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Survival skills is a necessity for every adventurer or outdoor enthusiast exploring wild and remote places. The value of survival training for the 4x4 adventurer is extremely important in a time and age where these remote locations become more accessible to anyone with a 4x4 and spirit of adventure!

I sincerely hope that everyone reading these articles will benefit from the skills and that it will enable you to safely explore the amazing wild places of Africa.

I hope to welcome you all around the campfire on a survival course soon.


Herman “


4x4 Survival Skills

Over the next few months we will discuss topics of survival and after each topic I will include a Survival Tips Card that you can print out and keep in your survival kit to remind you about the skills.

As I am writing these articles purely for 4x4 enthusiasts, I am going to concentrate on giving you the skills and knowledge to be able to survive utilising your 4x4 vehicles and kit that will normally be associated with an off-road vehicle. This way, you will get used to packing and having survival kit handy when things go wrong.

The topics we will discuss are:

  1. Basics of survival ( what we need to survive )
  2. Survival kits ( what to pack to survive )
  3. Survival knife and safe cutting techniques ( how to choose and use a knife for survival )
  4. Shelter ( how to improvise a thermal efficient shelter )
  5. Fire ( how to make fire using modern and primitive methods )
  6. Water ( how to find, collect, filter and purify water )
  7. Food ( how to find food )
  8. Rescue skills ( how to make your camp visible for rescue and get rescued )
  9. Natural navigation ( how to navigate without a compass or GPS )
  10. Wilderness first aid ( how to treat injuries and wounds )
  11. Survival psychology ( how to survive in your mind )
  12. Bushcraft skills ( how to make rope and other necessary skills )

Survival Article 1 – Basics of Survival

Survival has always been associated with military and extreme training but in recent years that misconception has been replaced with a recognition that survival training hold as much benefit to outdoor adventurers as to soldiers.

As we venture outdoors more and remote locations become accessible to everyday people the skill to know  how to survive when things go wrong is extremely important. Prevention is far better than dealing with a situation that could have been avoided and therefore most people spend timeless effort and vast amounts of money on making sure their expedition vehicles are equipped to deal with any situation and this is without doubt the right approach.

The question is this ... what if you are stuck in a remote location and have to spend a few days waiting for rescue, or worse you have lost all your equipment in a disaster vehicle fire ? Unfortunately statistics have shown that most people do not have the necessary skills to deal with a survival situation and tragically some cases end in unnecessary deaths that could have easily been avoided with basic survival skills. I will teach you the fundamentals necessary to make it out alive in these articles but nothing can replace practical training. Therefore, you need to seriously consider attending a survival course to learn survival skills in a practical hands-on survival course, and it is a fun adventure weekend you will never forget !

Survival is the ability to stay alive in a life threatening survival situation. As humans we need to learn a few skills to stay alive. I call it the big 6 of survival : SHELTER, FIRE, WATER, FOOD, RESCUE and FIRST AID. The first 4 is taught as the 4 needs for survival but I believe that you also need rescue and first aid skills to make it out alive. It makes no sense being able to make fire, build a shelter, find food and water but you have no means to signal for help or to treat injuries and wounds that can easily make your survival situation worse.

We teach the rule of 3’s on our survival course. The rule of 3’s state that a human can live for 3 minutes without oxygen, 3 hours in severe cold or heat, 3 days without water and 3 weeks without food. This is a general rule and not hard fact as the environment, temperatures and physical ability of people are all variables that has to be taken into account.
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pdf4x4 Survival Card 1 - Basic of Survival.pdf150.26 KB

A person’s mental psychological ability and will to stay alive also play a role and can indeed make one person live where another might give up and die.

Having the right survival knowledge and skill will certainly give you more confidence exploring remote places safely and might just one day save your own life or the life of a family member or fellow explorer.

Packing and knowing how to use a survival kit and improvise equipment on your 4x4 will improve your chances of making it out alive.
Next month we will discuss Survival Kits and how to pack a survival kit for your 4x4.

Herman Roos ( Owner and Chief Survival Instructor at Boswa Survival )

Boswa Survival ( Bushcraft on Safari Wilderness Adventures )
Contact : 072-916-5080
E-mail : This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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