We learned so much from our first Afrikaburn! It’s incredible how capable we are as humans to come together and create something so beautiful and worth sharing. Here are some tips to keep in mind when attending a burn!
Respect all those around you
People of all ages come here for an experience and everyone participates on some kind of level. There are toddlers, families, as well as elderly citizens. You will see as many kids racing around on bikes as much as adults on a moving rainbow or couch on wheels. Be respectful of those around you.
TIP: Talk to everyone! There are people here from all walks of life. We are all just human beings who are here to share the same experience. You never know who you will meet or what you will learn from others!
Dress up, get involved, organize a theme camp, create a mutant vehicle, or do whatever you need to do to get involved. The essence of Afrikaburn is created by individuals who come together and participate. What fun would it be if we all just sat back and watched? The event wouldn’t even exist if it wasn’t for communal participation!
TIP: It is not as overwhelming for a first-timer is it may seem. Get a group together and have fun! This is your chance to be creative and expressive in whatever way you wish. There really are no limits here so go crazy!
Bring a lot of water
There are no stores or vendors. Other than the gifts that you receive, what you bring is what you have. Don’t expect anyone to be gifting water! The last thing you want is heat stroke from the dry desert heat. Stay hydrated and find shade when needed.
TIP: Recommended amount of water is 5L per person per day. Scarves and umbrellas help with staying cool.
Dress for the occasion
Yes, you will have more fun if you are in costume but not if you are dyeing of heat during the day or freezing cold at night. The days are dry and hot in the desert, where as the temperature drops and it gets extremely cold at night.
TIP: Plan your costumes and outfits accordingly! Wear light costumes during the day (or go nude as many do), and costumes that will keep you warm during the night. Crazy onesies seemed to work well in this environment!
Make your camp your home
This is your space for the entire duration of your stay so make it your home and make it comfy. You can actually drive your car all the way to your campsite so mobility isn’t an issue. You can also be creative with your campsite! The camp sites work on a first come first serve basis and range from loud zones to quiet zones. We ended up next to a disco party campsite and actually enjoyed having music while we were around camp.
TIP: Pack comfy seating for the times that you want to rest during the day. Bean bag chairs, inflatable chairs, camping chairs, a yoga mat, or anything that is relatively portable. Some people even brought couches! A canopy or some sort of shade will also help!
MOOP (matter out of place)
Not only should we always be respectful of the environment, but this isn’t an event where you pay to attend and someone is there to look after you. There are no garbage cans. Everything you bring with you, you must take back with you. If you see something that doesn’t belong, pick it up! Leave nothing behind.
TIP: If you smoke, bring a portable ashtray. Don’t bring costumers with feathers or any costume that will leave a trace.
Carry a reusable bag
You will want to carry around water, as well as anything you might receive or garbage that you have to carry back to camp.
TIP: Bring a mug or cup with you! Many camps turn into bars and there are many people giving out drinks or coffee.
Check your tires and bring a spare (or two)
Bring a spare tire or two! Seriously! The long stretch of gravel road to Tankwa Karoo is notoriously known for shredding tires!
TIP: Know how to change a tire before you hit the road. Every third person we spoke to had a flat tire at some point. People are nice enough to stop and help you on the side of the road, but it is also great if you can do it yourself or help others.
Respect the art
Artists go through sweat, blood and tears working on these art installations. Respect the art! One group we spoke to spent 3 months on the large wooden butterfly structure, Metamorphosis, and it took 36 people to build it in the desert over the span of a week. It only took about 20 minutes to burn, but it was a great tribute.
TIP: Talk to the artists if you can find them! It really brings a whole new meaning and perspective to the experience.
Bring a bicycle (or mutant vehicle)
Everything is quite spread out and there is a lot to do and see! Some sort of moving device will not only help you get around quicker, but will save your feet from getting too tired to enjoy the night as well.
TIP: Decorate your bike! Also, keep in mind it is hard to see cyclists in the dark so make sure you and your bike are well lit at night. This will also help with distinguishing which bike is yours.
Be creative with your gift
This is a decommodified environment where you give without expecting anything in return. Selfless giving is something we should encourage more in our society. We gifted coconut bliss balls for a nice energetic snack during the day. We were gifted everything from food to drinks to perfectly roasted Italian coffee. The most practical gift was definitely the tire fixing tool kit. The scarf came in handy as I used it as a head wrap to hide from the sun. I couldn’t believe it when I received a handcrafted ceramic mug. This guy made 109 of them and each one was one of a kind! There were also some Afrikaburn themed gifts like keychains, a leather necklace shaped like Africa, and a flash tattoo.
TIP: This gifting economy only works if we all participate! Be creative! I appreciated food and drinks as much as the souvenirs that I got to take home.
Expect the unexpected
This refers to the good and the bad! You never know what you are going to experience or who you will meet! You also can’t predict the weather or mishaps that may occur. Try to be prepared for anything that might come your way.
TIP: Go with an open mind and open heart! Accept all that it is and be open to new experiences. Take time to reflect and absorb all that is going on around you. Also, you never know what can happen at Afrikaburn. Read the survival guide that you are given! It is full of important information that will only enhance your experience!
Last but not least, just do it! Go and experience it for yourself! It is definitely an opportunity not to be missed!
“The happiest people don’t have the best of everything. They make the best of everything.”