andy serkis

Location scout: Andy Serkis on South Africa

“The location was vital in terms of getting Mowgli right: that was one of the big reasons we went over there. The movie is set in colonial India, and it was important to try and replicate that as much as we could. We took over an entire village in South Africa just outside of Durban. It was a lot of effort and cost, but in my eyes, totally worth it.

South Africa has some of the best wildlife in the world, and I’m passionate about the use of animals in film. There is no need for it – with the level of computer advances these days I can’t see one valid reason for it. We hear about the issues wildlife are facing – but when you are in places like South Africa you really get how serious it is.

I had no idea of this before I went, but Durban is the largest Indian city outside of India. You see so much of that influence and culture in the city, which is fascinating. Go to the markets in the Indian District, as well as check out some of the exhibits on Gandhi, who actually spent quite a lot of time working in Durban.

When you are at dinner order the best wine on the menu. South Africa is one of the leading suppliers of quality wine in the world, and by the time these wines get to London, New York etc you are paying hundreds of pounds or dollars for a bottle. Over here, you are getting it for a fraction of the price.

Like so much of South Africa there is such beautiful scenery. I don’t think there is a better driving holiday destination in the world. Rent a car, a convertible if you can, and just keep stopping at the hundreds of stunning views.

I was working so I didn’t have much time to enjoy the beach – but they have “The Golden Mile” which is a stunning stretch of beach pretty much in the city. It’s massively popular for surfing, jogging and cycling.

Durban has a healthy Tiger and Zambezi shark population, and there are various things you can do there to get close to these magnificent creatures. The KZN shark board is working hard promoting the relationship between humans and sharks, and there are a lot of ethical trips you can do there. Shark attacks are incredibly rare in Durban, and that’s down to all the effort they are putting into education.”

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