3 must-watch travel movies set in Africa

Let’s go on an adventure, let’s see the ‘king of the jungle’ in his natural habitat… let’s go to Africa.

When people think of Africa they usually think of only two things: colonialism and wildlife. If they think about the first then the next step would be politics, followed by Nelson Mandela and the fight for freedom, and lastly they think of corruption and war. If they think of the latter, the first thing that might come to mind is The Lion King or Tarzan.

In the words of Mufasa: “Everything you see exists together in a delicate balance. As king, you need to understand that balance and respect all the creatures, from the crawling ant to the leaping antelope.”

Most people search the internet for everything they can about their holiday destination and then watch a movie about that destination or country to get in the spirit of things. Below we have our top three movies that involve travelling in Africa, so before going on your next vacation or safari, take a moment to watch these movies and really take in what you’re about to experience.

Number one on our list is none other than ‘Out of Africa’, which released in 1985 and directed by Sydney Pollack, starring Meryl Streep, Robert Redford and Klaus Maria Brandauer. The film is based on the book, by the same name, written by Karen Blixen. It is set in 20th-century colonial Kenya and follows the life of Karen Blixen, a Danish baroness who moves to Kenya with her husband to start a coffee plantation. With growing problems both at home and on the plantation, Karen falls in love and has a passionate love affair with Denys Finch-Hatton, a free-spirited big-game hunter.

Out of Africa

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The film was shot on location in Africa near the Ngong Hills outside Nairobi, Kenya, but local laws prohibited the use of wild animals in film so trained lions had to be imported from California. The film won 7 Oscars and 3 Golden Globe Awards, to mention a few.

Number two on our list is ‘Gorillas in the Mist’, which was released in 1988 and stars Sigourney Weaver, Bryan Brown, and Julie Harris. The film was originally titled ‘Gorillas in the Mist: The Story of Dian Fossey and was directed by Michael Apted. Set in a Rwandan jungle, the film tells the story of Dian Fossey, a scientist from Kentucky who, after being inspired by anthropologist Louis Leakey, came to Africa to study the vanishing mountain gorillas. After studying them at close quarters, Fossey becomes obsessed with the well-being of the gorillas and fights to protect them.


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The director made use of both gorilla suits and real gorillas in the film. The film won 6 awards including a Golden Globe Award and a BAFTA Film Award.

Number three on our list is ‘The White Massai’, which was released in 2005 and stars Nina Hoss, Jacky Ido, and Katja Flint. The film was originally released in Germany under the title ‘Die weisse Massai’, and is based on the true life events and novel,by the same name, written by Corinne Hofmann. It is set mainly in an area near Barsaloi, a small village in northern Kenya, hundreds of miles away from Mombasa, and tells the story of a Carola Lehmann. During the last days of her two-week vacation in Kenya with her boyfriend, she becomes infatuated with a Samburu warrior. Instead of returning to Switzerland at the end of her vacation, she decides to seek out this warrior, who is in fact the Masai of his tribe.


Image Source: http://www.cdcun.com/media/movies/312.pic.1034.jpg

During the entire shoot of the film, the cast and crew lived in tents among the Samburu, they even studied their language and customs. The film won a Bavarian Film Award and was also nominated for the Golden Kinnaree Award.

There you have it, our top three travel movies that involve Africa, but what list would be complete without a few special mentions. For those who want to see some actual wildlife before their trip, you can watch some films like ‘The Last Lions’, ‘Beautiful People’ or just switch over to National Geographic; and if you’re looking for something for the kids there is of course ‘The Lion King’, ‘Tarzan’ or ‘Madagascar’.

So before booking your next 14-day Cape Town, Safari and Victoria Falls package or 7-day Sanbona Safari and Cape Town package, watch one of these great movies and really get into the African-spirit.

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