Cape Town winter location for your next shoot in South Africa? Jokingly referred to as the southern-most point of Europe, the Cape Town that tourists know is renowned for hot, dry summers – but we do forget about the howling winds that make television production a nightmare. But just as winter is hibernation time anywhere in the world, Cape Town is no exception – with cold fronts rolling over the tip of Africa, creating sets of cold, wet weather. But it is not all doom and gloom – far from it.
Because there is a lot of merit in the ‘Secret Season’ that Cape Town marketers have espoused. Because between those cold fronts, a good Cape Town fixer will introduce you to the hidden treasures. Here are 5 good reasons to consider winter in Cape Town and the Western Cape for your next production.
1. Weather is good – seriously
Yes, it rains in Cape Town in winter – and it even snows on the odd occasion. But between those fronts that move over the Western Cape, there are glorious days with sunshine, blue skies and windless conditions – and the most glorious sunrises and sunsets. Sneak fact – it is winter, so the nights are longer and the days are shorter, so crew gets to sleep in a bit more!
In fact, there are more ‘good’ days than bad days. The trick is to have a flexible itinerary or a backup plan – so if the weather turns, it does not disrupt production. Let’s face it, while Cape Town may run out of water, but never wine – and what goes best with cold weather and a roaring fire?
2. Cape Town in winter is affordable
Cape Town is a ‘feast or famine’ film location. In summer the accommodation is at a premium and expensive, and the same applies to vehicles, restaurants. And not just that – availability becomes a big issue. When you are managing big crews, it can become a major budgetary drain. In winter, on the other hand, it is completely the opposite. Accommodation and all other demand-driven commodities like vehicles are seriously affordable. It goes without saying that you can get the same accommodation at a fraction of the price and all other commodities and logistics are a fraction of the high season rates – and everything is very negotiable – if you have the right Cape Town fixer, they will work wonders with your budget. So if you have a tight budget, and want the want the best bang for your buck without compromising on quality, consider Cape Town in winter.
3. Cape Town in winter can mean snow on the mountains
It takes one severe cold front to turn Cape Town into a winter wonderland. The mountains surrounding the mother city become covered in snow, with impassable passes and spectacular white-outs. The Cedarberg mountains, Matroosberg, and towns like Ceres are beautiful. And then the sun comes out it really turns into paradise. A cinematographer’s dream, and your Cape Town fixer will be able to show you this potential.
4. Cape Town in winter is breathtaking
Whilst the famed Cape Town winelands of Stellenbosch, Franschhoek, Paarl, Hemel en Aarde and others are not laden with grapes, they put on new clothing for winter – the equally beautiful browns and golds that catch the sun and create wonderful landscapes and vistas.
And it is not just the Western Cape winelands that put their best foot forward in winter. For some reason, the skies are bluer, and the rains bring out the greenery – turning the Cape Town locations into something magic. And lest we forget, there are the wonderful Southern Right Whales that put on a show for you in Hermanus – every winter. Reason enough to visit!
5. Cape Town in winter is not busy
If you have filmed in Cape Town in summer, you know how hectic it can be. Traffic is a nightmare, the city is overfull – courtesy of the thriving tourism industry. Locations are overbooked, and expensive – and throw a stone and you will probably hit a film crew. And hiring gear can be tricky if you need specific equipment. Speaking as a Cape Town fixer as well, permits and approvals are a breeze in the off-season – and try hire crew at short notice!
Winter in Cape Town is the opposite – you pretty much have the town to yourself. Traffic is manageable, and people actually want your business – from locations to equipment hire companies.
The Cape Town location is globally acknowledged as one of the hotspots on the production spectrum – attracting diverse crews covering a multitude of topics and genres from music videos to blockbuster Hollywood extravaganzas. Between the City and the greater Western Cape region, with the magnificent mountain ranges and Cape Town winelands, it offers a smorgasbord of options when it comes to locations. But the good news is you do not need to cram it into the summer months. Consider a Cape Town location in winter – it may just be the best decision you make.