On location: Botany Bay

A look at the Lowcountry’s starring role in the movies 

Botany Bay

Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls (1995)

The cast

Jim Carrey as Ace Ventura, Ian McNeice as Fulton Greenwall, Simon Callow as Vincent Cadby, Maynard Eziashi as Prince Ouda, Bob Gunton as Burton Quinn, Damon Standifer as the Wachati Chief and Sophie Okonedo as the Wachati Princess. 


This pet detective comedy sequel stars Jim Carrey, who’s commissioned by a British provincial consulate in the fictional African country of Nibia to locate a scared white bat called “Shikaka” and return it to the native Wachati tribe. Even though Ace is deathly afraid of bats, he prevails in jungle scenes that were shot at Botany Bay Plantation Wildlife Management Area, a 4,600-acre wildlife preserve on Edisto Island. All of the African village scenes also were shot there. The location was selected for its lush tropical vegetation, bone-yard beaches and salt marsh — a perfect jungle setting. Filming also took place at the 7,000-acre Cherokee Plantation, a private sporting and leisure estate in Yemassee, where expansive gardens, a Georgian manor house and well-manicured lawns served as the scenery for the British consulate in this zany movie.

Film Facts

  • The sequel used five times the number of animals that were used in the previous film. “The animals in the first film had to fill an apartment,” animal trainer Cathy Morrison said. “In ‘Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls,’ they had to fill Africa.” 
  • The jungle and African village scenes were shot at Botany Bay and Cherokee Plantation. The Himalayan sequences were filmed in Vancouver, British Columbia. Other scenes were shot in Hondo, Texas. 
  • For the famous hairdo of Ace Ventura, actor Jim Carrey wanted to look mostly normal from the front but like a cockatoo from the back. Hairstylist Pauletta Lewis found inspiration by going to several pet stores and reading books on birds. “That’s how the Ace ‘do was born,” she said. It took her about an hour to create each day with lots of teasing and backcombing but very little spray. 
  • The film grossed $37,804,076 during its opening weekend, taking the No. 1 spot. With a worldwide gross of $212.3 million against a $30 million budget, Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls was a major financial success.

Day trip 

Hilton Head Island to Botany Bay (Edisto Island) 

Drive time: 1 hour, 53 minutes (90.2 miles) via US-17

Travel notes: This beautiful working plantation opened to the public in 2008. Visitors are required to obtain a day pass from the kiosk upon entry into the park, which is open from sunrise to sunset (closed on Tuesdays for scheduled hunts). Explore maritime forests, comb a stunning bone-yard beach, hike pine-needle-cushioned trails and soak in all of the Spanish moss-draped beauty in this unspoiled part of the Lowcountry.

Watch it

  • Amazon Prime

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