So generally, Africa burn has not always been on my life bucket list. It somehow managed to sneak its way on it after i heard more and more people RAVING about this festival. It is life changing. It is a must-do. It is a once-in-a-lifetime-experience. YOU HAVE TO GO.
People apparently fly from all over the world to experience this festival which isnt really a normal music festival but more a festival of art and… life, you know? Apparently. If you wanna know more details and facts and figures about this festival, click here.
So here i am now, with a 3 pages list of things to buy, organise or remember and we are one week away from „The Burn“. I did read my way through about 30 pages of preparation information but in summary, I still dont have a clue what to expect.
It all started off like any good tale starts – with the words: Let’s do it! Sure. We were all into being part of the burn and since tickets are not cheap at all, we even decided to go all the way and took a whole week of holiday for this weekend.
What we kind of didnt know and not know until today is, how we will survive this week at all. Water is the main issue. The festival provides nothing but what you contribute to it. Except for ice, you can not buy anything there. We will take 5l per day and person, but if we stay there for 5 days thats an excessive amount of water already. Then we still need to load food, all the drinks, which are not water, our clothes (hot during the day, winter during the night) and all the equipment. So basically, we would need a whole truck if we wanted to take all of our supplies. Instead, we now organised a Toyota Avanza and just hope for the best. My chico would have died a heartattack before we even could have started, so I thought, the car rental option would be the best – but unfortunately not the cheapest which brought us immediatly to the next problem: the road. We will drive about 110km through a very stony desert and according to the Burn organisers, not a lot of cars actually make it to or from „The Burn“ back home. As our Toyota Avanza only has a certain amount of space, we can’t take about 3 extra spare tyres as we should, also our car hire company probably does not really want to know, that their precious vehicle will be driven through the middle of the stony desert of South Africa. Oh well. The decision now has been made – we are going, we not backing out of this and problems will just be solved on the way. So in summary this is what we have so far: a car with just one spare tyre and water. Well we dont have it yet, we still looking for ways of transporting it. And we also know we will not have enough space but a horrendous amount of costs. Sounds like a sound preparation stage right? hahaha
Next issue on my 5 pages long organisational list is: food. Actually it is not really an intense problem. We will have a tiny cooler box (if it fits into the car) and thats it. so i guess i will live of musli bars and apples for a week and just hope for the best. Its my kind of diet – the „Burn diet“. Don’t judge.
Next – more important topic: The Outfit. So „Afrika burn“ is a festival, where people want to express themselves, where they can just be themselves without society judging them. As a result, the outfits can get quite quirky. However, I am just a normal person and if i could run around like i wanted to, i would just wear my jogging pants and no bra until the end of time. Not accepted at the Burn though. Well probably accepted, but it’s super boring, so i again need to go out of my way and find something quirky. To be as cool as the others and to fit into the anti-hispert-but-still-hipsterness of this festival. I did quite a bit of research on this topic now and I am now a proud owner of tasteless leggins, TWO tutu’s (one is just not good enough) and some very funky very hispert sunglasses. OH, and suspenders. In pink. I just made one mistake: the tutu’s are full of glitter. Glitter and Feathers are a no-no at this festival as you have to leave the space as untouched as it was when you arrived. Feathers can blow away and Glitter will just fall to the ground and is still trash, although its small. I actually really enjoy this fact. Every year, when I leave one of the music festivals i am shocked how damn dirty people leave behind spaces. I mean, everyne is talking about saving the world and being ecofriendly – everytime i leave a festival i know that 90% of them are just talking though and actually don’t stand behind what they say. Anyway – as I do not want to be one of them, i am currently trying to wash out the glitter of the tutu’s… which ended not so well as now my whole room and the outside area are quite sparkly… guess i need to find a different tactic here in order to fit in to the eco-friendly theme of the festival.
There is still a lot to organise and its only 9 days, until we make our way up to the Tankwa. I will let you guys follow me on my way from a „burn-virgin“ to an actual arty hipster, who found herself in the desert. I am quite relaxed about the whole project actually as I am sure we will survive somehow. Even if we do not bring enough water, or two tyres burst instead of just one. I think I am most looking forward to absolutely no phone reception for 5 days. In times like these, this will be my biggest detox (tohether with my apple and musli bar diet). I really can not wait to leave society for a bit again and escape to a sacred, unique space of selfreflection and beauty.
Stay tuned. More survival details to follow.
I literally had no expectations when I left two days ago for a game reserve somewhere out there – North of Pretoria. I would stay in an ordinary upmarket game reserve and do my normal morning and evening game drives – that was, what I actually thought. Well. It turned out to be not quite like that after all. In fact – these past 48 hours were by far the most eventful and completly NOT ordinary hours I ever experienced.
The 48 hours started with an hour of helicopter flight. While i felt like it was christmas and my birthday at the same time when i saw the two helicopters waiting for us – the rest of the group was by far not as excited as i was. They all flew helicopters before and it wasnt essentially something, they always dreamed off.
As a result, they let me sit in front. I behaved like a stereotypical American Tourist. Phone on selfie mode in my right hand, camera in my left hand – and as excited as one can be. This excitement did vanish after like twenty minutes into the flight though, when i felt my motion sickness coming up. As a result, to focus on not puking into the helicopter for the following 40min was my main concern and i did not even see the giraffes at our lodge, when we flew over the lodge. What luxury problem, i discovered! Getting sick during a helicopter flight is certainly a problem, i never thought i had to deal with.
We arrived in time for sundowners and because the staff wanted to show us, how unusual this place was we did not DRIVE to our sunset spot…. Nope. We flew there. While now everyone was excited to explore the reserve from the air and chopper along the curvy river in the reserve, i got super pale and actually thought to myself that i rather would hike up to that sunset spot than flying. LUXURY PROBLEMS. I survived though. Barely, but i did. I was rewarded with the most breathtaking view from a cliff over the super green and vast reserve. What a sundowner spot!! I mean. I FLEW in a CHOPPER up a mountain in order to drink G&T and watch the sun goes down. How surreal is this?!
What we also did after arrival was, to check out the area with quadbikes. I understood the following day, why they let us roam around on quad bikes that evening… We saw loads of giraffes, in fact we saw so many that I, at one point, stopped taking pictures of them. Simply because i saw so many.
I fell asleep that night to the sound of the wild. No better way to fall asleep.
The next morning, we started with the best views and a head full of emotions, into our day. We finished off breakfast and were told to grab our not so clean stuff and closed shoes – as our next activity for the daywas paintball. Not the normal paintball though. Paintball on quadbikes and with a helicopter!! Let me repeat what i just said: paintball with gunning people from a chopper and targets driving around on a reserve on quad bikes! What the hell??
I felt i wasn’t ready to be a target so i decided to overcome my motion sickness and fly in that chopper and hunt down quadbike drivers. Dont misunderstand me: i do still think there is something wrong with gunning down people from choppers with paintballs. However, you guys dont understand how much fun it is and how much adrenaline goes through your veins in a split second. The chopper driver was quite talented and we flew super low and chased the quadbikes out of the bushes. I was so full of adrenaline and motionsick that i decided in my not so right mind, to be the target too. That was even more fun. Picture me driving along a straight super dusty path in second gear like a grandma but waaay too fast, screaming my heart out and laughing like a manic while the chopper was right next to me and shot me down. Maaaaan. It did hurt a little but it was so. Much. Fun. Until i hid under a tree so well that i couldnt go forward or backwards anymore because i drove that quad against a tree and didnt know how to enable the gear to go back.
So. Much. Fun.
While the ladies of the group then moved on to the pool area, I decided to stay with the boys do some target shooting. We shot our way through the extensive gun selection of the owner and I missed all the targets and still managed to be better than the boys when I accidentally shot with a sniper the target i wasn’t supposed to shoot at but hit it right in the bulls eye.
The cherry on top of my crazy adult fun day was a professor, who came by before dinner that evening and explained the stars to us, while a massive shooting star made its way through the sky.
What a day! I needed the complete way back from my little excursion to Cape Town to process these past 48hours of fun.
If you EVER have too much money and want to waste it on something else than drugs and alcohol – do yourself a favour and visit this remote reserve somewhere north of Pretoria. You will not regret your expenses, trust me on this.