How To Prep For Survival In 2021 – For City Dwellers

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How To Prep For Survival In 2021 – For City Dwellers is written for the South African situation. I address some of the issues that we South Africans have to face, and they are many and daunting.

In this article I deal with:

  • Bugging – In At Home Or With A GroupUrban Survivor
  • What Are We Prepping For
  • Where To Start
  • Surveying The Buggin Site
  • Supplies
  • Tools & Things
  • Daily routine
  • Communication
  • Shortage of supplies
  • Disease
  • Increase In Violence And Attacks
  • Escape Plan
  • A Case For Bugging In Or Bugging Out
  • Join A Prepping Group

Most of the problems unique to urban survival arise from the vast number of people sharing your city with you. The more people, the more problems, as they deplete the Medical resources, vacuum up all the food and wash away the now scarce water supply. Don’t forget the increasing crime and violence as desperate people now invade your areas to find food.

Bugging – In At Home Or With A Group

The first thing you will need to consider is whether You are going it alone and bugging in at home with your family or joining a group that will bug in at a suitable venue. This is something you need to consider very carefully.

The main reason that I am given by people that intend to bug in, in the city is that they are not prepared to abandon their home and furniture to the “others”. Other reasons expressed are that they are not sure if the roads will be safe or they have no idea of where to head to reach a safe haven.

Then there is a group that wants to form an armed force to cordon off areas and make them “safe zones” in the city. This is all well and good, as long as electricity, food and water remain online and available, which, in South Africa, is highly unlikely. Eskom can hardly keep the lights on now, let alone if anarchy breaks out. I will discuss this in more detail later in the post.

What Are We Prepping For

So why are we prepping? What do we expect to happen, or not happen? Well, in RSA there is a huge likelihood of financial collapse as the States coffers are emptied by the corruption and fraud being carried out by the politicians and other connected, high profile cadres and family members.Looting Supplies

Black Economic Empowerment has shrunk the tax base and the COVID 19 lockdown has decimated what was left of the tax base, leaving the State with a huge shortfall in their budget.

The absolute rabid attack on whites, farmers, minorities and foreigners has become an extremely common occurrence. Even the SAPS members, in uniform, are attacking farmers and leaving them for dead, on their farms. Do I need to go on?

There is a very real likelihood of the wheels coming off soon. The State has already cancelled payout of thousands of temporary disability grants, leading to thousands of disabled people sitting in rows outside SASA offices for days, until the SAPS dispersed them with water cannons.

Have you ever heard of such a thing? Police turning high-pressure water cannons on the desperate disabled citizen that were quietly sitting in the queue to sort out their grants?

With the rabid rhetoric out of the mouths of the equally rabid politicians, there is little doubt that the masses are being directed toward a specific minority and when SHTF, the masses of hungry, unemployed people will be coming for those that they believe have food and other necessities.

And If That is not enough, don’t forget about Eskom, the power supplier.

Where To Start

If you have decided to bug in at home or with a group at a suitable venue in the city, it is now time to start planning. There is a lot to do, starting with:

  • Surveying the chosen bug-in siteFood Storage
  • developing a plan of action
  • Sourcing supplies
  • Collecting tools and implements
  • Collecting and storing water
  • Planning daily routines for when SHTF.
  • Ensuring communication of some sort
  • How to safely preserve and store your food and other supplies
  • Combating and preventing disease
  • Safety and security of your compound
  • Escape routes

There is a lot to consider and to do to prepare for the worst.

Surveying The Buggin Site

Wherever you have decided to bug in, you need to do a thorough survey of the venue. You will need to ascertain what facilities it has.

  • What you will need to buy or upgrade,
  • Water storage facilities
  • Defences
  • Visibility from streets,
  • access points
  • Storage areas
  • Power – generators etc
  • facilities for medical emergencies
  • Escape routes

You need to ensure that the premises are suitable for shelter, defense and practical. You don’t want to enter a site that has too many entrances/access points for you to defend with the number of people in the group, neither do you want to place yourself in a corner with no possible escape.

Remember, when the attackers come in numbers, you will not be able to run to defend different points. Make sure your venue is defendable with the people and resources available to you. Do not bank only anyone coming to save you!

1 Prepping And Upgrades To Site Security

After surveying the site, establishing the weak points and shortcomings, it is time to plan improvements. This is critical as you will need to be sure that you have the means to do the upgrades in a relatively short time. If it needs too much work, it may be better to look for a more practical site.

As things appear to be regressing in South Africa, Time may be of the essence. Even the financial experts are predicting financial collapse by the end of 2021!

2 Site Infrastructure

When I look at infrastructure, I want to know where the premises lay. Is it in a hollow, on top of a hill etc? If it is in a low-lying area, you will probably have water for a few hours longer but when the municipal infrastructure is no longer working, where isInfrastructure upgrades all that sewage going? That’s right, down to you. your toilets might backup, drains overflow and you could end up with a yard full of sewage and disease.

If there is a hill next to the premises, it makes an excellent spot to attack you from. If there is a hill, you want to be on top of it.

Does the site have a generator? This would undoubtedly help for refrigeration and storage of medicines and perishables. The downside of this is you will need a massive supply of fuel, which will have to be replenished regularly, but from where?

Are there enough toilets and when the infrastructure collapses, are there suitable alternatives? Make sure that you plan for this.

What is the structure build with? prefab or wooden structures would definitely be less than suitable. you need protection from aggressors and the rain and winter weather.

3 Escape Routes

It does not matter how well you prep. There is ALWAYS Murphy’s Law. There is no way you can know what the opposition is planning so it is unlikely that you will plan for every eventuality. To this end, ensure that you have suitable escape routes and make sure that you have a well-planned escape, with suitable meeting places and that everyone knows the plan in detail.

Everyone must know who is responsible for what, who will collect the kids and where you will meet each other. Set a number of meeting points with time limits. Wait the required 10 minute/1 hour etc then move on to the next point to wait again.

Meeting points should not be too close and you should not wait too long. The closer points should have very short waits and as you get to safer areas, you could wait as much as a day or so for members that were separated to catch up.


It is not just a case of buying goods and dumping them in a box or crate. A lot of food will have to be repacked, cooked,whole grain vacuum-packed etc. Tools will need to be oiled, stored in a dry place etc. If you want things to last, you will need to research and pack carefully. Metal rusts and food goes off or is infested with weevils etc.

1 Food

Food is important. Buy the staples like rice, maize meal, flour, beans, lentils, yeast ( or an alternative like Kefir that lasts longer and is multipurpose). Buying whole grains from the local mill will do you well as it lasts longer than milled grain. If you can only source milled grains, vacuum-pack it and place it in the freezer for 5 days at least. Do not leave it in the original paper packaging as it will develop weevils. For more on how to avoid weevils, read here.

2 Water

This is probably the biggest problem for preppers. Municipal water will not last long and if the power goes, the so too does your water. Remember, you can only last three days without water so you need to have sufficient and a source to replenish your supply. Many people believe that they are OK as they have a swimming pool. You should remember that you will have to boil the water and as time goes on, filter it.

It will also be good to remember that the surrounding houses will know you have a pool and will come knocking. Your water might not last as long as you would like.

For those living in apartments, you will have to find a source for more water. Flats are probably not the best spot to bug-in.

3 Meds & First Aid

Think very long and carefully about this one. There are lots of videos and blogs over this but at the end of the day, it is what you need and what you can afford.Medicine

Many people are stocking up with chest wound bandages, and all sort of wound treatment including Drips, antibiotics etc. Not everyone can afford these items nor do a lot of people know how to use them.

One should, however, keep bandages and treatments for cuts, burns and bruises as well as antihistamines for bee stings etc, If you have children, remember to keep meds that are suitable for them.

Another important item to look at is chronic meds. This can be a problem as medical aids limit the supply of these items so you will have to get a script and pay for the meds yourself. You need to acquire as much medicine as you can, especially for chronic meds, and oxygen for those that rely on it.

You must remember to rotate your meds. Put the date on the packs with a marker so that they are easy to read and store the new and use the old.

4 Clothes

Edgars and Foschini will not be open so you need to ensure that you have enough materials to make clothes for the family. You can only do running repairs for so long before having to make new. Make sure that you have the correct type of clothing for the weather conditions that you will face.

Shoes will be important as they will be in short supply. As I said, consider your location and ensure that you have sufficient suitable clothes, cotton, needles and materials. Colour is also very important. You don’t want to stand out, you want to be “Grey” as in not noticeable.

5 Bedding

As you are bugging in, if you are at home, you won’t have a problem. If, however, you are relocating to another venue in the city, you will need to take your bedding along. Take extra if you can, as they wear out, get torn up for curtains and clothes etc. and there is nowhere to buy new. Sleeping bags work well and last quite well.

Tools & Things

1 Hand Tools For Running Repairs

Murphy’s Law will strike and you will need to repair things as there will be no mechanic. Plumber or electrician on call to carry out repairs. Remember to take tools like:

  • Spanners,Tools
  • vice-grip,
  • saw,
  • chisels,
  • pliers,
  • Electrical tape,
  • Puncture repair kit,
  • Silicon rubber
  • Hammer
  • some nails
  • knife
  • hacksaw

This list is not meant to be comprehensive, just an idea to get you thinking.

2 Power & lighting

You will need some light source for at night. If there is no power then you will need paraffin lamps or solar panels and batteries with twelve-volt LEDs.

Remember to black out the light in the windows. you do not want to advertise your existence to the world. Light means resources and others will definitely be drawn to it like moths.

Small solar panels will be a good investment.

3 Fire Extinguisher

Accidents happen, especially if you are using paraffin. So too are petrol bombs not out of the equation. It is far better to be prepared and this is an important item. Buckets of sand, strategically placed will also help. Remember fire blankets or some other material to cover someone with to kill the flames if they should be covered in burning fluids.

4 Fuel

Make sure that your vehicle is full and that you have enough stored fuel to escape if push comes to shove. Do not use this fuel to start fires or run your generator. Remember, if you use plastic containers, they need to be rated for fuel, petrol dissolves some plastics.

Store you fuel away from your quarters as we don’t want fires or fumes where we live.

Here too, you should rotate your fuel supply. There are also additives to add to the fuel to make it keep better.

5 Self Defense Weapons

Not everyone has a firearm and in good old (or should I say new) fashioned RSA it is becoming more and more difficult to weaponobtain a licensed firearm. If you are one of these unfortunate people, you will need to get your self some form of weapon that does not require a license.

Cross-bows and the better quality air rifles are a good substitute and don’t write off booby traps on the perimeter.

Daily routine

Make a list of chores that need to be done daily and assign them to people. Make sure everyone has something to do and someone else needs to check. If we check on each other we will reduce the effects of Murphy’s law. Assign each task to someone and everyone needs to check on someone else’s chores.

  • Security
  • cooking
  • cleaning
  • maintenance
  • education (if you have kids)
  • Socialising (very important to talk and interact with each other, other than to work, play games, read stories etc.)
  • Planning
  • Training

Many times, when someone takes ill then their chores go unattended. By checking on each other, chores should not fall through the cracks if someone is ill or forgets something and routines are a good way to help keep morale up and instil discipline.


No Power means no Cell phones after a few hours and no internet. Landlines will be useless. That leaves you with two feasible options:

  1. Radios
  2. Satellite phones

Radios are a fair option, especially if you belong to a national group of preppers. Some groups have a radio network that spans the entire country and people are becoming radio hams to Improve their groups capacity. Handhelds are widely used and the radio hams then put the call out as the need arises.

The handheld radio can also be useful to individuals as they may be able to contact other local groups but, be careful. There will be unwanted groups listening in.

Satellite Phones are probably the best option in a SHTF situation but they are expensive. They would give a person the communication one might need to the rest of the city, country or even internationally. It is probably the best option but, as I said, it is an expensive option.

Shortage of supplies

I am sure that we are all aware that our supplies will not last forever. They, in most cases, will not last longer than six Empty cupboardmonths. If the situation has not yet improved (and it probably will not have in that short a time frame) what will you do then? Have you considered this and planned for it.

The longer the situation rages, the more dangerous it gets. Those that are still alive will be even more desperate than before and supplies will be in short supply. Buildings will have been stripped of anything that can burn or that could be useful. Food will be non-existent and people would have resorted to catching and eating anything that moves, pets, rats etc.

What is your plan? Have you planned for this? What are your options? By now, your group will be weakened through illness and probably even death!

Did you start a garden in time? What about chickens and rabbits? Did you take those with? By now, you would probably have eaten them because their food would have been depleted and their production would have ceased.

What to do now? You would have tried foraging by this stage and would have found it to not be yelling enough to feed the group, not to mention how dangerous it would be.

Maybe….Just Maybe, It is time to put your escape plan into action


Disease is going to be one of the biggest dangers. With all the sewage, waste and yes, even corpses in the streets, disease is likely to be rife. This, with the lack of medicines and medical equipment and doctors, is going to be a serious threat.

Another concern is going to be chronic meds. Most supplies of chronic meds will now be exhausted. What is to be done now? Most medicines will have been exhausted by now. There will be little or nothing left to treat the most minor illness. It is not like you will be able to go and forage for natural remedies in the city. There will be very little useful greenery left, not to mention the dangers of foraging.

You will have to ensure that you have an extensive supply of all the medicines that you may need. Don’t think that you will be able to source meds later. Collect the herbs and things you need now, dry them and pack them properly now. Later might be too late.

Increase In Violence And Attacks

As time goes on in the period of SHTF, the likelihood of attacks will increase. It will be imperative that you keep a very lowViolence profile and try to make your compound invisible. By invisible, I mean invisible, It must not show anything of value to the outside world and must look just as damaged and striped as the surrounding buildings.

Ensure that there is no light showing from your refuge as possible. Remember, light means value and someone will want it. Invisible is the key.

Escape Plan

Better safe than sorry so have an escape plan. There might very well come a time when you feel you need to evacuate, get out of the city. When that time comes, you might be under huge stress, especially if you are under attack etc. Having an escape plan which everyone knows and which has been kept up to date with the changing circumstances, will increase your chance of survival.

  • Plan
  • Bugout bags
  • Communication
  • Support
  • Route
  • Transport
  • Destination
  • Re-evaluate regularly

A Case For Bugging In Or Bugging Out

This is a very personal choice and people often become very emotional when discussing it. It has even led to groups splitting and groups attacking each other verbally. This is unfortunate as we really need to stand together in these times and we can differ in our views and decisions but be should respect each other and each other’s decisions.

There are merits to each and place for each. We all have to do what we believe is best. Some of us want to make a stand locally, others want to protect what is there’s, and yet others want to evacuate the cities, establish a safe zone for the women children and aged and then defend and recover from a position of strength. As I said, there is room for all opinions without us being enemies.

Bugging In

By bugging in, one would be able to protect what is yours and would not have to undertake the hazards of trying to flee the city and travelling hundreds of Kilometers where you have a chance of being attacked.Traffic Jam

You would have prepared your bug-in venue, your stores and supplies would be in place and secured and you won’t be taking the chance of losing them along the way. Your family would not be placed at risk while travelling and there will be other like-minded people that you could possibly turn to for help.

Trying to get out of the city could be a nightmare if it is not done timeously. Roads could be blocked by thousands of vehicle trying to navigate intersections without traffic lights, not to mention the possibility of rioters.

Concerns: I personally have concerns about bugging in and they are:

  1. What to do when supplies run low
  2. Disease will be rife
  3. How do you defend against sustained attacks by rioting mobs?

Bugging Out

Bugging out is an option where you will leave the city (hopefully timeously, before the mass exodus), preferably in an organised group to form a convoy. Travelling in convoy gives greater protection but does not guarantee safety.

Bugging out gives you the opportunity to get your loved ones to safety where there is safety in numbers. A place where there is organisation, structure, defence, medical personnel and more.

Some organisations have gone as far to arrange in the area designated to be a safe zone, that some of the farmers take people in, that there are camps and facilities available, that there will be defence units trained and deployed when the SHTF.


  1. The trip to the safe zone could be very harrowing with mobs and rioters along the way.
  2. Going it alone could be extremely challenging. I would definitely recommend joining a group for this.
  3. Who is in charge of the endpoint? Again, I would join a group so that this was predetermined.

Join A Prepping Group

Joining a “prepper group” is a good option for someone that is new to the concept of prepping. There is a lot of info on the internet but joining a group is really helpful to get practical advice, a plan of action and group support.Suidlanders

Joining a group give you access to people with a variety of skills that can advise but even help with projects etc.

I have been part of a group for a number of years and it has really helped me in my preparations and you will not believe the peace of mind it gives you knowing that there is a plan of action and it is rehearsed and tweaked regularly.

If you want more info on this group, please follow one of these links: English Afrikaans

If You have any questions contact me here

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