Skip to main content

In this era, reality TV shows are commonplace. But one of the first, most popular ones that put the genre on the map was the CBS show, Survivor. From its first season, that show was an innovator that changed the way TV was made in a lot of respects. Survivor seems to challenge its contestants, pushing them to their physical, mental, and emotional limits as they do battle to win the ultimate prize. But are all elements of the show truly what they seem? Let’s take a closer look at whether contestants really walk from their camp to challenges and tribal council meetings. 

'Survivor' contestants walking along a beach
Survivor | CBS via Getty Images

‘Survivor’ has been running for years and is still going strong

It seems like anywhere you turn these days, there is a TV show pitting contestants against each other to win a prize. But Survivor really started the reality game show genre off like no one else did. According to the official CBS website, Survivor is on its 41st season and has been producing new episodes since the late ’90s. The latest edition of the show was “Winners at War,” and put 20 of the show’s most famous victors against each other. 

The way the show works is this: two groups of contestants are left in a remote area and split into two teams. The teams must then compete against each other, with eventually one remaining winner being named sole survivor. Over the years, different wrinkles have been added to the game to test the players. For example, one feature called “Edge of Extinction” gave players voted off the island the opportunity to return. The show awards a prize at the end to the winner. This season, the show’s ultimate survivor will win $2 million, an amount so large that no other reality TV show has awarded it in TV history. 

How challenges and the tribal councils figure into ‘Survivor’ 

So how does one win on Survivor? What makes the show so compelling is that while it is ultimately every person for themselves, alliances must be forged to get ahead. No player can truly win on their own. As noted above, the contestants are split into teams, or “tribes.” These tribes compete against each other in a series of challenges designed to test both their stamina, endurance, and intelligence. 

The show also features meetings of the tribal council, which is where players vote on who should leave the show. Players are voted off one by one until only one remains. The challenges and tribal council are two features of the show that players must find a way to get to, as they are not located in the exact same area as the camp. But how do the players get there? 

Do contestants really walk from camp to challenges and tribal council on ‘Survivor?’ 


‘Survivor’ Star Johnny Fairplay Called Out for Profiting off Arrest by Selling Merchandise

One question on many viewers’ minds is how the contestants get around during the show. While it may seem like they have to travail across these exotic locations, the real answer is less exciting. In short, they do not. According to The Travel, contestants don’t have to walk to each challenge site or to the tribal council.

They ride in vehicles that have “blacked out” windows to avoid letting them see outside. That way, they can’t know where they’re headed in order to come back later. If they were able to see a challenge or tribal council site, they may be able to return at an unspecified time and gain an unfair advantage. 

Survivor challenges its contestants enough. They don’t also make them walk to and from the challenge sites and/or the tribal council. Instead, they take a great effort to provide them transportation without revealing much of anything in terms of the location.