After 39 days of outsmarting and outwitting his fellow castaways in one of the remotest islands in the Philippines under the most inhospitable of conditions, Tom Swartz was on Thursday night voted winner of the Survivor South Africa: Philippines. He also won the grand prize of R1 million.

Last month, when news broke that the 41-year-old adventure camp manager from Port Elizabeth has been selected together with 18 other contestants to be stranded on a cluster of remote islands in the Philippines for 39 days, he remarked in an interview that it was difficult to contain his excitement. “I was over the moon. It was surreal,” he said.

This sixth season of the reality game show was filled with mind-bending twists, unbelievable turns and seemingly insurmountable challenges.

Five years ago, Tom Swartz, together with his wife, Nicci, and children Yasmin, 23, and Dyllan, 14, arrived in Port Elizabeth to start an anti-perlemoen poaching outfit.

Five years on, and now the adventure manager at Pine Lodge Resort, Tom Swartz said his upbringing in East London nurtured his love and passion for life in the outdoors.

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