Some 35 years after Mad Max first revved onto the silver screen, the motorhead hero made a comeback, with Tom Hardy in the driving seat. In Fury Road, lonesome desert rat Max Rockatansky is swept up in a battle between a warlord and fleeing rebels. Once again, it’s short on dialogue and big on action – which all takes place in a barren but beautiful landscape of sand dunes, canyons and parched riverbeds.
Like the original trilogy, Fury Road was supposed to be shot in Broken Hill, a remote mining town in New South Wales. But after two years of record rainfalls, flora had bloomed and it bore little resemblance to director George Miller’s post-apocalyptic vision. So he had his crew pack up 150 hand-built trucks, cars and bikes, and ship them to the west coast of Africa – to a place where it never rains: Namibia.
Dunes in Namib-Naukluft National Park
Namibia is the second most sparsely populated country on the planet (second only to Mongolia). It’s famous for towering sand dunes that come in a palette of colours from terracotta to palest cream.
After watching the havoc wrought by Miller’s high-octane stunts, you’d be forgiven for wondering if it was worth following in Max’s wake. Happily, no permanent damage was done. When the 1,700-strong crew and their five 8×8 former German military trans- port trucks departed, a second convoy spent three months restoring locations to their original beauty.
Follow in the Road Warrior’s tracks…
This 1,700m granite peak looms in the opening shots. Only experienced climbers should attempt it, but you can do some good walks in this area, and visit the rock paintings of the San people – indigenous hunter-gatherers.
When the armada of war vehicles speed through the desert, they’re driving through a vast expanse north of the holiday resort of Henties Bay. This is also where Max and Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron) engage in combat. You can do this very drive if you hire a 4×4 or dirt buggy.
NAMIB-NAUKLUFT NATIONAL PARK
The scene where the 18-wheeler “war rig” narrowly escapes being crushed by falling rocks was filmed in a canyon in Namibia’s largest national park, which is bigger than Switzerland. Most visitors head to Sossusvlei, a white salt and clay pan surrounded by red dunes – it’s spectacular when it turns into a lake during the rainy season.
The war rig breaks down on the salt pans near the harbour town of Walvis Bay. What you don’t see is the main local attraction: its lush lagoon, which is home to an enormous flock of flamingos.
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