Filming Locations in Kenya

Kenya Film & Photography Production Services

Are you a media company, brand, ad agency or production company looking for film/photography production support or shooting crew in Kenya? We have fully vetted, locally based fixers, service producers, directors, DP’s, videographers, camera operators, photographers, sound operators, production drivers, and a range of other film crew. Contact us for referrals, questions, cost estimates, and references. Want to know more about shooting in Kenya? See below for an introduction to Kenya locations, permits, when to shoot, costs, talent, crews, equipment, art department, studios, post facilities, visas and work permits, film friendly hotels, transport, communications, and safety advice.

Kenya Film Locations

Kenya is gifted with a diversity of film locations, including bustling city streets, snow-capped mountains, dormant volcanoes, rainforests, waterfalls, lakes, savannah, deserts, fishing villages, and beautiful beaches. 

Kenya has hosted productions including, The Constant Gardener, Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life, Sense, and Out of Africa.

Nairobi

Nairobi is the capital and the main entry point by air into Kenya. The city is a major African economic center and a hub for filming across East Africa. Within a 1 hour drive from Nairobi, you can find a busy business district, industrial neighborhoods, urban slums, rural areas, farms, colonial houses, and wildlife parks. Nairobi National Park is located on the outskirts of the city. It offers photographers shots of giraffes roaming a savannah with a modern city skyline backdrop. Giraffe Manor is located nearby, as is the Karen Blixen Museum.

Central Region

Just north of Nairobi, Kenya’s high hill country is home to mountain peaks, spectacular waterfalls, remote alpine moors, tea, and coffee plantations.

Mount Kenya National
Park is home to rare species of animals as well as spectacular lakes, mineral springs, deep forests, and snow-capped mountains. Mount Kenya is Africa’s second tallest peak. 

Aberdare National Park’s picturesque forested ravines and open moorland are home to a variety of African flora and fauna. 

Mount Longonot National Park is home to the extinct volcano of Mount Longonot. A dense forest lies within the crater of the mountain. The park has sweeping views of the Rift Valley. 

Meru National Park is knowns for its jungle, rivers, swamp, grasslands, and termite cathedrals. 

Mwea National Reserve is a savannah ecosystem home to Acacia and Baobab trees, and a diversity of African wildlife. 

Ol Donyo Sabuk National Park is a mountain forest known for its birdlife. 

Dedan Kimathi Wildlife Conservancy is located in this region. 

Ngare Ndare Forest has an interesting canopy walk and is home to the big five (buffalo, elephants, lions, leopards, and rhinos). 

Waterfalls of note include Thomson’s Falls and Fourteen Falls.

Nyanza & Western Regions

This part of Kenya is best known for Lake Victoria, Africa’s largest lake. The densely populated Migingo island is a small fishing village in Lake Victoria. 

Other locations of interest to visiting productions include Kisumu Impala Sanctuary, Kisumu Main Market, Dunga village, Ndere Island National Park, Ruma National Park, Mt Elgon National Park, Kakamega Forest National Reserve, Saiwa Swamp National Park, and Kit Mikayi which featured in Lupita Ny’ongo’s Vogue USA shoot.

Rift Valley

Maasai Mara National Reserve is home to the red-cloaked Maasai people, the ancestral inhabitants of the region. Each year from July to October, the Great Migration takes place with thousands of wildebeest, zebra, and Thomson’s gazelle traveling to and from the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania. Lions, leopards, and cheetahs lie in wait. 

Amboseli National Park has views of Tanzania’s Mount Kilimanjaro. Amboseli is one of the best places to film large herds of elephants up close.

Other parks of note include Hells Gate National Park and Rimoi National Reserve. 

Lake Nakuru National Park is home to thousands of pink flamingos living in its alkaline waters. 

Lake Turkana is the world’s largest desert lake. Lake Magadi is a pink lake. Other lakes of note include Lake Naivasha and Lake Bogoria. 

Menengai Crater is a spectacular film location in the Rift Valley. 

The High Altitude Training Centre is located in Iten.

Eastern & North Eastern Regions

Samburu, Shaba, and Buffalo Springs National Reserves border one another in the dry landscape of North Central Kenya. Wildlife of note includes elephant, giraffe, leopard, zebra, and ostriches. The Samburu people live in this area.

Tsavo East National Park and Tsavo West National Park are among the oldest and largest parks in Kenya.

Coast

East Africa’s busiest port, Mombasa is a steamy, shabby, and run-down city. Film locations of note in or near the town include Fort Jesus, Old Town, Pembe Za Ndovu (Mombassa Tusks), Haller Park, Mombasa Marine National Park, and Reserve, Nyali each, Bamburi Beach, Diani Beach, Shimba Hills National Reserve, and Nguni Nature Sanctuary.

Lamu Island is a crucial film location known for its winding alleyways, historic mosques, Arab houses, and traditional Dhows sailing around the area. Settlements of note include Lamu Town, Shela, Matondoni, and Kipungani. 

Kisite-Mpunguti Marine National Park and Reserve is known for its colorful coral reefs and
diversity of sea life.

Kenya Film Location Permits 

Kenya Film License. A filming license must be obtained through a local, registered production service provider and issued by the Department of Film Services (DFS). The cost varies depending on the type of production and the number of shoot days. A film license can take anywhere from 1 to 3 days to process. Once this is processed, our Kenyan fixer/service producer can go ahead and arrange all other permits.

Kenya Location Permits. Location permits are issued by the various regional and local government bodies. These usually take from 1-7 days to permit depending on the complexity of the shoot. More remote locations may require the producer/fixer to travel to the specific county to negotiate permission in person. There are very few set fees for locations so a good fixer/producer is essential. Shooting in the Nairobi business district or on city streets requires an additional permit. Shutting city streets requires at least 2 weeks to permit, inform the public, and arrange police assistance. Additional clearances may be required by NEMA (Environment), CID (National Security), and other government agencies should you wish to film in sensitive zones and/or use explosives, fireworks, etc. Note, drone filming is not permitted in Kenya. Please contact us for location-specific information.

When To Shoot?

Kenya sits on the equator, so it’s never really too hot or too cold in Nairobi. The long rains come in March and April, and the short rains begin in October and November. Best to avoid planning any shoot during the rainy season if the script is weather specific. The long storms can be very intense, with power outages and travel delays common during that time. The Great Migration is best photographed in the late dry season when animals congregate around water sources. For monthly weather statistics, please see.

Kenyan festivals and events of interest to filmmakers and photographers include: 

• Lake Turkana Festival in May / June. 
• Maulidi Festival in May / June on Lamu Island.
• International Camel Derby Festival in August just outside of Maralal.
• Mombasa Carnival in November.
• Lamu Cultural Festival in November.

Public holidays may affect timing, availability and costs.

Costs & Tax Incentives

Costs. Kenya is a relatively cost-efficient place to film a diversity of African looks, especially for larger shoots that require a secure local film infrastructure. Overall, local costs are comparable to Tanzania. Our Kenyan service producer/fixer will negotiate local deals and provide the appropriate level of production support to match every budget.

Tax Incentives. Currently, Kenya does not offer any incentives. However, some production service providers have registered EPZ companies, and this allows them to waive the 16% VAT applicable to all other service providers. It should be noted that, given enough lead time, most service providers can negotiate with local authorities and suppliers to minimize tax.

Visas & Work Permits

The foreign crew typically enter Kenya on a tourist visa, which most nationalities can pick up on arrival. Alternatively, the team can apply online for visas in advance. Visas are valid for up to 90 days. Proof of yellow fever vaccination may be asked for on entry to Kenya.

The Kenyan fixer/service producer will organize Special Passes for each visiting crew member, which will serve as temporary work permits. These take approximately two weeks to a month to process, so the applications must be filed well in advance of crew arrival.

Kenya has an agreement with Tanzania and Uganda to waiver visa re-entry fees if traveling between the three countries.

CREDIT https://emergefilmsolutions.com/

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