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More than a game | Surviving Survivor is as difficult as it looks

But it's so much fun!

08 May 2018 - 07:00 By chrizelda kekana
The Luzon tribe of Survivor season six arrive on their base camp, ready to make it a home.
The Luzon tribe of Survivor season six arrive on their base camp, ready to make it a home.
Image: Via Mnet

You know how every time you watch a reality game show like Amazing Race or Survivor SA, you're always there like: "Pshhh I can do that, sleeping on an island for 39 days, is nothing!".  Well, one day of Survivor SA was enough for me.

I'm here to tell you fighting to be the sole survivor on Survivor SA is as difficult as it looks but more fun than you can ever imagine.

How do I know?

Earlier this year, I formed part of a group of 13 journalists who were invited to get a taste of the Survivor SA experience shot in the breathtaking islands of the Philippines. Always one for adventure, I was mentally ready to take on the challenge but what I've since learnt is, you need to be ready on all fronts.

The 18 castaways on that island are some of the bravest people I know because to willingly sign up for that is crazy, although equally life changing.

I didn't get to survive for more than 24 hours and I have so many stories to write about the experience, I could turn it into a series. However, I have chosen rather to share the lessons learnt and maybe share a few tips in case you have Survivor SA on your bucket list.

On TV, you experience the games and a little bit of the island life, survivor style of course but man, there is so much more going on for the contestant.

One. Do not underestimate the environmental changes.

Here's the thing, Mzansi has really amazing weather and living conditions as far as Mzansians are concerned. In addition to new weather conditions, which you will mos def suffer from, be prepared for that jetlag because a seven-hour time difference and over 24 hours of travel, is nie pap and vleis nie.

Plus the summer there is hot and humid. Like Durban to the power of 1000.

I'm talking anything from migraines, dizzy spells to severe stomach cramps fam... It takes a while for the body to adjust. 

Side note: Survivor SA has a great medic available though...

Two. You will learn to appreciate nature more.

You know that feeling when Eskom does that load shedding shandis and all your devices die, then you are left wondering why God painted some leaves green and some yellow?

Survivor SA will do that to you.

You don't have a cellphone on that island. What that means is...  there's no time for you to fake great vacation life on the gram or check in at the cool international location on Facebook.

I can tell you for mahala that was the hardest part for most of us. However, it forces you to take in the surroundings and man; those Survivor SA producers do a great job of finding those islands.

The Philippines in particular has over a 1000 beautiful islands and Survivor SA is shot on the island God must have created on Sunday!

Three. That surviving part of Survivor SA is real AF!

Yes. You actually have to build your "house" and make your beds. Drink coconut water (unless you win freshwater) and go fishing (literally) for your dinner.

You will also have to pee in the ocean (yah... it happens) and if its number two... well there's a spot, just bury your sins when you done.

More than the physical factors, the real survival is happening in the corners when people begin to strategise. Funny enough, even with our very diverse group of journalists, we all kind of fell by default into race groups.

In retrospect, it wasn't necessarily a race thing. In those islands everything is foreign and you want to hold onto something familiar and for us, I guess the colour of your skin and the language you whisper in made that choice for us. That isn't necessarily a good strategy so bear that in mind.

Nonetheless, the game is not for the fainthearted.

In less than three hours we had to build the house before our first game: there had already been more than five arguments and three targets on three different people for elimination later that night after the game.

Four. Make sure you can handle the game itself.

I can’t swim. That alone means I can’t survive survivor for sh*t.

In addition to that, it is worth at least knowing that you are fit enough or at least enough of a brainiac or strategist for the games.

It is not easy standing in the sun on one leg for hours or running across an obstacle with four big puzzle dices in your hands, all while attempting to remember the image you are supposed to build on the other side of the obstacle.

Side note: Also shout out to the game designer. Like wow!

Five. It will change your life!

If you are able to enter then go ahead and try your luck. Do it. It is worth it.

If you can’t or you're still working on other things, then watch Survivor SA on M-Net every Thursday in the mean time. It will keep your fire for adventure and drama burning.