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LUXURY ON LOCATION: Mad max
 

The Movie: Mad Max
The Location: Namibia 

 

Our correspondent Douglas (Rocky) McDonald worked as a stunt driver on the new Mad Max 4:Fury Road . Here are his despatches while on location back in 2012 (yes it takes that long for a movie to get to the cinema screen)

Hi I'm working on Fury Road (Mad Max 4), in case you have forgotten! I am due to finish up around November 5. So just over 6 weeks to go and starting the countdown to getting home. Pretty excited by that.



The vehicles - trucks, cars and bikes do look pretty amazing (pretty important since they are the main design focus of the film) though some of them are better to look at than to drive.  I am always driving the same car "buggy 7", which is an old off road racer with an even older Austin A7 body stuck on top. A cheeky reference to my English background! The idea is that your car is your 'life', a bit like the cowboy and his horse in westerns. I am bonding well with my car!

The film is going well with 2 units shooting concurrently. On Sunday, we saw a rough edit of some of the stuff we have shot so far. It does look pretty good and the locations really work.

We are based in a seaside town called Swakopmund, which is on the west coast of Namibia. All locations are pretty much within an hour of town. Swakopmund is quite pleasant and quaint with it's mix of German, English and modern architecture and has a population of about 55 000. 

 
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Mad Max Namibia
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Namibia

This place is very isolated and surrounded by desert and sand dunes to the east and the Atlantic to the west, which is why we are here in the first place. It is growing pretty quickly though due to mining interests and developing tourism and there is a lot of development and building going on. No tall buildings though, with nothing above 4 stories, which is a good thing. We have boosted the population by about 1000+! Yes, it is a very large cast and crew

Was staying in a hotel but now have a fairly decent apartment in town. 

Have played golf a couple of times on the course just out of town. 

Good for a hit and a giggle but the course could do with having some serious money spent on it to make it really worthwhile. The springbok which graze on the fairways seem to love it though and provide an appreciative gallery.

Been horse riding in the desert. Very pleasant and a good horse to boot. As usual a couple of people lied about their ability to ride, which always proves amusing.

Quad biking over the sand dunes. Great fun ripping it up over the dunes and they are big. Just have to be careful because some have some serious drops on the other side. Fortunately you have a guide who keeps you on the right track and also that you don't get lost! They all look the same after a while!

Kayaking with the seals. Did this on Sunday morning. There is a seal colony at the next town - Walvis Bay, which is half an hour away. A lot of fun. They basically surround your kayak and keep you entertained fully. They make a lot of noise - sometimes sounding like sheep! Also saw dolphins out and about. A few black backed jackals floating around on the shore having a feed on an unfortunate seal pup here and there.

Was put on 'hold' for a couple of weeks a while back, which basically means you are not required for work but you are on half pay and you can go do what you want.

I went on a big road trip with another stunt friend covering just over 4000kms in 9 days round Namibia and only suffering 1 puncture, which isn't bad because more than half of that was done on dirt roads.

We headed south to start with, to the stunning red sand dunes of Soussevlei and Deadvlei, then down to the South African border, with a slight detour to Luderitz, a town on the south coast of Namibia. We travelled along the Orange River, our side of the border, to Ai-Ais Springs at the bottom of Fish River Canyon. Then up to the top of Fish River Canyon, which is supposedly the second largest canyon after the Grand Canyon. Very impressive and also bloody cold when we were there. 

Only looked from the top, though you can trek the canyon at the bottom, approx 90kms and 5 days!

From there to Windhoek, the capital, for a night. Had a look round the next morning and then onto Nannkuse, which is a lodge and wildlife sanctuary made famous recently by Brad and Angeline, and now by myself and Matt, my traveling buddy. I wanted to go there because of its association with cheetahs. Basically they look after orphaned and injured animals, treat and rehabilitate them and then release them back into the wild where possible. Brilliant, even getting to go in the enclosure with the cheetahs and patting them! They are more like dogs than cats.

The baboons were amazing too. There were about 15 orphaned baboons in the compound up to about 18 months old. You had to empty your pockets before going in because they will pickpocket you very quickly. They were all over us and would jump from one person to another. We were in with them for about half an hour and it was quite exhausting. Marlice (the lady who runs the sanctuary at Naankuse) had named them all and would talk to them.

Then we drove up to the north and Etosha National Park. This was the only place we spent 2 nights! This is a very big park bordered by a giant salt pan and you just can't cover it in a day. Saw lots of animals including springbok, kudu, wildebeast, other bouncy things, zebras by the herd, giraffe, elephant (up very close and personal), lions, caracals, jackals, rhinos (unfortunately asleep under trees), plus others. Very cool again. Still want to do some more with the animals and fortunately there is another private game reserve closer to Swakopmund, which a few of us are going to do for a weekend shortly.

Weather starting to warm up a bit now compared to when I first came over in June, when it was cold. Still get a lot of fog particularly in the morning. When we are out in the desert sometimes it is sunny and nice and on other occasions it can be bitter. That can get a little testy because a lot of the guys are out there with no shirts, on motorbikes, hanging off cars, etc

Namibia is definitely worth a visit because there is so much to see and it isn't over crowded with tourists. Only found one place doing really good coffee but food good and alcohol cheap.


Posted 11/5/15

Our correspondent Douglas (Rocky) McDonald worked as a stunt driver on the new Mad Max 4:Fury Road . Here are his despatches while on location back in 2012 (yes it takes that long for a movie to get to the cinema screen)8
Our correspondent Douglas (Rocky) McDonald worked as a stunt driver on the new Mad Max 4:Fury Road . Here are his despatches while on location back in 2012 (yes it takes that long for a movie to get to the cinema screen)8
Our correspondent Douglas (Rocky) McDonald worked as a stunt driver on the new Mad Max 4:Fury Road . Here are his despatches while on location back in 2012 (yes it takes that long for a movie to get to the cinema screen)8
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