High Points –
- 2 blowouts in the desert
- Carrying a tyre for 3km
- Amazing landscapes
- Amazing people
- New Friends
- Out of this world outfits
- Incredible structures in the middle of nowhere
- Stars that you could almost grab out of the sky
- Disco bus
- Whirlwinds made of fire,smoke and dust
- Trippy light tunnel
- Human sundials
- Mobile bar
- Wet-wipe showers
- That naked guys poem
- That naked guy leaving after the poem
- Aching dancing feet
- A nose/body/car/mouth/ear/food full of dust
Low Points –
Afrika Burn 2013,
Having only learned about the event late last year I felt like it was something I had to get involved in but as usual with anything that way in advance I never seem to get sorted with tickets as they drop, I think a lot of people suffered from this….
Fast forward to two weeks before the event kicks off, I am still ticket less and scratching about to try to sort out my entry, LUCKILY enough I had a few friends keeping a lookout amongst their extended friends and I got lucky…The beauty of this event is that the organisers shun the concept of selling this ticket for any more than you paid for it, literally naming and shaming those people. (Unlike for the Holi fest some dooshbags were trying to sell tickets for over a grand the day before the event.) 700 bucks later I was finally on track, thanks Bex 😉
LESSON 1 – GET YOUR TICKET AS THEY BECOME AVAILABLE !
Checking out the website, all the do’s and dont’s seemed a bit daunting for a first timer, having latched onto a bunch of ten crazy friends I eased up a bit and got some great first hand advice from them as well the afrikaburn website
Ramming my VW Caddy with everything from bikes, bags of outfits, firewood and an excess of warm clothing we headed out early Friday morning.
A note I picked up on the website was to take 2 spare tyres, the road is treacherous they said, you will shred tyres they said, being a first timer I though how can it be that bad and having one spare I was confident that we wouldn’t even need that one.
About 60km on the 113km long dirt road one of our convoy cars had a flat, literally shredded, I thought this to be an opportune moment to whip out my camera and snap a few panos of the open landscape around us, only to find that on the way to the back of my van my back right tyre was whistling at me, begin the nightmare, it took about an hour to get my spare out as one of the bolts had fused to the nut holding it up, anyways with the spare on, a fresh blood knuckles and a now dirt coloured white vest, we were off again. All was good until about 15km to Tankwa where I went flat again, only this time the rest of the convoy had gone ahead and we were alone on this one, two flat tyres, 15km to the event next to a grave yard, how cliché we thought…. Deciding the best option would be to get the first flat out the back of the van, hitch a ride a tyre repair place that we had learned was just before the event, fix the tyre and hitch a ride back to the car and take it from there, easily said.
The ride in was easy, a friendly trio of ladies who had all been before were more than happy to help out. The fix was easy (the tyre guys were great and literally life savers for many of the folk who had issues) the mission back to the car, well, carrying a tyre on your shoulders for 3km in the desert isn’t fun, I’ll leave it at that, luckily enough one of the gate staff grew some heart and caught up with me and took me the rest of the way.
Tire on, Tankwa Town here we come, finally.
LESSON 2 – TAKE 2 SPARE TYRES, TIRE WEILD and CHECK YOUR SPARE !
We caught up with the rest of the crew at the main entrance, leaving notes with the marshalls at the entrance telling us where to go, they had even started cycling out to us realising we were taking far too long, this is what the Burn is about.
Banging the bells on the way in as a first timer, instructed “Leave all your shit behind you” my legs actually went numb while ramming those massive bells together, I knew from then this was going to be absolutely magical.
LESSON 3 – BE PREPARED TO LOVE AND BE LOVED BY EVERYONE
Camp took a while to get set up, that ground is solid, I was thankful to be sleeping in the back of my van, no hammering pegs into what seemed like a layer of solid rock where we had chosen to set up camp. We got everything up, eventually, ground sheets, shade nets, the works (the fact that we had a drill to get pegs in amused me) and set out into the BInnekring to check out what we were up against.
LESSON 4 – TAKE STRONG PEGS, CORDLESS DRILL, SHADE, GROUND COVER
Mulling through the masses of camper vans, tents and strange contraptions that people obviously had spent ages putting together put a smile on everyone’s face even before entering the vastness of the Binnekring. Street lamp posts, giant flags, black rock desert and then massive elaborate structures, you keep asking yourself, how and why but eventually just accept that his is it, this IS Afrika Burn !
LESSON 5 – ACCEPTANCE, OF EVERYTHING
Bouncing from one structure to the next, meeting interestingly dressed people along the way the evening was dropping in quickly so we set off back to camp to get warm, replenish fluids and then get back into the desert for the sunset, this is where no expression of colour or changing forms can describe the feeling or sight of seeing the sun tone away over the desert horizon. Simply amazing, silhouetting the giant structures may have been the best part about it for me, until the stars filled the sky.
The night bounced on to us dancing in front of/on top of a massive bus that had been converted into a mobile club, outstanding effort to the guys who missioned that into the middle of nowhere, they felt the love, i know i, amongst every other soul there gave it.
Finding your way back to your camp, well….. I lost my crew on the bus somehow and eventually decided it time to get some sleep, without plotting out “landmarks” beforehand I lost track of how far or where I walked, almost settling to sleep under something/anything till the sun peeked out over the horizon so I could find my way home. Clicking the remote of my car every 20 paces hoping to see a yellow flicker of lights of my car either locking or unlocking, eventually tho very gratefully finding base camp and crashing till late Saturday morning.
LESSON 6 – KNOW YOUR SURROUNDINGS, KNOW YOUR WAY BACK HOME
Saturday delivered another awesome day, everyone seemed to go all out on dress up and gifting. (an act of selflessness, cookies, sweets, little poems in little jars, anything really that showed love to a stranger) Deryn, from our crew created a massive rainbow and carted out double shopping basket trays with ingredients to make your own cookies, this went down pretty well as we all danced in front of what I think was a top hat DJ booth.
The day ticked on and eventually time came for the main burn at 9PM, again, the amount of time and effort that went into the shows before hand was just incredible, i lost count of how many fire dancers there were or how many times the rig that had guys on it grinding away firing sparks and pyrotechnics blew massive balls of fire into the desert night sky, we all watched in awe !
The main burn started, the giant Afrika Burn symbol being swallowed in flame and tornado’s of smoke and dust bellowing from the structure as it fell apart, feeling the warmth of that fire and watching everyone’s faces as the structure finally fell to the ground is something I wont easily forget !
Back to the Bus, party till your toenails feel like they want to peel off your feet and head back to camp to sleep off yet another epic day at the Burn.
LESSON 7 – TAKE YOUR CAMERA TO THE MAIN BURN (as we can see, by the lack of burn pics, by this time I had packed my trusty Canon away safely)
Sunday was a slow day, feeling the aftermath of the night before, most of us readying to head off back home slowly mulling about getting things together, cleaning up the little mess we had made.
Having one last cycle through the Binnekring then setting off back home, slowly on the dust road, leaving behind something that we all already wanted again.
LESSON 8 – ARRIVE EARLIER AND STAY LONGER THAN YOU INTEND TO
check out the FB album HERE, tag away.