A brand-new season of Survivor South Africa is on the horizon and while the series is known for filming in remote international locations, the Covid-19 pandemic and the difficulty of international travel has forced the series to film the new season in our own back yard – and production has already wrapped on the upcoming season!
The new season is set to premiere on Thursday 3 June 2021 and promises to have more twists and turns than ever before.
“When international borders started shutting down in early 2020, we scouted for a local alternative in order to relocate the shoot to South Africa,” M-Net told News24. “However, lockdown measures thwarted this option. When levels were lowered, we reinvestigated those options and decided to shoot on home soil,” the channel said in a statement. “The fundamental principles were, how do we keep the cast safe and allow them to play an authentic game within a safe environment? How do we keep the crew safe? How do we preserve the reality storylines by ensuring that there are no stoppages required due to COVID-19?”
Naturally, to ensure a safe filming environment, the new season was filmed in an extremely strict COVID-19 safety bubble with cast members made to quarantine for up to 10 days before filming began. The entire Afrokaans production team lived and worked within a social bubble set up to ensure no Covid-19 cases infiltrated the production.
“We had a bigger medical team on-site at all times, with specialised Covid control officers dedicated to monitoring crew and cast, doing daily screenings, providing sanitising solutions and educating the crew on effective prevention measures such as social distancing, crew moving and operating in different zones to ensure social distancing, mask-wearing and hand-washing,” Handrie Basson, Survivor SA executive producer at Afrokaans says.
“All crew and cast had undergone the PCR testing for Covid-19 and spent the required time in isolation, prior to the commencement of this season’s filming. These strict protocols added an additional layer of vigilance to our daily lives, but it was 100% worth it, as we started and completed filming without a single Covid-case.”
M-Net and the production crew dissected every possible location within South African borders for the new season and the Eastern Cape’s Wild Coast proved to be the most optimal location for filming locally. “The Wild Coast is truly wild,” Handrie says. “South Africa’s abundant wildlife will feature prominently in the season. We are talking fish eagles soaring above challenge locations, snakes – the reptilian sort! – slithering through tribe camps, vervet monkeys foraging for food … Then there are the unpredictable weather phenomena where a sunny day can quickly change into a fierce thunderstorm in the afternoon or a deluge of rain will come out of nowhere to drench the earth. All of these elements contribute to a very real, very exposed environment where our castaways had to survive for 39 days.”
Nico Panagio returns as host and while the new season of Survivor South Africa won’t see an exotic tropical location as its backdrop, M-Net assures viewers that the upcoming season is set to be one of the most entertaining seasons of the local version to date.