Uuups… Are you lost in the jungle? It can happen to the best of us. But don’t worry now; with these five tips from Surinamese jungle expert, Norman Macintosh you WILL survive and live to tell the tale.
1. Think MacGyver
Just like this old-school American action hero, you will be wanting to solve your problems with intelligence, resourcefulness and a few handy gadgets, such as: a knife, a lighter and a needle). As Norman, our jungle explorer, says; “These three will be your holy grail. You need a knife for everything: to cut plants, branches to make shelter, etc. A lighter to make fire - of course, you can make fire with a stone and some wood, but not when it has rained. And in the jungle it rains a LOT. So a lighter will come in handy.” And the needle, Norman? “That is for navigation. You can navigate following the sun or the stars, but you can also put a needle in a leaf with water, which will direct you as a compass to the magnetic north. Follow one route only, to avoid going around in circles, and then eventually you must reach the end of the jungle some day.”
2. Monkey diet
Follow the monkey diet. Monkey diet you say? Yes, indeed. Norman advises lost jungle explorers; “First of all, you need to hydrate yourself. So find water. Vines contain a lot of water. You can cut those through the middle (we hope you brought that knife!) then drink straight from them.” We never saw Tarzan doing that in the movie, but hey… “Getting hungry? Then follow the Monkey diet, basically meaning: eat what the apes eat. All apes - except for the howler monkey (so don’t copy his eating behavior!) eat berries and fruits that we humans can eat as well. So... just follow any monkeys you can find, and you will know what needs to go on your menu.”
3. Be a boy/girl scout
Norman tells us to; “Build a hut to protect yourself from cold, rain and unwanted visitors.” (In case your parents made the big mistake of putting you in a hockey team instead of letting you join the Scouts: make sure to check this tutorial or this one before leaving for your jungle expedition!) “Make a fire (don’t tell us you forgot that lighter! If you did: here’s how to make fire without a lighter.) outside of your hut (you don’t want to burn it down now, do you?) to prevent snakes and wild animals from paying you a visit.
4. Be Hansel and Gretel
You didn't reaaaally forget that needle now, too, did you?! Well, since there’s no tutorial for making a compass, you’ll just have to do it Hansel & Gretel style. Norman instructs us: “Mark your way. How? Break off branches and shrubs. Place big stones. Do whatever you can to create orientation points, to avoid going round in circles.”
5. Beat your biggest enemy
We have some good news for you: you don’t need to be afraid of leopards and pumas. Norman reassures us that; “They can hear you from a mile’s distance. And are probably more afraid of you than you are of them.” Who is your biggest enemy in the jungle? Panic. Norman: “When you panic, you aren’t able to think clearly anymore. You’ll get scared and fear takes over. So whatever you do: try to stay calm. You have to stay sharp and smart. Try to put yourself in the best mental state possible: if you have faith and trust that you will find your way out again, you will already be halfway there. Good luck!”