10 countries in the world in terms of natural beauty and diversity.
Algiers, French Alger, Arabic Al-Jazāʾir, capital and chief seaport of Algeria. It is the political, economic, and cultural centre of the country. Situated on the west side of a bay of the Mediterranean Sea. The modern part of the city is built on the level ground by the seashore; the old part, the ancient city of the deys, climbs the steep hill behind the modern town and is crowned by the Casbah or citadel, 122 metres (400 ft) above the sea.
The Kasbah of Algiers, a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1992, is indeed one of the film locations that is certainly worth a recce. The splendid white washed houses and narrow streets still have an authentic feel despite the area being one of Algeria’s most popular tourist attractions.
Djémila, formerly known as Cuicul, is a small mountain village located 900m above sea level, near the northern coast east of Algiers. It competes with Timgad as the best of the Roman ruins in Algeria. With a range of temples, basilicas, triumphal arches and houses all in a stunning mountain setting, it lives up to the English translation of its name, which is ‘beautiful’.