an image of a man doing press ups next to a big waterfall in the Guyana jungle

Learning Basic Jungle Survival Skills

Here at Bushmasters, we regularly take keen adventurers out to the lush, dense jungles of Guyana to undertake our tough jungle survival course. Within the jungle survival course, the participants are subjected to a rigorous ‘training phase’ conducted by our Ex British Special Forces instructor, in which they are taught vital skills such as finding water, sourcing food, and lighting a fire. This phase of the jungle survival course is crucial to the entire trip, as it equips the participants with the basic jungle survival skills needed to get through the next week or so whilst in isolation from others.

However, you never know when you might need to utilise basic survival skills – for example, if you are going on holiday and are keen to explore the nearby jungle. Although it is always best for two or more novices to enter the jungle together, if you insist on exploring the dense jungle alone, there are a few basic jungle survival skills that you should learn before your trip. The team have therefore offered four key basic jungle survival skills below to ensure that you are prepared and ready for whatever is thrown at you.

Ensure that your family and friends are fully informed

Before you enter the jungle, it is integral that your inform your holiday party where you intend to explore, and for how long. That means that if, for whatever reason, you get lost, your party will be fully informed and a search party can be formed using the knowledge gained. If you have travelled by yourself, however, always take the time to speak to someone at your place of residence for the holiday, whether it be the hotel receptionist or hostel owner – essentially anyone that sees you regularly and will be able to report you missing, should you not show up again.

Remain calm

If you find yourself in the situation where basic jungle survival skills are required, the first and most important thing is to remain calm. A positive attitude will work wonders in a survival situation; even if you try to complete tasks such as find water or start a fire and they don’t work straight away, do not panic. Take a deep breath, keep your head on straight, and assess your situation rationally.

Find water

On average, a person can only survive 3-4 days without water, without taking into consideration the weather or environment in the jungle. Your next step in a jungle survival situation should be to locate a source of clean water, although this will not be easy. Animals such as birds or carnivores generally try to find water to keep hydrated, so should you come across an animal, be sure to follow them from a safe distance as it is likely that they will lead you to water. Alternatively, pack a plastic bag within your supplies and tightly tie around a leaf or branch to catch the water within the leaves as they begin to evaporate and condensate. Vines are also a good source of clean water, although it is integral that you know the difference between a poisonous vine and a non-poisonous vine before cutting one open. A poisonous vine will drip sticky, creamy sap when cut open, whilst a non-poisonous vine will produce clear liquid.

Get a fire going

A fire is an important aspect of jungle survival. You can use the flames to boil and thereby sterilize water, cook any food attained during the day, and keep you warm and protected from bugs during the cooler night. First, you must select a location for the fire that is sheltered, away from the sun, and not near anything that could catch fire and start an unstoppable blaze. You must begin with small amounts of dry wood, collected from the jungle around you. It is a requirement that the wood you use is dry – even the slightest hint of dampness will hinder your chances of creating a fire. Carrying a flint lighter in your kit is a guaranteed way to start a fire, however, carefully focused friction to the kindling will help to bring heat to the wood. SecretSurvival.com provide a comprehensive list with 15 steps to starting a fire without the use of a match – this is worth a read if you are keen to visit the jungle soon.

On the Bushmasters jungle survival course, you will learn a whole lot more than just the basic jungle survival skills offered above. You will effectively gain the skills needed to be self-sufficient in the jungle, applying your newfound knowledge in the most practical and immersive way. To find out more about our next jungle survival trip, take a look at our Dates & Costs page, which details upcoming survival courses at competitive prices.