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Alan Ritchson’s Guide to Cape Town, South Africa

The Blood Drive star talks moving to the “Mother City” for his first starring role

For most working actors, travel is part of the job. Whether they’re auditioning between coasts or flying to film in exotic locations, a valid passport and a go-with-the-flow attitude are keys to working in Hollywood. Actor Alan Ritchson knows this better than most: his latest gig took him from tinsel town to Cape Town, South Africa.

Ritchson stars in Blood Drive, a new show on Syfy about an apocalyptic future where cars run on human blood. In the vein of 70s grindhouse films, and revivals like Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof, the show’s high speed and gore are a departure for Ritchson, who previously appeared in Blue Mountain State and Hunger Games. It’s also the first time Ritchson can count himself as the lead. “I took that responsibility very seriously,” Ritchson says, “and it was a lot of fun to be in that position. It’s a big deal for me.” 

Still, Ritchson is no rookie. He’s been acting for over a decade, and in that time got married and had three kids. While leaving them is never easy, he says, it’s all in a days work: “When you start out you have no freedom. You’re a slave to whatever opportunity you get. But everyone has to start somewhere.” With Blood Drive, Ritchson’s sacrifices have paid off. “As I’ve grown to understand myself as an artist and what I want, this show lines up with that because it’s original and entertaining,” he says. “It ticked all my boxes.”

While Ritchson may get top billing, the true star of Blood Drive could just as well be its backdrop. “I had coincidentally been [to Cape Town] earlier in the year to film an episode of Black Mirror,” he says. “And if I hadn’t been there [before] it would’ve been harder to make the decision to go film the series there for so long. I instantly fell in love.”

Below, see the actor’s guide to the Mother City, his latest home away from home.

Cup of Joe: Hard to pick just one since Cape Town is such a great coffee city. But my fav ewas Loading Bay. Amazing breakfast there as well.

Power Lunch: Tasha’s was always a favorite of mine. There are a few around. I always liked the one at Canal Walk cause you can sneak in some of the best shopping ever afterwards. 

Cocktail Hour: Bombay Bicycle. Be sure to be there for the gong at 10pm when drinks become 2 for 1.

Retail Therapy: I’m torn between the V&A Waterfront and Canal Walk. Two amazing malls. I also loved AKJP, a boutique on Kloof for handmade pieces from local emerging South African designers.

Field Trip: The Markets at Hout Bay, Table Mountain (hike if you’ve had a little too much for lunch. Lifts if you’re wanting to relax while enjoying the view.) Oranjezicht Farmers Market on Saturday mornings and Vergelegen. winery for an unforgettable and timeless wine tasting.

Date Night: Kloof Street House. Love this place. Has the feel of a SoHo House and amazing cocktails. Be sure to try the Madagascar Martini. 

Don’t Miss: Lion’s Head at Sunset.

Hidden Gem: Cafe Paradiso. An extremely family friendly restaurant with an amazing menu that truly became a home away from home for my family and I.