While the interior of South Africa is a vast and flat scrubland, drier towards the northwest, South Africa also has a coastline stretching over 2'500 km, and most of the South African photo productions actually take place near Cape Town, which benefits from luxuriant vegetation and a mountainous scenery towering over the beautiful coastline.
South Africa is located in the Southern Hemisphere, allowing American and European companies to shoot their summer collections in real summer conditions while winter still rules in America and Europe. European companies additionally enjoy no time difference with South Africa and no jet lag.
The local currency, the Rand, is weak compared to the Dollar, Euro or Pound, so South Africa is very cost-effective for international photo productions.
Given these numerous advantages, no wonder South Africa has developed a mature photo production industry of international standard. It is therefore not necessary to fly in a good part of the photo production crew and top class digital equipment and lighting are available locally as well.
See also Solar Productions and photo production in Cape Town