A pair of hapless university friends went stark naked as they battled machete wounds, hypothermia and thunderstorms to survive three weeks in the jungle.
Daniel Olifi, 26, and James Moynihan, 27, wanted to see if they could brave the elements alone in rural Malaysia – just for the challenge.
They nearly ran out of water within hours and Mr Olifi had to go to hospital after he sliced his own hand with a machete.
They took just a flint rock, machete, mosquito net, metal water pot and first aid kit into the wilderness.
Daniel Olifi, 26 (left), and his friend James Moynihan, 27, journeyed to the treacherous Malaysian rainforest to pit their wits and their bodies against the elements
Mr Olifi’s hand was stitched up in hospital after he inadvertently cut it open while falling into a ravine with the sharp machete
Mr Olifi and Mr Moynihan hold grubs on sticks in the Malaysian jungle – the pair lost 46lbs between them as they foraged their food from plants and insects native to the forest
Financial tech worker Mr Olifi and cruise ship entertainer Mr Moynihan lost 46lbs between them after failing to find much to eat except bugs and berries.
The pair endured dozens of mosquito bites, hypothermia and dehydration but managed to complete their three week ‘holiday’ near the equator.
The hardy duo decided not to wear clothes to ‘show that it can be done’ and recorded their adventure in video diaries.
Mr Olifi, from London, said: ‘It was scary at times. Going to sleep at night, for all you know a snake might get in your shelter and you might not wake up the next morning.
‘You can really step on a snake at any point and not know it, or hypothermia can get you. You realise: “Damn! This is how idiots die in the wild and are never found.”
‘It was tough. Our bodies were cannibalising our muscle for energy just to stay alive. We wanted to do something truly inspirational and epic – once in a lifetime.
‘You only live once, so you may as well do everything you can. We wanted to show that anybody can push themselves to the limit to a point beyond giving up in a primal situation.
‘We did it without clothes – to strip ourselves down to the bare minimum – to show that it can be done.’
Mr Olifi is no stranger to adventure, having walked from the UK to the Alps in 2014 where he partially survived on a diet of slugs and water from the mountain rivers.
In 2015 he cycled across the Sahara, drinking his own urine to conquer the 1,100 mile desert ride.
Inspired by TV survival programmes, the pair flew to Malaysia in October last year for their latest challenge in the rainforests of Kuantan in Panhang.
On day one, they set off to find a lake in the middle of the forest which they thought was half a day’s walk away – but they never found it.
Within hours they were running out of water and while Mr Moynihan, from Woking, Surrey, went to find water, Mr Olifi started to build a shelter to protect them from an incoming thunderstorm.
He fell down a ravine and cut his hand with a machete, leaving him with a nasty cut he tried to patch up with superglue.
The pair built shelters from sticks covered with leaves and made their beds with larger leaves as they slept on the forest floor amid the creepy crawlies
Mr Moynihan, whose front end was covered by a leaf, stands beside his shelter amid the dense Malaysian jungle
Mr Olifi wore nothing but a leaf over his privates as he and his university friend Mr Moynihan braved the elements naked for three weeks alone in rural Malaysia
Mr Moynihan (pictured in the jungle) and his university friend Mr Olifi enjoy going on unusual holidays together and wanted to challenge themselves to the survival expedition
Mr Olifi said: ‘We didn’t have time to make a shelter before the thunderstorms started.
‘We went under a tree and cut down twigs and branches with leaves on to cover us like a thick sheet. Though this was meant to prevent most of the water from getting on us, we were still shivering.
‘Whilst I was cutting down leaves I fell partially down a ravine. I tried to fix my hand with superglue to create a seal from bacteria, which I thought would be a temporary fix. It hurt a lot.
‘We tried to make a move early in the morning, but this was impossible. Mosquitoes started to bite us.’
The next morning his hand was so painful they had to leave the rainforest and get help – making their way to the road and hitching a ride to a nearby hospital.
Mr Olifi had an x-ray and the wound was fixed with stitches, before they left the hospital to restart their adventure, this time in a different rainforest near Sungai Tekai.
They stripped off, and for a further 18 days survived on berries and bugs and were so starved they experienced regular black outs.
Mr Olifi’s fifth day diary reads: ‘We made it back to our second shelter but the walk depleted our calories.
‘We did more to the shelter to make it waterproof and warmer and I cleaned my wound again but it was still not healing.
The gorgeous scenery of the remote Malaysian jungle with a broad river running close to the area where Mr Moynihan and Mr Olifi were camped
Mr Olifi left his comfortable office in the financial tech world to journey to the harsh extremes of the Malaysian rainforest
Mr Olifi ripped a deep laceration into his own hand after falling into a ravine while holding the machete
Mr Olifi’s hand was stitched up at the hospital before he returned to the rainforest after inadvertently chopping it open with a machete
Mr Olifi shows off his shrivelled hand in the thick humidity of the rainforest after he had to receive stitches in hospital
‘We find wild berries to eat. Unsure if they are poisonous or not we do basic tests on them and we proceed to eat them.’
On day six, they finally found a river and added: ‘Our positivity increased as now we can find fish but there is still one problem. Where there are fish, there should be birds but we didn’t see or hear any birds.
‘My hand is still not healing and smells rotten. James and I question how long I can stay in the jungle before it gets severely infected.’
Mr Moynihan grew weaker from day eight.
Mr Olifi wrote: ‘He potentially has early on-set hypothermia and we question whether he should continue with the challenge or leave.
‘James saw a large lizard but it is too late for Danny to catch it. As I stand up I black out. The blackouts for me and James become more severe. Later that day I ate a cricket.’
By day 13 they were experiencing numbness in their arms and legs because they were so weak and their hearts weren’t pumping blood around their bodies properly.
Two days later all they could find to eat was worms and bugs.
Mr Olifi said: ‘Without clothes we became very vulnerable to mosquito bites. They forced us to itch until we bled.
‘The nightly thunderstorms soaked us, and we were shivering every night. I had to share body heat with James just to stay warm.’
They built simple shelters with broad leaves scavenged from their surroundings and wooden sticks torn from the trees
Mr Olifi combined his love of photography and film-making with the survival task, documenting their three weeks with his camera and a go-pro strapped to his head
Mr Olifi stands beside their makeshift shelter in the rainforest which they built to brace them against thunderstorms and hypothermia
Mr Olifi and Mr Moynihan took nothing but a flint rock, a machete, a mosquito net, metal water pot and first aid kit on their trip into the wilderness
On day 16 they abandoned their shelter and planned a two-day trek back to civilisation.
Mr Olifi’s final day entry said: ‘We make our trek out as we put on clothes and leave the rainforest through a stream. A further few miles on a dirt path both our legs give up.
‘Once we get to a road we hail down a lift to the nearest village.’
Mr Olifi said his sliced hand stank of rotting flesh and added: ‘It was a ticking time bomb that might have ended the entire trip if seriously infected.’
They flew home to England after several days spent recovering in Kuala Lumpur, where they gorged on crisps, cookies, pizzas, and burgers.
Mr Olifi and Mr Moynihan said their favourite moments were finding the river, making a fire, and getting one dry night in the shelter.
Though they said they kept themselves entertained with games of Six Degrees of Separation – where you link people in six steps.
Their lowest moments included the constant shivering at nighttime during the thunderstorms, Mr Olifi’s hand laceration, the long treks, and their blackouts.
One of their back’s is covered in mosquito bites after three weeks spent in the harsh Malaysian climate
Mr Olifi sits on the muddy deck surrounded by the thick woods of the Malaysian rainforest
Mr Moynihan surveys the horizon as he and Mr Olifi climbed above the canopy above their heads
Mr Moynihan said: ‘I’m a bit of a gambling man, whether it be on football or the horse. But how many people can say they have gambled with their life?
‘Everyone will face life-and-death situations, but it’s normally not planned. And most people wouldn’t choose to put themselves in that situation.
‘I have, and I can tell you that Malaysia was the most rewarding gamble I’ve ever taken because now I can say I’ve felt what it’s like to have lived.’