GREATEST GAME IS BACK
‘Survivor South Africa’ returns with a vengeance, writes Liam Karabo Joyce
THE return of Survivor South Africa was met with much anticipation. Now into the second episode of the series’ sixth season that was filmed earlier this year in The Philippines, we caught up with host Nico Panagio.
Panagio, who has hosted the show since season 3 and is a household name in many South African homes, also considers himself a Survivor superfan. We last saw you on Survivor South Africa in 2014, what have you been up to?
When I’m not on screen, I am hustling! Since the last season of Survivor, I’ve been in a few big screen features, hosted Top Billing and The Intern. In between, I have been writing, producing and trail running. What prompted the return of
The producers of the show are huge fans of the format and, with them, many of us who have worked on Survivor, have been dreaming about bringing Survivor back for years.
Handrie Basson (executive producer) and Leroux Botha (series director) have been involved with production on all seasons of Survivor South Africa. When the opportunity arose to produce the show under their own company, Afrokaans, they grabbed it. This team has taken it to the next level. Survivor We have come to know you as the face of Survivor since season 3, but why did you accept being host again?
To be the host is a rare privilege. We get to live inside the show as it unfolds in real time, another rare privilege. We get a raw, intimate perspective of an incredible show. This season is 39 days, how many days did you spend on set?
I spent about seven weeks (49 days) on the island. Upon arrival, we immediately start with the preparation of the locations and games. We also shoot promotional material and do press interviews. Then, about a week later, it is gameon for 39 days of constant filming. What are some of the elements you as the host have had to deal with this season?
Working for long hours in the tropical heat and relentless sun beating down on you all day. Dealing with the local dangers, be they deadly sea snakes or falling coconuts. Crazy tropical insects that bite. Then we also have long hours of work, sleep deprivation and missing home.
However, we always say if you have a shower, aircon and a bed to come home to every night, that is 5-star compared to what those poor contestants have to endure. In your time on Survivor, what’s been the worst accident or injury you have seen?
The most frightening injury happened to Vanessa Sandes (then Haywood) when she injured her neck on a huge suspended net challenge in the Maldives. Sadly, she had to leave the game. What sets Survivor South Africa: Philippines apart from previous seasons?
We got a cast of incredible, feisty, sassy and wily characters that hit the ground running. This coupled with a full 39 days on the island makes for gripping entertainment, but also elevates the series to world class standards. What is the one thing you are excited about this season?
Apart from the castaways who bring their all, we also have a spectacular location this season and everywhere you look is a