|Presented by||Jeff Probst|
|No. of days||39|
|No. of castaways||16|
|Location||Shaba National Reserve, Kenya|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of episodes||14|
|Original release||October 11, 2001 –|
January 10, 2002
|Filming dates||July 11 –|
August 18, 2001
Survivor: Africa is the third season of the American CBS competitive reality television series Survivor. The season was filmed from July 11, 2001 through August 18, 2001 in Kenya's Shaba National Reserve on the African continent, and aired weekly from October 11, 2001 until the live finale on January 10, 2002, when Ethan Zohn was named Sole Survivor over Kim Johnson by a jury vote of 5-2. Hosted by Jeff Probst, it consisted of the usual 39 days of gameplay with 16 competitors.
The two initial tribes were Boran and Samburu, named for the real-life Borana and Samburu tribes. After 12 days, three members of each team switched to the other team, in what became known as the first "twist" in Survivor. When ten contestants remained, the two tribes merged into the Moto Maji tribe (Swahili for 'fire' and 'water').
|Contestant||Original tribe||Switched tribe||Merged tribe||Finish|
42, Lincoln, Nebraska
|Boran||1st voted out|
26, Orlando, Florida
|Boran||2nd voted out|
46, Winter Springs, Florida
|Samburu||3rd voted out|
44, Boston, Massachusetts
|Samburu||4th voted out|
23, Los Angeles, California
|Samburu||Boran||5th voted out|
26, Portland, Oregon
|Samburu||Samburu||6th voted out|
24, Detroit, Michigan
|Boran||Boran||Moto Maji||7th voted out|
22, San Diego, California
|Boran||Samburu||8th voted out|
1st jury member
25, Dallas, Texas
|Samburu||Samburu||9th voted out|
2nd jury member
43, Odessa, New York
|Samburu||Boran||10th voted out|
3rd jury member
29, Conshohocken, Pennsylvania
|Samburu||Samburu||11th voted out|
4th jury member
42, Jackson, Georgia
|Samburu||Boran||12th voted out|
5th jury member
45, Rich Valley, Virginia
|Boran||Samburu||13th voted out|
6th jury member
|Lex van den Berghe
38, Santa Cruz, California
|Boran||Samburu||14th voted out|
7th jury member
56, Oyster Bay, New York
27, New York City, New York
Ethan Zohn has competed with Lex van den Berghe and Tom Buchanan again on Survivor: All-Stars. Zohn also competed on Survivor: Winners at War. In 2015, Teresa Cooper was included on the public poll to choose the cast of Survivor: Cambodia, but was not chosen to compete.
Outside of Survivor, Zohn competed on a "Reality All-Stars" episode of Fear Factor and also appeared on The Amazing Race 19 with then-girlfriend and fellow Survivor winner Jenna Morasca. In 2013, van den Berghe and Buchanan were both involved in the making of the television series Family Beef.
The sixteen castaways were split into two tribes, Samburu and Boran, and were given camps that included pre-constructed fencing to help protect them from wildlife. Samburu took an early lead, but the tribe was internally divided along age lines (Silas, Kim P., Brandon and Lindsey as one, and Frank, Teresa, Carl and Linda as the other). At their first Tribal Council, the age blocs left a stalemate tie between Carl and Lindsey, and with no previous votes to count, a quiz was used, with Lindsay winning and putting the younger members in control; on the next visit to Tribal Council, Linda was eliminated, and both tribes were even at six members. On Day 13, the tribes were given a vague clue about sending three members on a quest, unaware this would be the first tribal swap for Survivor. Silas picked himself along with the two remaining older Samburu, Frank and Teresa, while Kelly, Big Tom and Lex were picked for Boran. After informed of the tribal swap, these players joined their new tribe; Frank and Teresa quickly went to work with the original Boran members to eliminate Silas, while the original Boran members on Samburu learned of Lindsay's past votes and were able to eliminate her.
The tribes merged into Moto Maji with ten players remaining, six from the original Boran and four from Samburu. Aware that the Boran players were sticking with original alliances, Samburu members of Moto Maji scrambled to stay in. During the first tribal council post-merge, a mystery vote was cast for Lex, sending him on a witch hunt. Deciding it had been Kelly, a member of his alliance that had voted against him, he asked his alliance to turn against one of their own. When she found out what was going to happen, Kelly banded with the Samburu members, but Lex had also convinced Brandon to vote with his alliance, leading to Kelly's elimination. Brandon's disloyalty to Samburu would lead to his elimination as well as the elimination of the other remaining original Samburu members.
The final four were Ethan, Lex, Big Tom, and Kim J. Kim won the last two immunity challenges; Tom was voted off, then, Lex was voted out by Kim's solitary vote.
At the Final Tribal Council, Kim J. was praised for surviving the game for her age, but accused of riding the coattails of Lex, Ethan, and Big Tom. Ethan was praised for his likeability and integrity, and the jury voted Ethan the Sole Survivor on a 5-2 vote.
|No.||Title||Original air date||Reward||Immunity|
|1||"Question of Trust"||October 11, 2001||Samburu[a]||Diane||1st voted out|
|2||"Who's Zooming Whom?"||October 18, 2001||Samburu||Samburu||Jessie||2nd voted out|
|3||"The Gods Are Angry"||October 25, 2001||Boran||Boran||Carl||3rd voted out|
|4||"The Young and Untrusted"||November 1, 2001||Samburu||Boran||Linda||4th voted out|
|5||"The Twist"||November 8, 2001||Boran||Samburu||Silas||5th voted out|
|6||"I'd Never Do It To You"||November 15, 2001||Samburu||Boran||Lindsey||6th voted out|
|7||"Will There Be a Feast Tonight?"||November 22, 2001||None[b]||Teresa||Clarence||7th voted out|
|8||"The First 21 Days"||November 29, 2001||Recap Episode|
|9||"Smoking Out the Snake"||December 6, 2001||Ethan
|Ethan||Kelly||8th voted out|
1st jury member
|10||"Dinner, Movie and a Betrayal"||December 13, 2001||Brandon,
|Lex||Brandon||9th voted out|
2nd jury member
|11||"We Are Family"||December 20, 2001||Survivor
|Lex||Frank||10th voted out|
3rd jury member
|12||"The Big Adventure"||December 27, 2001||Lex
|Tom||Kim P.||11th voted out|
4th jury member
|13||"Truth Be Told"||January 3, 2002||Lex||Lex||Teresa||12th voted out|
5th jury member
|14||"The Final Four: No Regrets"||January 10, 2002||None||Kim J.||Tom||13th voted out|
6th jury member
|Kim J.||Lex||14th voted out|
7th jury member
|15||"The Reunion"||Jury vote|
- In the case of multiple tribes or castaways who win reward or immunity, they are listed in order of finish, or alphabetically where it was a team effort; where one castaway won and invited others, the invitees are in brackets.
- Combined reward and immunity challenge.
- There was no reward challenge due to tribal merge.
|Title||CBS recap||Original air date||US viewers|
|31||1||"Question of Trust"||Recap||October 11, 2001||23.84||10.4/20|
The sixteen castaways, already divided into the two tribes of Boran and Samburu, were dropped off in the middle of a remote area of Kenya and given a common set of supplies and maps to their camps, requiring them to carry whatever supplies they could. The camps were pre-made fenced enclosures to help protect them from wild animals, and required the tribes to keep a fire going and at least two players on watch.
Samburu's tribe found itself split based on age, with the older, ex-military Frank's orders were resented by the younger members. On Boran, Diane had fallen sick from the initial hike.
Samburu won the challenge. Boran, defeated, went to collect water while Clarence, who stayed behind to watch Diane, split one of the tribe's can of beans with her, which created trust issues when the rest of the tribe returned. At Tribal Council, the tribe commented on the newfound trust issues, but decided to vote off the weak Diane.
|32||2||"Who's Zooming Whom?"||Recap||October 18, 2001||19.59||7.9/20|
Boran dealt with considering how trustworthy Clarence was after the can of beans incident. Meanwhile, at Samburu, the older group attempted to reach out to Silas, part of the younger group, to warn them about the younger groups' weakness and attempted to arrange an alliance to strengthen the older group's position.
Samburu won the reward challenge. On Boran, Jessie had fallen ill from the events of the previous days.
Boran lost the immunity challenge, their third loss in a row, due to a faltering performance by Kelly but, at Tribal Council, they decided to vote off the physically-ill Jessie to help strengthen their tribe.
|33||3||"The Gods Are Angry"||Recap||October 25, 2001||20.43||8.0/20|
The Boran tribe worked to correct the trust issues within their group, aided by the need to shore up their camp's fence from wild lions that appeared during the night. Boran won their first challenge. At Samburu, a larger gap formed between the older and younger groups, with the younger group showing little work ethic to keep up camp, leaving it to the older group. During one outburst, Carl reveals that he is already wealthy, making him a target by the younger group.
Boran wins their first challenge, breaking their losing streak and improving tribe morale.
After losing the immunity challenge, Samburu goes to Tribal Council for the first time, and the vote split on age lines between Carl and Lindsey. As the regular tie-breaker method of counting previous votes would not apply due to it being Samburu's first tribal council, the two vie off in a survival quiz; Lindsey wins and Carl is eliminated, putting the younger players in control at Samburu.
|34||4||"The Young and Untrusted"||Recap||November 1, 2001||18.73||7.8/18|
The Boran tribe continues to improve their overall alliance, while the younger group at Samburu use their voting majority to try to coerce the older members to leave them alone.
Once again, Kim J.'s poor challenge performance results in Boran losing another challenge.
After Samburu loses the immunity challenge, Linda is the clear target of the younger group, while Silas suggests to the other older players they continue to vote for Lindsey as to buffer them from potential tie-breakers in the future. At Tribal Council, the older members target Silas, but their votes are insufficient to stop Linda from being eliminated by the younger group.
|35||5||"The Twist"||Recap||November 8, 2001||20.55||8.3/20|
The following day, both tribes are told to select three members for a "quest"; Boran selects Kelly, Lex and Tom, while Samburu chooses Silas, Frank, and Teresa. Both groups are surprised to learn that they will be switching tribes (the first such switch in the show's history). At the new Samburu, the remaining younger players, Brandon, Lindsey, and Kim P., find their new tribemates to have just as demanding a work ethic as the former older members.
Boran wins the reward. Despite their victory, there is a lot of paranoia due to the tribe swap. Silas, now isolated from his former allies, becomes a target to Ethan and Kim J., who consider throwing the challenge and eliminate Silas.
After Boran loses the challenge, Silas attempts to scramble to attain security but is unsuccessful and unanimously sent home.
|36||6||"I'd Never Do It To You"||Recap||November 15, 2001||19.71||8.1/21|
Both tribes begin to plan and theorize on a pending merge, rationing supplies to last until this point.
During the challenge, Kim J. gave small hand signals to the former Boran tribe members, which they later released was information about which Samburu member they should vote for between Brandon and Lindsey given the past voting history. Samburu won the challenge.
Boran wins the challenge. On Samburu, the three former Boran members have deciphered Kim J.'s signals and choose to vote for Lindsay. The three original Boran members attempt to lure one of the others to vote with them, but Kim P. is hesitant of this plan. At Tribal Council, the initial vote is a 3-3 tie between Tom and Lindsey. A revote (without Tom or Lindsey's votes) ends in another tie, leading to the previous votes earned by players to decide who goes home; Tom had lacked any votes prior to that point, and Lindsey is eliminated.
|37||7||"Will There Be a Feast Tonight?"||Recap||November 22, 2001||17.70||6.6/18|
The tribes are told of the immunity challenge but not until they arrive do they realize they have reached the merge, and the challenge is now on an individual level.
The challenge continues for over six hours, and it's down to Clarence and Teresa. With both showing little sign of giving up, the two agree to a rock-paper-scissors round to determine who will drop out while promising not to vote for the other player; Teresa wins this and the individual immunity. The tribe returns to Boran's camp for the traditional merge feast, and name the new tribe "Moto Maji" after the Swahili words for "fire" and "water".
With the original Boran tribe entering the merge with more members of the original Samburu tribe, Clarence becomes a target by the original Boran due to being a physical threat. Clarence tries to sway the vote of the original Borans but is unable to secure a vote, and he is voted out over Lex.
|38||8||"The First 21 Days"||N/A||November 29, 2001||17.80||TBA|
|Recap episode of the first 21 days including bonus scenes.|
|39||9||"Smoking Out the Snake"||Recap||December 6, 2001||19.28||7.9/21|
Lex becomes angry after receiving two votes from the previous council, and attempts to figure out who placed the second vote (Teresa, who had held her deal with Clarence from the previous immunity challenge), creating tension in the tribe.
Ethan wins the reward challenge, and when told he can select another player, brings along Lex who nearly won the challenge over Ethan. The two bond during the trading expedition, and bring back several food items that they share with the tribe.
Ethan wins immunity at the challenge. Lex is still paranoid about who placed the vote against him, and begins to suspect Kelly and tried to convince the Boran for her elimination, but Tom remains suspicious. Meanwhile, Kelly is aware of Lex's plan and joins with Kim P. and Teresa's alliance to protect herself and target Lex, leaving Brandon as the swing vote. At Tribal, Brandon is shown to have voted for Kelly and eliminating her from the game though she becomes the first member of the jury.
|40||10||"Dinner, Movie and a Betrayal"||Recap||December 13, 2001||18.39||7.3/20|
Brandon finds himself in a state of distrust by both former tribes; his former Samburu members having found him favoring the Boran members, while the Boran tribe worries he might return to Samburu in the future.
The pair of Frank and Brandon win the reward, a combination found humorous by others. Despite this, Brandon's intentions are still questioned by the other members. Kim P. realizes she is likely one of the next targets, along with Brandon, and begins to try to align herself to stay in the game.
Lex wins individual immunity. Lex tries to convince his former tribe to vote for Frank instead of Brandon, but Ethan and Tom worry about Lex's complicated plans and consider abandoning their alliance with him. The tribe ends up voting out Brandon over Frank at Tribal Council.
|41||11||"We Are Family"||Recap||December 20, 2001||19.60||7.7/22|
After the food auction, there is a discussion on how Tom was happy to not have to share the ham in the breakfast meal they bid on together due to Ethan's Jewish background, but Ethan understands Tom was joking around and it doesn't affect their relationship.
Lex wins the immunity challenge, and Frank realizes he is next to be voted out. He tries to show his sympathetic side to the others, but his opinion on gun control and past military action unnerves Kim P. The remaining women realizes that they may be dominated by the remaining men and plan to eliminate Ethan at Tribal Council over Frank, but this plan does not work and Frank is voted out.
|42||12||"The Big Adventure"||Recap||December 27, 2001||18.92||7.5/20|
Lex wins the challenge, and is given the opportunity to take along another player; Lex chooses Tom.
Tom wins the immunity challenge. Teresa, still worried about Lex, convinces Kim J. and Kim P. to vote with her and attempts to sway Tom who is still dubious about Lex's former alliance with Brandon. However, at Tribal Council the former Boran alliance holds true and Kim P. is voted out.
|43||13||"Truth Be Told"||Recap||January 3, 2002||21.31||8.7/20|
Lex wins the reward challenge, but after the fact he realizes that being away from camp has put him in a position of vulnerability and unable to plot with his alliance. Meanwhile, his alliance members do worry about Lex' increasing instability and consider him a weakness.
Lex wins immunity, and the Boran members set their sight on Teresa, the last Samburu member. Fighting to stay in the game, she explains to Lex that she had cast that vote against him at Clarence's elimination on advice from Tom, and Lex attempts to sway his alliance to vote off Tom. However, the Borans continue to hold to their original plan and Teresa is eliminated from the game.
|44||14||"The Final Four: No Regrets"||Recap||January 10, 2002||27.26||11.3/25|
Lex confronts Tom on Teresa's claim about her Lex vote, and while Tom denies having told her that, he does admit having advised her about voting against Lex prior to the swap. Lex discuss this with Ethan and the two agree that taking Tom to the final three would be risky and consider absolving their alliance with him.
Kim J. wins the challenge, and Tom is unanimously voted out by the others.
After a traditional Samburu ritual, the final three players compete in the final immunity challenge.
Ethan is eliminated from the challenge earlier by accidentally stepping off a post. Lex and Kim J. continue for several hours, but Lex, who has been feeling ill for the few days, stumbles, and Kim J. wins immunity. At the following Tribal, she votes to eliminate Lex and go into the jury with Ethan. At the final Tribal Council, the jury quizzed Ethan and Kim J. over their gameplay.
|45||15||"The Reunion"||N/A||January 10, 2002||19.05||8.7/20|
Months later, Jeff was on at a CBS studio in Los Angeles (with a live audience) along with a voting urn and, when he returned, it appeared he had returned directly to the tribal council site to read the votes. In reality, the CBS sound stage was made up to look like the site. This was revealed after he read the votes and Ethan was named Sole Survivor with a 5-2 vote, Ethan receiving Kelly, Frank, Teresa, Big Tom, and Lex's votes and Kim J. getting Brandon and Kim P.'s. Prior to appearing in the finale, the contestants were told to make themselves appear as they had looked during the last tribal council and, during the reading of the votes, the audience was told to hold any cheering or applause until after the winner was announced.The castaways return to discuss the season with host Bryant Gumbel.
- The first Tribal Council Vote resulted in a tie. Per the rules, a second vote was held where the castaways involved in the tie would not vote and the remaining castaways could only vote for those who tied.
- After two rounds of voting between Lindsey and Carl, Tribal Council remained tied. As this was Samburu's first Tribal Council, no castaway had prior votes and a countback could not be called. Per the rules, Lindsey and Carl competed in a nature quiz tiebreaker, which Carl lost.
- After two tied votes between Lindsey and Tom, a Tribal Council countback was called as a tiebreaker. Tom had no previous votes but Lindsey had four, therefore Lindsey was eliminated.
- Ethan and Lex were not eligible to vote as the only eligible players they could vote for were each other.
- Lindsey and Tom were not eligible to vote in the second Tribal Council vote.
- Carl and Lindsey were not eligible to vote in the second Tribal Council vote.
Unlike the previous two seasons, Survivor: Africa received much more criticism, primarily for the tough living conditions that the cast had to go through during filming. Dalton Ross of Entertainment Weekly ranked it as the ninth-worst season of the series, saying that, aside from "Some great challenges, not that much else was great." Tom Santilli of Examiner.com ranked it #26, saying that following Borneo and Australian Outback, "it was a complete dud at the time," while also noting that winner Ethan Zohn "was just so-so and not that interesting," and that the cast's "lethargy showed on screen" due to the poor conditions in the filming location. In 2020, it was also ranked 29th by fan site "The Purple Rock Podcast", which similarly said that "this season suffers because of its location," and that "the cast on this season is generally pretty decent, and probably would have been much better if they weren't constantly sapped of energy by lack of food and water." In 2015, a poll by Rob Has a Podcast ranked Africa 19th out of 30 with Rob Cesternino ranking this season 26th. This was updated in 2021 during Cesternino's podcast, Survivor All-Time Top 40 Rankings, ranking 21st out of 40. The season was similarly ranked as the fifth-worst by Andrea Deiher of Zap2it in 2013, before it was replaced by Survivor: San Juan del Sur in 2015. In 2020, Inside Survivor ranked this season 23rd out of 40 saying "Is it the most dynamic season in terms of gameplay? No. But it is rich in character."
There was some controversy surrounding an immunity challenge in the final episode. In a "Fallen Comrades" challenge, in which the contestants were quizzed on trivia regarding players in the game who had been voted out, the final question was "Which female contestant has no piercings?" The official answer, given by Kim J to earn the win, was Kelly. Lex answered the question with Lindsey's name, who, unbeknownst to the producers, also had no piercings. Had Lex been given credit for his correct answer, he and Kim J. would have been tied in the challenge and would have faced tie-breaker questions. After the producers had been alerted to the mistake, both third-place finisher Lex and fourth-place finisher Tom were awarded the $100,000 runner-up prize instead of the traditional third and fourth place earnings.
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