Kidnapping (and its variant Observing) is a twist that has been used in multiple seasons of Survivor. The winning tribe of a Reward Challenge will choose a member of the losing tribe to join them at their camp for a time.

The original twist was used in Survivor: Pearl Islands, Survivor: All-Stars, Survivor: Cook Islands, and Survivor: China, and was rehashed in Survivor: Samoa under a new format, whereupon the winning tribe will select one of their own to observe the opposing tribe back at their camp.

On occasion, the kidnapped contestant may be abstained from their tribe's Tribal Council.


Pearl Islands

Rupert Boneham was kidnapped by the Morgan tribe after Morgan won Immunity during the events of "Pick a Castaway... Any Castaway". Because of this, Rupert was exempt from Drake's Tribal Council, and even participated in a Reward Challenge as part of the Morgan Tribe. After winning reward, Rupert was given the choice of staying with the Morgan tribe to enjoy the reward and returning to the Drake tribe after, or immediately rejoining the Drake tribe. Rupert chose to rejoin the Drake tribe immediately.


Kathy Vavrick-O'Brien was kidnapped by the Chapera tribe in "Sorry... I Blew It" and abstained from Mogo Mogo's Tribal Council. After the Immunity Challenge, she enjoyed a similar situation to that of Rupert Boneham from the previous season.

Cook Islands

Nate Gonzalez was kidnapped by the Aitutaki tribe, as a part of a reward which Aitu had won. He had a similar situation to Kathy and Rupert's from the previous seasons, in that he would be abstained from Tribal Council.


The winning tribe of the Reward Challenge would select one member from the losing tribe to join them back at camp. The chosen castaway would be given a scroll, which they must give to a member of the winning tribe of his choosing to open in private, which would contain a clue to the location of the winning tribe's Hidden Immunity Idol. The kidnapped contestant would return to their original tribe at the next Immunity Challenge.


The winning tribe of the Reward Challenge would have their Leader choose one member to go to the other tribe as opposed to taking part in the reward. Known as "Observing," they would then be given the opportunity to observe their camp life and relay any information back upon their return.



Episode Kidnapped by Kidnapped
Pearl Islands
"Pick a Castaway... Any Castaway"
Morgan S7 rupert t
Rupert Boneham
"Sorry... I Blew It"
Chapera S8 kathy t
Kathy Vavrick-O'Brien
Cook Islands
"Plan Voodoo"
Aitutaki S13 nate t
Nate Gonzalez
"My Mom Is Going to Kill Me!"
Fei Long S15 jaime t
Jaime Dugan
"I Lost Two Hands and Possibly a Shoulder"
Zhan Hu S15 leslie t
Leslie Nease
"Ride the Workhorse Till the Tail Falls Off"
Fei Long S15 dave t
Dave Cruser
"That's Love, Baby! It Makes You Strong!"
Fei Long S15 james t
James Clement


Episode Observed
"Taking Candy from a Baby"
Foa Foa S19 yasmin t
Yasmin Giles
"It's Called a Russell Seed"
S19 shambo t
Shambo Waters
"Walking on Thin Ice"
"Houdini Magic"
S19 laura t
Laura Morett


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  • Rupert Boneham was the first castaway to be kidnapped in the history of Survivor, as well as the only castaway to compete in multiple seasons featuring kidnappings.

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