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All you need to know about AfrikaBurn

Published April 29th, 2015

Take the all-out crazy of Burning Man, plonk it in the African desert and what do you get? AfrikaBurn, an annual art festival based on the infamous Burning Man event in the US that’s held in the Tankwa Karoo National Park in the Northern Cape Province of South Africa. Think raving in the desert, mutant vehicles, creative sculptures, curious artworks and unique creations, plus a little nudity, in a far-flung area. It’s an experience.

 

AfrikaBurn 2014
Photo: Jonx Pillemer

 

What’s the deal?

AfrikaBurn is a community event that welcomes around 10,000 kids, families, hippies and ravers to the desert since its inception in 2007. There’s a huge sense of community and it’s a pedestrian and cycle zone only – only mutant vehicles, bikes and emergency vehicles are allowed. Like Burning Man, everything you bring to AfrikaBurn has to go. The ‘leave no trace’ event springs from nowhere and the area is left as found.

 

When is it on?

In 2015, AfrikaBurn is on from April 27 to May 3.

 

AfrikaBurn 2014
Photo: Jonx Pillemer

 

Where is AfrikaBurn held?

Tankwa Town is a temporary site created by creatives on Stonehenge Farm, a private property within the Tankwa Karoo and around 300 kilometres from Cape Town on the R355. The camping areas are situated around a horseshoe-shaped  area called The Binnekring, and the Loud Zones in two ‘horns’ spearing away from the camp. The ‘streets’ off The Binnekring are numbered like a clock i.e. 2-ish through to 10-ish. The actual road names change according to each year’s theme – in 2015 it’s ‘The Gift’.

 

AfrikaBurn 2014
Photo: Jonx Pillemer

 

How do I get there?

First, fly to South Africa. Then, you can drive the notorious R355 in convoy (tyre blowouts happen on the reg, btw) from any of the major South African cities, or get a lift on a plane to the AfrikaBurn airstrip.

 

AfrikaBurn 2014
Photo: Jonx Pillemer

 

What does it cost?

The only thing you can buy at AfrikaBurn is your ticket (and ice – the cold kind - to keep your drinks and food chilled). General sales tickets are R1059 (approximately $AU115), and you’ll need to create a Burner Bio to buy a ticket. Everything else you’ll need (food, water, shelter, fuel and first aid) you’ll have to bring with you.

 

AfrikaBurn 2014
Photo: Jonx Pillemer

 

Say what?

Yep, you’ll have to bring all you need with you, and take it all with you when you leave too. The AfrikaBurn Survival Guide recommends happy campers bring your ticket and ID, a minimum of five litres of water per person per day, enough food and drink for your stay, shelter and bedding, clothing for layering (it can reach the high 40s during the day and down to freezing at night, so be prepared), rubbish bags (there’s no rubbish collection at AfrikaBurn), a fire extinguisher, your meds plus a first-aid kit and sunscreen, and some illumination in the form of a torch or headlamp (plus extra batteries). If you’re driving, make sure you’ve got enough gas as the R355 is the longest stretch of road in South Africa without a petrol station.

 

AfrikaBurn 2014
Photo: Jonx Pillemer

 

Sounds full-on...

Well, you will be camping with 9,999 others in a semi-arid environment with a huge temperature range from boiling hot to freezing (it is the desert).  If you can deal with this, at the event you can also expect nudity and artistic expression. You have been warned. Have a lekker time, bru.

 

Cassandra Laffey

Consumed with unrequited wanderlust, I get my fix in 24/7 cities and hippie retreats. I'm still looking for the ultimate combo of secluded beach and major metropolis, and my happy place is a 5-star hotel room all to myself - sigh.