I realised I used the term ‘experience’ a lot in this post, but that is exactly what Afrika Burn is – a bombardment on your senses. Everything about it is an (unique) experience, including getting there. Settled in the middle of the Tankwa Karoo National Park, it’s about 4.5 hours drive from Cape Town, out of which 120 on a dirt road. For over 10 years both locals and foreigners have been gathering in the desert to partake in this eclectic arts festival. Born from its Bigger Brother in the States, Burning Man, Afrika Burn has always been announced as one of those must-experience events. So with our flight to Europe drawing closer we thought that we would do just that.
The week leading up to ‘The Burn’ Marija was off for a job in the Maldives. Yes, the M A L D I V E S! Now if you don’t know anything about attending a Burn, an important thing to know is that you have to be completely self sufficient. That includes everything from getting there, sleeping there, and everything you eat, drink and party in. There is no exchange of money ( except for ice which is a mission to get – expect to queue for hours ) and therefore a big emphasis is placed on ‘gifting’ and contributing to everyone’s experience.
For a good few days we scoured second hand shops, buying up weird and whacky paraphernalia. Getting that mix between Mad Max and party isn’t easy. To be completely honest, I didn’t understand why such an emphasis was placed on the clothing and accessories until I got there. Dressing up is not obligatory but makes it all more fun.
Marija being away for work meant that we joined the party half way through the week. She landed in Cape Town, showered and that same afternoon we drove out towards the unknown. The drive itself is stunning. The final stretch of 120km on dirt road is long and slow going. Don’t be in a rush because accidents do happen. The road also slows down your mood because the place you are heading to, there is no concept of time or pace.
Now I could tell you all about The Burn but I feel that it would be unfair. Unfair meaning it is impossible to translate exactly what the experience is like, and unfair that it would ruin any surprises for when you go. Apart from the dressing up or dressing down if you would like (being naked is totally fine), there is plenty to enjoy. Lights, sounds, sunrises, sunsets and fire. Very old and very young all having there fun. For us personally, we felt there should be more people to make this event reach its full potential. That’s why I named it ‘a diamond in the rough’. But then again, it started with only 800 people and this year saw 13 000 people so there is hope.
The only piece of advice that I will give to a first time Burner is to try to contribute. As fun as it is to experience this crazy show it only works because people, ordinary ticket holders like yourselves, add to the event. By doing so you will immediately feel more involved and good about yourself that you thought up something creative to make your fellow humans smile. And that is ultimately what it’s all about.
For a glimpse of our experience check:
our video on You Tube and feel free to comment!