It is 5am when the alarm goes off. Helga and I almost bump into each other head first from the noise of the alarm which we are no longer used to. It at least makes sure that we are immediately wide awake. We slowly walk towards the kitchen, press the coffee machine to life and gather the last clothes and things that need to go into the car. An hour later we drive in a convoy from the courtyard towards the Tankwa Karoo desert.
We are being separated from James when we run into an old militairy truck with dead batteries who is also on its way to AfrikaBurn. Helga and I stop to help them. With a set of starter cables we try to boost the batteries, but when I see the wires giving off smoke I quickly pull everything loose and tell them that we cannot take any risks here. They will have to find another truck to help them out. They look disappointed, but they understand. The owner of the truck tries to convince me again that is a converted 12v system, but I won’t budge. We have too much to lose. We get into the car and start to chase James and his trailer. The road changes to sand, filled with corrugations and loose stones everywhere. The horizon is filled with dust clouds and other people on their way to Burn, one of the largest clouds in the distance will probably belong to James and Yolandi with their heavily loaded trailer.
The moment we get off the main road, I have to pull up on the side of the road to let another car pass. When we continue the car pulls me strongly to the left and when I lean out of the window I can see one of the tires getting flat rapidly….Sh*t. Puncture. We put the car on the side of the road and quickly change our tire. We have some experience by now and within no time we are back on the road again towards the entrance of the festival.
We are being welcomed by a merry group of people who are totally into the festival vibe. To our relief we quickly find James and Yolandi, we unload the stuff we brought for the organisation and start looking for a good spot to set up camp.
Around us the desert turns into a giant encampment while we are concentrating on setting up our tent. We work until the last light, start again in the morning and are not finished until late afternoon. For our standards we are glamping. In the past 12 hours we managed to build a kitchen, set up a large gas cooker, a braai and set up a large tent from scratch to protect us against the sun, wind and sand. Both our cars are parked next to the tent for extra stability and kind of gives the idea of two sundowner decks.
I ride around on a bicycle and plough through the desert sand. Most of the ground looks like a solid mass, but some places are rougher and the sand seems to come out from underneath. I’m amazed by all the bedouin style tents, the strange (mutant) vehicles and the artworks that were all transported over the same road we came from and are now built up to be looked at and burned at the end.