Would you enjoy a survival weekend escape? (Photo: iStock)
Ever wondered if you would survive out in the wild if your plane, boat or car crashed, outside of mobile reception and the next town hundreds of kilometres away?
For big or small travel emergencies, learning about some basic survival skills could mean the difference between life or death, and everyone has fantasies about Bear Grylling it up somewhere in the bush - either to prove to yourself that you could survive a zombie apocalypse or to get intimate with your natural environment without the distraction of modern conveniences.
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South Africa has some of the harshest environments with desert, coastal, mountain and forest biomes, and many a lost hiker have had to depend on their survival skills to make it back home in one piece. We also have one of the hardiest people in the world when it comes to living in the bush - the Khoisan - who could take on the Grylls any day of the week with their skills.
If a weekend filled with sleeping in the dirt, making fires from scratch and foraging for your own food sounds like the perfect escape from modern life, survival weekends are on offer around South Africa to satisfy your lust for adventure.
But before you head off on your quest to become the next Bear Grylls, here are a few tips for surviving in the wild according to the master himself.
- Finding drinkable water is your top priority, and although Grylls is famous for drinking his own urine, it needs to be quite clear in order to hydrate you.
- You have to be careful with what you eat, and see what the animals around you may avoid eating. Creepy crawlies are also a quick snack out in the bush.
- Don't be impulsive - remain calm and think everything through rationally and make a list of priorities and tick them off accordingly. Grylls main priorities are: protection > rescue > water > food.
- If you need to build a shelter, look for high ground and try to stay close to a water source and somewhere rescuers can find you easily. Don't try to move around too much as it's easier for a rescue team to find you as they work through sectors.
- Try to stay dry and warm, or if you're in a hot place in the shade during the mid-day.
- Fire is also quite important for staying warm, keeping animals away and purifying water. If you don't have some matches or flint and steel, find dry moss and small pieces of wood and rub two sticks together like they do in the Flintstones.
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These places will get you prepped for the wild with their survival weekend escapes:
On the outskirts of Gauteng lies Boswa Survival farm, where South Africans' mettle is tested with a variety of weekend survival courses that range from Basic to Extreme. You'll learn the basics of surviving in the bush for all ages surrounded by wildlife and instructed by qualified experts.
They also offer bushcraft courses where you can learn to make candles, compass, whistle and leatherwork from materials sourced from the bush.
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The Rangers Reserve near Touws River in Western Cape plunges you into the fynbos wilderness where they aim to train adventurers by building on individual strength to live in the wild.
They offer weekend and week-long courses and also includes archery, bush medicine, anti-poaching and even basic self-defense to keep you safe from every element the wilderness might throw at you.
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In the KZN bush, the Gwahumbe Junior Rangers Camp focuses on teaching survival skills to children between 8 and 13, making for a valuable escape from the world of technology they're growing up in.
Not only might it jumpstart a future as a game ranger, the parents can do the complete opposite and relax at Gwahumbe's spa and enjoy their animals from the comfort of a game drive.
The next camp is 27 - 29 June.
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