Jump to content

Rental houses in Africa


Recommended Posts

Strongly suggest bringing your own gear.  I worked in Kenya years ago and had to rent and it was a bit tough.

I found some good people- and not so good..  The fixer was not so good and did not confirm the rental or was

not telling us the truth-- and in the end, the gear i really wanted was already hired out in Ethiopia...  and what was avail

was very substandard.  


Loved Kenya-- have a good time!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm with Mr Gooch on this, not because I have any experience in Africa, but when working internationally as I have a few times,

I would always recommend bringing your own equipment (assuming you have a kit). A Carnet makes international travelling with gear workable. Oftentimes your producer can get a Carnet for sound, and camera in the same document.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was in Kenya last March right when coronavirus was starting to strike back home in America.  Let me reiterate, you're not going to find any proper sound gear in Kenya.  Hell, we only had electricity from 6am-6pm while there even which made charging things a bit of a scramble.  YMMV but I'd bring backups with you of anything you have because you'd have to overnight anything you'd need and even that turns into several days if you're outside of Nairobi like I was as we could only get gear flown in twice a week if we needed it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 minute ago, Neil Bliss said:

On this subject, if you're bringing your own equipment on this sort of a job, are there any customs forms you'd need to fill out ahead of time to avoid problems when you're bringing your gear back into the US?

A carnet.  But here's another thing, you're also going to have to most likely pay a bribe at the Nairobi airport.  Literally our fixer had us budget for that as there's officials there in the baggage area who will not let you continue on without paying them off.  I think we had to pay the guy $300.  I even saw them make a church group of older folks pay $50 because they brought a wifi router to give to some rural school.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Every time we arrived in Kenya- we had a guy meet us who knew the the ins and outs of customs-- each time it was the same guy and he was hired- no payoffs..  All handshakes and smiles....  Coming into Kenya with any kind of sketchiness is not recommended-  Have everything buttoned down.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Same here.

We entered easily with a small sound bag, boom, mics and wireless.

No carnet - just tourist visa.


Bring spare cables and be prepared for longer periods without recharging possibility.


It depends highly where you are, though. I always carry big power banks, which will give me 3 days of constant power.


I always enjoyed working there!

I'm also in Tanzania right now. Man it's hot here!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Depending on how much equipment you need, sound mixer Daniel Chu Owen lives in Nairobi and owns his own kit.  Unsure if he normally rents it out but it's an option if you're stuck or need backups while there.   He's a good friend of mine from when we both lived and worked in the UK. A good man and actually first taught me location sound recording!! 


On 1/24/2021 at 8:49 AM, Corrado said:

Hi everyone ! I'm about to start a job in Kenya and I've been told that there are no rental houses there . Does anyone know if there are nearby areas provided with a well equipped audio rentals that can ship gear ? Thank you very much 


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Make sure you have plenty of paperwork, in duplicates - they will want to know the value of what you're bringing - be creative. A good fixer can help you in customs. Note - Kenya has a list of approved fixers they allow, and they are very expensive. If you have any gear sent in (strongly recommend against this unless absolutely necessary, the airport is a zoo) make sure it is documented as "rental" not purchase as the duties are very high. Customs guys there google gear prices to make sure you're not putting one over on them. On your gear, make sure they know its very used... Other than terrible traffic in Nairobi, Kenya, it's a great place. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi, I now go to Kenya regularly since 2017 (I did Wanuri Kahiu's "Rafiki" feature film).

Indeed there is unfortunately no proper sound gear for a feature gig in Kenya nor anywhere in East Africa. We rented and have it all freight from France then, and same for another feature in Tanzania a year ago.

When you ask around local colleagues you can find some stuff for TV jobs or documentary but not really proper radio mikes for instance. A couple of sound devices recorders (633) and pro mikes can be found. I have my own gear for docs though so I don't really need to but I have rented a Neumann KU100 head (!) once from a very good music and postprod studio (SupersonicAfrica). Also a friend in Kigali, Rwanda, is starting to be well equipped but he does not really rent out.

However there is a good rental place for cameras, lights and grip, and they are affiliated to Panavision: Kenya Grip and Sparks

I am trying to partner with them to open a sound gear rental department but it is a long process...


Regarding customs I have been going to Kenya always with my own gear (2 pelicases+suitcase) and never even once had a problem nor had to pay any bribe. For the features gear the production hired a clearance professional that did a great job. Probably the same guy John is mentioning. His name is Kapeesh but I do not have his details. Could ask for it though if needed.

Oh and Kenya does not recognized ATA carnet (not part of the countries who signed the convention)... Hence the need for hiring a clearance professional.


Finally, to answer about rental in "Africa"  (well it is a big and complex continent, not just one country, I suggest you change the title of the post for at least East Africa), the only real professional film sound gear renting place I know on the whole continent is in Cape Town, South Africa, and although cost of freight will end up the same as from overseas, it is worth getting in touch with them:  http://www.stratosphere.co.za/

Ask for Jeff Hodd, he knows his stuff.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

For those who have not used a Carnet before, they can be rather expensive and I have always found that getting them signed from departure at LAX and at ingest points

to be a huge PITA. Many times in Africa, officials won't even know what a Carnet is and you have to explain it to them and they then regard your suspiciously. I've used

Carnets to go to Brazil, Morocco, Tunisia and South Africa, I have not shot in Kenya.

A Carnet, from the U.S. perspective ostensibly, is also to prevent users from going abroad and purchasing black or grey market goods at a steep discount and entering with it back to the U.S. and not paying

taxes and duty, something that really isn't worth doing anymore, although people used to do that a lot in the 60s-80s when grey market was more of a thing. You must make sure that EVERY item you leave

with is listed accurately on the Carnet along with serial numbers. A production assistant we had in the U.S. once gota few serial numbers wrong and it was a nightmare getting U.S. Customs in LA to sign it

as we almost missed our flight to Paris to catch our Air Maroc flight to Rabat. The delays to deal with the Carnet can take hours and if you leave with one and don't get the signatures and stamps at your destination

country, that too can play havoc when you get back home. Carnets, for small production, are a nightmare. For large production, the Production Supervisor or other crew, that becomes their sole

job for transportation as it's a whole thing in itself.

Also, you must build into your schedule extra hours to hunt down the proper office and personnel to sign it, usually, but not always at the airport, both here in the U.S. and in your destination country. Overall, I would

not bother with a Carnet for a small sound gear package, it's just not worth the hassle. If you are bringing lots of cases, lights, multiple cameras, grip gear, you have to get a Carnet. If you are bringing one backpack or

a couple of small Pelicans, be a tourist, not a pro and don't bother. Carnets have caused me much stress and hassle multiple times on many trips abroad.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...