Survivor's Aras in SA

2011-03-22 14:29
Former US Survivor contestant Aras Baskauskas is still "madly in love" with South Africa.

Aras, winner of Survivor: Exile Island (season 12 in the US series), recently visited South Africa for a third time, after having lived here in 2005 and falling in love with the country.

"I absolutely love South Africa. There is vitality in the land and the people that we don't see in the US," said Baskauskas.

"Plus having lived previously in Cape Town, there are a group of friends that I cherish and visiting them is certainly a big draw as well."

The 29-year-old was in the country for three weeks recently, together with his girlfriend Christy Petersen and brother Vytas. They came to surprise one of Baskauskas's Capetonian friends for his 30th birthday.

"Neither my brother nor girlfriend has been to the country much less the continent before. It was wonderful to have Christy with me.  It’s so much fun to explore with a partner.  I'm comfortable travelling alone, but it sure is nice to have someone to do it with."


Baskauskas first got to experience SA in 2005 when he stayed in Cape Town for six months, opening up a yoga studio. He later returned to Los Angeles before entering Survivor, and walking away with $1m prize.

These days, Baskauskas is "still heavy into yoga". "I run a winter hat company called Tundra Gear that is doing really well. So that keeps me plenty busy.  I also play music, and I’m working on my first album," he said.

Baskauskas, who previously visited in 2007 after winning Survivor, said the 2010 Soccer World Cup held in SA "clearly had a positive impact on the country". 

"I couldn't believe how many tourists were in Cape Town during our stay.  There is a palpable pride surging through the population."

More travelling

This time around, Baskauskas managed to travel around the country more. "We went to Kruger National Park, which was amazing, and we drove the Garden Route, not to mention everything there is to do in the Cape Town area.  I couldn't believe how warm the water was this trip. It’s usually freezing but this year it was perfect," he admitted.

The self-proclaimed die-hard Survivor fan said even though the show has reached 22 seasons on TV, he’s still "a big fan".  "My girlfriend and I try not to miss an episode, and if we do miss it, we catch up with it as soon as we can."

Clayton Morar is a celebrity autograph hunter and blogger. See his exploits at publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

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