Tough test for PE’s ‘Survivor’ contestant

But it’s also a dream come true, Swartz says

Tom Swartz loves the idea of being marooned
Tom Swartz loves the idea of being marooned
Image: Supplied

A boyhood dream of wanting to be marooned on an island with little to survive on except instinct and experience has led to a Port Elizabeth outdoor enthusiast taking part in the upcoming season of Survivor SA.

Originally from East London, Tom Swartz, 41, said he had always wanted to be part of Survivor to prove that he was fully capable of doing so.

“I wanted to prove to myself and others that I was not just a guy who reads a book and was now trying to teach others,” Swartz said.

Describing his reaction on hearing he had been selected as one of 18 South Africans to be stranded on a cluster of remote islands in the Philippines for 39 days, Swartz said it was difficult to contain his excitement.

“I was over the moon. It was surreal,” he said.

Swartz, along with his wife, Nicci, and children Yasmin, 23, and Dyllan, 14, arrived in Port Elizabeth five years ago to start an anti-perlemoen poaching unit.

Now the adventure manager at Pine Lodge Resort, Swartz said his upbringing in East London had paved the way for his love and passion for the outdoors.

“Amalinda [in East London] was my wild outdoor training area and [I] loved the way we grew up playing in the streams and bushes,” he said.

Listing scuba diving, camping, hiking and “anything that keeps me outside” as some of his hobbies, Swartz said he had to make a few lifestyle changes before taking part in the sixth season of Survivor SA.

“I started eating a lot less so it was not a shock to the system and did quite a bit of the physical stuff at Pine Lodge,” he said.

Taking his trusty hat to the islands, Swartz said his strategy was to merely be himself during the gruelling competition.

“I can only be myself but what I would like is to get by honestly and work with integrity for as long as I can,” he said.

Asked what he looked forward to the most in the show, Swartz said: “Life as a shipwreck survivor.

“It’s been my boyhood dream to be marooned.”

Swartz said his only real fear was losing his cool.

“This is one of the toughest things I have ever done in my life and the best all at the same time,” he said.

Catch Swartz and 17 other South African hopefuls vying for the R1-million cash prize on M-Net, channel 101 on DStv, from Thursday May 3.