6 Steps to Surviving in a Desert

Africa is known for its 3 large deserts but 22 cover the continent.

Given the number of deserts in Africa, it is likely that many corporate travellers will be exposed to this harsh environment during their travels on the continent. With approximately 25% of the land mass covered by desert, it is important to know how to survive in such an environment.

Not all deserts are seas of rolling sand dunes. Each has its own unique features and distinct weather patterns. But, each of them pose similar risks to corporate travellers: life expectancy is linked to the amount of water you can drink; you need to minimise water loss from the body; shelter from the sun is vital; and low night time temperatures can cause hypothermia.

6 steps to surviving in a desert

  1. Soak up sweat by wearing a bandana around your neck and  sanitary pads on your feet.
  2. Minimise evaporation by covering your body with long trousers, long sleeved shirts and a hat. Breathe through your nose rather than your mouth.
  3. Look after your feet by tying strups of cloth around the tops of your boot to prevent sand from getting inside.
  4. Maximise your eye protection by using sun glasses. Use charcoal to blacken the skin under your eyes to reduce glare into your eyes.
  5. Extract water from plants with their roots near the surface, such as saxaul or cactus. Extract water by mashing or squeezing the pulp.
  6. If there are no suitable materials to build a shelter, make one below the ground. Create a second layer above the first to increase the cooling effect.

Learn how to survive in any hostile environment and attend one of our H.E.A.T. courses.



H.E.A.T. tip: To make a rehydration solution, mix half a teaspoon of salt with 2 tablespoons of sugar in 1 litre of water.