Ex Special Forces and Survival Expert Myke and his wife Ruth, an accomplished news anchor, are showing what it would be like to survive in Botswana
They are stranded in the middle of African bush in the Okavango Delta which is the world’s largest inland delta. It has one of the largest populations of wild animals and over 130,000 elephants roaming free. They are 50 miles away from any type of civilization.
The truck will be their shelter! They have pliers, a chain, a spare tire, a roll bar, a crossbar, a coat, a sweater, a canteen, insect screen, a grill, and the overfill bottle from the radiator for collecting water. It is very important that they stay together all the time. This is one place more than any other place on the planet that they must stay together , due to the fact that they are seriously way down on the food chain. The first thing they need to do because they are in “big time predator country” is make long spears for added protection. Myke advises not to use any wood coming from a tree that has white sap because it usually is a sign that it is poisonous. Next they put very sharp points on their spears.
Making a Fire:
The next priority is to find something to make fire. The Shaving brush tree gives them good soft dry wood. Fire provides, warmth, light, enables you to cook food and boil water, but, most importantly protects them from wild animals. The animals have a deadly fear of brush fires so they will stay away from your camp fire. The best way to start a fire if you can find a stick is the hand drill method. Try to find a string or string like vine and make two loops one at each end for thumbs to fit into. This will keep your hands from getting blisters and keep the spindle rotation fast enough to ignite a small ember. A notch is made in the spindle to hold the string in place. A back and forth motion is used with downward pressure.
Ruth says that an even more serious danger is mosquitoes because they carry Malaria. They find Sage and rub it on their skin which makes a good insect repellent. It also can be burned in the fire to protect against mosquitoes. When walking in the middle of the African bush with only a knife and a spear, you need to use the spear to keep any creature at bay and use the knife to poke eyes.
Growls in the Night:
After making the fire on the ground behind the truck they spend their first night sleeping in the bed of the truck on top of various grasses for bedding. They end up sleeping in shifts due to the growls of curious lions. They make plans to make Boma fencing tomorrow. Myke tells Ruth to use the tire iron to keep the animal away if one approaches during the night. In this episode you could definitely see the fear on their faces!
The next morning Myke has a massive headache which means they need water before any food. Actually trying to eat when you don’t have enough water to drink will make you dehydrate even faster because your digestive system uses water to digest the food. They pull the battery pan from the truck to boil water and will use the reservoir from the radiator to collect the water before boiling it. They will store safe water after boiling in the plastic bottles.
They look for water in the swamp but need to make sure that they do not get in the way of the Nile crocodile or hippos that are extremely dangerous. The hippos weigh 8,000 pounds and kill more people in Africa than any other animal. The Okavango water is clear but has many pathogens in it due to all the animals that share the water.
Getting their lion’s Share:
After getting their fill of water, they look for a game trail. They spot big giant heavy bones. They find a lion’s fresh kill with a lot of meat on it. Ruth wants to get back to camp before the lion comes back to claim its kill. At first Myke tells Ruth to cut a leg off of the wildebeest while he covers her in case the lion comes back. Lions will generally take time out to get water after they make a kill. She can hardly get the knife in and can’t go fast enough before the birds start making chirping sounds as a warning that the lions is coming back to claim its kill. Myke ends up cutting the leg off of the wildebeest because he is better at handling a knife.
They got very lucky this time taking a piece of meat from the lion’s kill. The first rule if you see a lion is never to run, instead hold your ground, and, make a lot of noise to confuse the lions. They find a spot away from their camp to clean their meat to keep the animals away from their camp. After taking the skin off the meat, Ruth says it smells like steak. They hang the remainder up in the tree away from camp.
Before they cook their meat they build a little horseshoe walled fencing called a Boma from acacia branches that have thorns growing out of them. This fencing is placed around the back of the truck to protect them when sleeping in the truck’s bed. It has taken two days to get what they need. After roasting the Wildebeest and taking a bite of it, Ruth says it is the best meat she has ever eaten. Last night before they had any food a pride of lions came sniffing around their camp. After dinner they are wondering what animal will come around tonight.
Hyenas in the Night
After settling down for bed, they hear Hyenas whooping in the middle of night. The morning of day three in the delta, one of the most savage environments, they discover that the Hyenas took the rest of their wildebeest they had hanging from a tree in the middle of the night.
In order to make up for the meat they lost they have to head out real early to hunt for more meat. With elephants all around they are reminded that more than 100 people each year are killed by elephants. They spot a bee hive but leave it alone because they don’t have fire to calm the bees and keep them from stinging. Next they spot a small Nile crocodile. The Nile Crocodile has a bite as strong as great while shark. They spot it among the moving reeds. Myke holds the croc still while Ruth puts her knife into its skull. Because of the size of this particular crocodile, they just take the tail for one of today’s meals. Crocodile meat is similar in calories and fat content as turkey and taste like mild fish.
They need to get a smoke fire going for rescue because their team does not know exactly where they are. They push the truck out in the open to be seen by their rescuers with the hood up. The international symbol of distress is a truck with the hood up and they put brush in the spare tire to burn it. It will burn for hours with black smoke. They use the truck mirrors to help the pilot see them even better. They are found. Ruth says that all her senses have been heightened more during this trip than any other, and, she feared for herself more than ever before. However, she never felt more alive.