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Chapman's Peak Drive - Dramatic Film Location in South Africa

April 25, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 169

Chapman's Peak Drive, a stunning and scenic route along the Cape Peninsula outside Cape Town, is a road that defies the odds. Carved into almost sheer cliffs at several points, it is a tourist attraction in itself, offering one of the most dramatic ocean drives in the world. It was built to link the fishing village of Hout Bay with Noordheok and complete the ambitious dream of a road circumnavigating the whole peninsula, back in the early days of the 20th century when engineers attempted the impossible and won.

Chapman's Peak drive has been used as a film location in so many commercials and movies that South African ex-pats on the other side of the world are no longer surprised to catch glimpses of their homeland in the latest car advert. Scarcely a month goes by when an international film crew isn't filming on location here, perhaps with remote control helicopters to capture even more dramatic shots of a car chase around hair-raising hair-pin bends with precipitous drops to the ocean below.

It seems an unlikely place to even think of building a road, with at least a mile of perpendicular cliffs descending straight into rocky ocean floor to deal with, but the newly appointed Administrator of the Cape, Sir Frederick de Waal, loved nothing more than a road building challenge and construction began in 1915. Mining surveyor Charl Marais was engaged to determine a possible solution and he discovered that the mountainside was composed of a base of solid granite with horizontal layers of softer sandstone and shale above. This softer rock could be excavated and the granite would make a solid base for the road to be constructed upon. The work was dangerous, involving workers being secured by ropes and dangling over sheer drops as they placed charges for dynamiting the route. They were in constant danger from rock falls and landslides, but in the end they triumphed. The new road was finally opened in 1922 and remains to this day a monument to man's tenacity in overcoming obstacles.

Chapman's Peak Drive had a set-back in 2000 when severe rock falls closed it for several years and doubts were raised about its future safety and the costs of keeping it open. It was made into a toll road when it re-opened in 2003 and extensive extra safety measures were taken to guard against further rock falls, which are most frequently caused by heavy rain and extreme weather conditions. Temporary closures are enforced from time to time in bad weather, but for the most part it is open to any locals using it as a shortcut, or tourists enjoying scenic drives and picnics with inspiring ocean views, and of course the regular film crews using the beautiful setting to enhance a new Mercedes or BMW at this most memorable of film locations in South Africa.

Prinz Productions offers premier stills and film production services based in Cape Town, South Africa. Browse their locations in South Africa or contact them directly for more options. Specialising in South Africa, Portugal and Mauritius, they also offer production services worldwide.

Source: EzineArticles
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