Survivor SA: celebs’ storm terror

Picture: A shivering Sade Giliberti (left) and Hanna Grobler wait for the storm to pass.

It’s day four of Survivor on the tiny island of Santa Carolina where 15 celebrities are locked in a struggle for survival. On another island not far away another one is on his own for a night, exiled from his team. And then Nature unleashes the drama.

It’s late afternoon when the bad weather moves in. All hell breaks loose and for 36 exhausting hours the contestants are at the mercy of a tremendous tropical storm.

So you thought our celebs were on an island holiday in paradise? Their misery was far from over and there were still 23 days left.

Gys de Villiers was on the way to exile island by boat when the storm began brewing. It’s beautiful, dramatic, the Chibudu tribe exile thought.

The weather was so bad a camera team couldn’t reach Gys and viewers won’t see how he battled through those hours. He says he ended up dismantling the shelter he’d built when he arrived. He wrapped the tarpaulin around himself for warmth but it wasn’t waterproof, which made things worse.

It was pitch-dark but he wasn’t afraid. “It was fantastic and classic to be stuck in a storm on exile island. It was a very moving experience.”

On Santa Carolina no one was moved by the perfection of the moment. Quite the contrary.

“Anyone who says they didn’t think about quitting after those two nights is talking rubbish,” actress Hanna Grobler (Chibudu) of Getroud met Rugby says. “Once it started raining it didn’t stop.”

The tribe’s shelter wasn’t waterproof and everyone was soaked in minutes; the gale-force wind meant they couldn’t get dry.

“We all thought we were going to freeze. At one point Sade [Giliberti] told me I was blue from the cold - but so was she.”

The mood among members of the Timbila tribe also became pretty bleak once they realised the rain wasn’t going to let up in a hurry, former continuity announcer Ashley Hayden says. “We had a pathetic little shelter that was meant to provide shade from the sun, not to keep out the rain.”

When the production team didn’t arrive the next day and the night camera team were still with them on the island the Survivor contestants realised how bad the storm was.

Viewers will see very little of this drama because the storm caused the producers unforeseen technical problems. It also caused damage of more than R100 000 to M-Net’s equipment.

- Survivor is broadcast on M-Net on Wednesdays at 19:30.

For more on how the Survivors got through the night watch the videos at