Survivor may return to Africa to film season 17 in Gabon

Rumors that Survivor may return to Africa for its 17th season have reached a fever pitch online. The rumored location for the first season to be shot in HD is Gabon, or the Gabonese Republic, which is located in western Africa on the Atlantic Ocean and borders the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, and Cameroon. Other locations mentioned, however, have included New Zealand and Madagascar.

The CIA’s World Factbook describes Gabon’s geography as “arrow coastal plain; hilly interior; savanna in east and south,” and says there is a “pristine rain forest and rich biodiversity.” Survivor Africa, the show’s third season, was the last season to be filmed in a non-tropical location, and although the game play was interesting, watching contestants drink muddy water out of poop-filled ponds didn’t exactly thrill everyone.

Tracing vague, unsourced reports from the bowels of message boards is difficult, especially since some people can’t be bothered to even spell the country’s name correctly, but the Gabon reports seem to have originated from a Reality Fan Forum poster, who wrote on Feb. 18 that the 17th season “will start filming in Gabon, Africa May 11, 2008.” The date, at least, is wrong and essentially impossible, as Survivor Micronesia‘s live finale will air on that day. Earlier, in January, there was discussion on Survivor Sucks about the possibility the show would return to Africa.

Now, though, that seems to be the conclusion most people have reached, and there’s a fake opening sequence on YouTube. Even the shockingly ignorant people who incorrectly answer one another’s questions on Yahoo are convinced that Gabon is the show’s next location. If that’s not confirmation, I don’t know what is.

Gabon [CIA World Factbook]
Survivor 17 [Reality Fan Forum]
Survivor 17+ – future locations? [Survivor Sucks]
Survivor: Gabon [YouTube]

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.