Filming on Lake Tana the Source of the Blue Nile River

Filming on Lake Tana the source of the Blue Nile River

Lake Tana is the largest lake in Ethiopia and it is the main source of the Blue Nile. It is located in Amhara Region in the north-western Ethiopian Highlands.

There is much to film on Lake Tana and among the major features to include in the shoot itinerary include the dramatic Blue Nile falls and the thirty-seven islands scattered across the lake. The Lake is also home to remains of ancient Ethiopian emperors and treasures of the Ethiopian Church dating back to the 14th century, many of which are decorated with beautiful paintings and are culturally significant treasures.

The lake also offers great opportunity to film Hippos which are seen mostly near the Blue Nile outflow. It is also great for filming various fish species, there are 27 fish species in Lake Tana and 20 of these are endemic.

Those interested in filming birds in Ethiopia, Lake Tana is one of the best place, it is home to over 230 species of birds, including more than 80 wetland birds such as the great white pelican, African darter, hamerkop, storks, African spoonbill, ibis, ducks, kingfishers and African fish eagle, you will be able to film them easily given the lake is resting and feeding ground for many Palearctic migrant water birds.

filming Lake Tana

Requirements and permissions to film on Lake Tana

For filming in Ethiopia there are no specific set fees. Donations are often required for local assistance for local film fixer to help you all through during your shoot on Lake Tana. Some regional governments will charge location fees. In many cases, our fixer will need to travel to negotiate location fees in person. National parks fees are quite high, especially if filming aerial shots. Aerial filming in Ethiopia requires the pilot to have a flight permit from the Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority. Please contact us for more information on filming in specific locations in Ethiopia.

A foreigner wishing to shoot films in Ethiopia is required by law to submit his application to the office of Government Communication Affairs Office Foreign Media Accreditation not later than ten (10) days prior to the day on which he/she is due to commence filming, if you don’t want to hustle contact us and we help you all through the process of securing a filming permit in Ethiopia. The application shall contain, among other things, the purpose and title of the film, duration of the shooting and the exact location where it takes place and the total production cost of the film as well as the portion that will be used within Ethiopia.

The applicant should submit together with his application the following documents:

  • A copy of the film script along with its synopsis for feature films or synopsis for documentary films.
  • In case an Ethiopian personality is portrayed in the film as a character, a copy of a document of no objection from such person or his heirs, certified by an organ legally empowered to approve contracts and documents.
  • In case of a co-production by an Ethiopian and a foreigner, an agreement indicating the responsibilities and liabilities of each party.
  • The nationality of the filming crew, the passport number, the country issuing the passport, their permanent and temporary addresses as well as other information as may be required by the Office.
  • The Applicant should also attach on the application, The name of the company, The name, the passport number and the nationality of the filming crew, The purpose and title of the film, Duration of the shooting and exact location where it takes place, The production cost of the film and Name and Telephone of the contact person or organization in Ethiopia

The applicant is required to submit together with his application the following documents.

  • A copy of the film script along with its synopsis for feature films or synopsis for documentary films.
  • A list of equipment necessary for shooting film, in 3 copies.
  • One passport size photograph at arrival

A foreigner applying for shooting film in Ethiopia should also pay to the Office a permit fee, where an applicant wishes to use an aircraft for shooting a film; he should obtain a flight permit from the Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority. Contact us here for more information on aerial filming in Ethiopia.

Note

The permit and letter to the customs shall be issued immediately when the film crew members appear in person and sign an undertaking to adhere to the conditions of permit and respect the laws of the country.  Contact us here to help you secure a filming permit for Ethiopia, fees will be determine based on your filming location.

On top of the above you will need to cover accommodation, visa and work permits, transport and others for a successful shoot on Lake Tana as below;

Ethiopia Work permits and Visa Advice

You will need to purchase the tourist visa or a business visa. Many film crews prefer obtaining their visas before they come to Ethiopia this is the best way and you can get the e-visa through https://www.evisa.gov.et/ Also depending o your country of origin you can as well obtained a visa upon arrival at any entry point and in this case Addis Ababa Bole International Airport upon paying either US$52 for a single-entry visa with validity up to 30 days or US$72 for a single-entry visa with validity up to 90 days and you will be able to get it immediately. Contact a consulate near you or us here for more information about Visa application for Ethiopia.

Ethiopia Vehicle Hire Services

We will help you organize transport for film crews to film on Lake Tana depending on their interest, budget and the nature of roads in such selected locations to film in the park. We recommend Customized 4×4 Land Cruisers. For us to estimate how much it will cost in terms of fuel, we will need to look at your filming schedule to establish mileage and distance to be travelled. We also organize both charter and schedule air transport for those that need to fly in order to reduce on the number of drive hours to the Park. Contact us here.

Fixers in Ethiopia to help you film on Lake Tana

All our vehicles come with drivers who act as location fixers and most of them have been to almost all parts of Ethiopia and are thus conversant with the local situations and are able to provide relevant information and fix any situation on ground. These work as intermediaries between you and our office while on location on Lake Tana.

Where to stay during filming on Lake Tana

Lodge options to stay in during filming on Lake Tana range from Budget, mid-range to luxury options. You will choose what to stay in depending on your interests and budget. Contact us here for reservation and booking details.

What is the best time to film on Lake Tana?

Filming on Lake Tana is done throughout the year and the best time is during the months of October to May which is relatively dry than March April to September.

Why use Film crew fixers?

Film crew Fixers is a local fixer company in East Africa. We assist filming companies and Production agencies in Ethiopia. We handle all fixer services required with our professional team of local fixers and driver guides. We have all relevant connections with other service providers and government agencies in Ethiopia to make sure that accreditation and filming permits for filming in Ethiopia are processed in the shortest time possible. Contact us for details and all relevant information you would like to know for successful filming on Lake Tana.

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