I bet you have heard about such a trendy festival as Burning Man.
But not many of you know that there are many regional events held by Burning Man organisers and some of them are quite good or even better than the original one.
One of the most authentic and similar is AfrikaBurn which is carried in South Africa. Here I will tell you more details about this festival and why I have chosen to go to AfrikaBurn instead of Burning Man.
South Africa has its own unique version of Burning Man called AfrikaBurn
Burning Man is a week-long party held annually in Nevada. It attracts thousands of people from around the world who travel to the desert to experience art, music, food, and fun.
There’s another Burning Man happening in South Africa every year. It’s called AfrikaBurn and it takes place in Cape Town. This event is smaller than Burning Man, but definitely as awesome as the original one, or maybe even better?
I’ve never been to either Burning Man or AfrikaBurn, but I’m planning to go next year. And I will give you some reasons why.
The concept of Afrikaburn
AfrikaBurn is similar to Burning Man but has fewer participants and is a bit culturally different.
However, it’s built on the same principles that involve communal effort, participation, decommodification, immediacy, civic responsibility and leaving no traces.
It is centered on a temporary creative community in a semi-desert environment, involving various artworks, some of which are burned at the end of the event. Many members wear sophisticated outfits and some even create elaborate decorated vehicles.
Some people describe AfrikanBurn as the same as Burning Man was many years ago, before it became world-famous.
This festival is a non-profitable annual event, dedicated to anti-consumerism and self-expression.
Afrikaburn is a temporary world
The place where this festival is located is about 300 kilometers north of Cape Town so, of course, I’d highly recommend visiting Cape Town. The place is called Quaggafontein in the Tankwa Karoo.
The road to Tankwa Town is quite rough, so you should take a 4×4 car and don’t forget about the travel insurance.
This small festival is a temporary town of art, theme camps, costume, music and performance and exists only one month per year. After the end of the festival everything is being taken out of the place and some installations are being burnt. It usually takes a month to fully clean the territory after the event.
Modified vehicles are a vital part of Burning Man as well as AfrikaBurn. Burners, as they are called, create actual artworks on the top of their own cars, so their actual cars underneath are not visible at all.
Anyone is welcomed to hop aboard and experience this completely unusual type of transportation.
Here are some photos of the best masterpieces of the history of Burning Man and AfrikaBurn.
The central concept of this festival is “‘gifting'” art. There are always many impressive masterpieces around made by the participants, burners.
The creativity and effort put into the artwork is just astonishing. Some of the installations can reach up to 30 metres high.
While biking or walking around you will see numerous art and light installations everywhere.
Each year the organisers give a theme for the festival and the participants try to follow it.
You don’t have to be an artist or a pro, it’s mostly about self-expression. There are no limits for your imagination.
AfrikaBurn’s theme in 2023
AfrikaBurn recently announced its theme of “space” for April 2023. This is after ending a two-year break of lockdown restrictions and only a small festival held earlier this year.
During one week in April, it will be the biggest outdoor art gallery in Africa.
General Sales tickets for AfrikaBurn 2023 are now officially all sold out.
The managers of the festival ask people not to buy tickets on any platform other than Quicket. They say if you missed out, please be patient as ticket resales open up, or grab one of the few remaining Mayday tickets.
Various musical genres
During the night AfrikaBurn turns into one big party. And of course there is no party without music.
Expect to hear different music genres from hip hop, blues to trance and deep house. You will certainly find something to enjoy with friends or even with family and kids.
Most of the time music is made by volunteers or burners themselves. Musicians must register themself before and then they will be able to bring all the equipment and be allowed to play.
What to take with you to AfrikaBurn
This is not a typical music festival, therefore there is nothing for sale. Literally nothing. Everything you might need during these days you MUST bring with you.
You must be prepared to survive in the desert. Take food that is easy to cook and non-perishable. Like protein bars, food in cans, tuna pouches, fruits and vegetables that don’t require refrigerators.
Remember, all the trash you bring in must come out.
Water is essential. Water isn’t just for cooking or drinking but also for bathing and washing, so better take 5-10 liters per person per day. Don’t forget!
Rather than trading, here people just give each other everything for free and never expect anything in return.
Bring whatever. You can bring some homemade food, snacks or drinks to gift burners for free.
Or maybe some handmade accessories you like to make, some entertainment people would enjoy, manage a bar or dance floor.
By participating in AfrikaBurn, you are becoming part of the event, and it’s a lot more fun than just being an observer.
This is a place and time you can finally express yourself. You can choose leather suits or outfits of the most poisonous colours, you can wear minimalistic clothes or whatever is in your mind.
Your clothes must be comfortable to allow you to ride a bike because that how most of the burners get around.
Remember that you are going to be in the desert and most likely it will be very hot. But sometimes it might be a bit fresh at night so don’t forget the coat, just to be ready for everything.
Bring at least one pair of good walking shoes. You will be on your feet a lot so comfort is vital.
Here are some other crucial tips from me you might not know:
- Join a camp. It will make your experience in terms of accommodations and food.
- Bring your bike. That’s how most of the burners move around.
- Don’t forget the sunscreen. The sun is strong.
- Take your hygiene items including toilet paper and wet wipes.
- Take a medical kit.
- Garbage bags. You can’t leave the trash.
I personally prefer AfrikaBurn over Burning Man, even though it is smaller. AfrikaBurn is the same as Burning Man was many years ago and here you can really feel the core concept and principles of this unique event.
Burning Man got so trendy that nowadays it is mostly an event for Instagram influencers. So if you want to go back to your origins undoubtedly go to an African version.
And where would you go?