How to survive in the African savannah

Many people visit the African continent: while some enjoy holidays to Egypt others look to explore the wide-open plains of the Savannah. Holidays to the region can include fun filled safaris and wildlife spotting activities, but on no account should you explore the region on your own without a guide.

There are over 3000 species in the African Savannah and negotiating the area, especially at night, can be fraught with dangers. Accidents involving wild animals happen every year, so it is unwise to be alone in the area, especially if you are unfamiliar with the territory. But if you are stranded in the region without a guide, or transport, there are several things you can do to find water and survive.

Finding Water

The first thing you should try to do is find water. It doesn’t rain very often in the Savannah so this can be a challenging task.

There are a few ways you can locate water; you could follow animal tracks and see if they lead to a stream, head for the highest point and find the source of a stream or you could dig beneath the surface of a dried up river bed.

By heading to the highest point you may also be able to find civilization, so this might be the best course of action. Heading for a mountain or ridge will also give you a focal point, which will stop you wandering around in circles.

From this vantage point you may be able to see smoke or the outline of villages. If you are not able to see any civilization then try to find a stream and if possible follow it. Water may lead you to a farming area and people.

Once you have located a water source you should make sure that it is safe to drink. Standing pools of water should be avoided as they can harbour bacteria and parasites.

The best source of water would be an underground well and by digging at the lowest point of a dried up riverbed you may be able to find a clean water source.

Another good source of water would be a fast moving river, although you should try to boil this before drinking.

In some areas, roots can also be a good water source. The Bushmen for example, (also known as the San people), have found a great way to adapt to harsh environments. In order to find water in the Kalahari Desert, they use a specific root called the “bi! bulb”.

Bi! bulb water extraction!

Discover the key to finding food in the Savannah in Part Two

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