Our trip was supposed to start in the early hours of the day. By 8 am we were ready to drive to Langebaan, the Kitesurfing paradise of the east coast Southafrika’s. I had been in this country for almost a week and now the adventure was about to begin.
It was the first day on this trip that the sun didn’t shine. Langebaan did not look at all like a paradise, more the complete opposite. The sky was the color of a threatening gray. It was raining and freezing cold. The whole thing reminded me of Mad Max with shit weather – they at least had sunshine!
The OGC (Opium Gentleman Club) pack already had arrived at our camp lead Jojo. Consisting of South African friends, Lord Stitch from LA, his Lady JrueStitch from Austin Texas, Jack from New York and our friend Christine for the Netherlands. A total of ten people in the team. A pretty international bunch. Excitement spread while meeting all this new and lovely people.
At the same time we loaded the Jeeps with all our stuff. As usual it went longer than expected, for most of us the lights turned off by 2 am.
Barely 4 hours later the lights were back on again. We packed our last stuff and off we went. Sadly the day started were it left off the night before – endless rain. And it was getting worse.
We stopped in Ceres (the Rino of AfrikaBurn) what would be the last stop in civilisation for the next 10 days. The rain got really heavy. You could barely walk on the sidewalk since these cities lack a sewerage like in good old Germany. Literally, you were flushed away.
But the hardest step was still to come. What stand between us and the playa of Tankwa Town was the infamous R355. A dusty desert road cobbled with ‘Crocodile Teeth’, which would bring down even the most experienced Burner. ‘Crocodile Teeth’ is an African expression for those spiky and ultra tough little rocks, that heated up in the hot desert sun will fuck up even 4×4 tires.
The simple trick is to drive constantly about 60mph, so you will ‘float’ on top. Hell yes, we floated like a charm. Directly it an oasis called Tankwa Padstal.
It feels like a desert gas station for hippies without gas, but all the other fancy gear you need soonish … so we did some shopping and fueled ourselves with moonshine. A little pretaste of the playa and a final motivational boost.
And then we reached it, the holy ground of AfrikaBurn. Have a look at the photos.
First day at the Playa and the sun was shining. At least for the beginning … in the afternoon heavy sandstorms came up which turned into a monsoon by the evening. The whole scenario reminded me of my first Burn in Nevada (2004). We luckily made it in before the ‘doors’ were closed for entrance. People had to wait up to 20 hours in their cars in front of the gate. And like here now it was raining like hell on day one. Although the rain here is a whole new level. The tarp of our ‘Shade Structure’ had soaked up so much water at some point that it was not able to absorb anymore and water started dropping on the tents below.
The heavy rainwater formed a streamed and nearly took our tents with them. We had to act fast and and dig a drainage. Everybody was curious about what would happen next. In the meantime it started raining into the Opium tent. Luckily the piano has not been take to the playa yet it would have been ruined.
The rain became less at some point and finally was totally over near 3 am in the morning. A huge lake had formed at the back of our camp – the sparkling night sky with its moon and stars was eerily reflected upon its surface.
The complete equipment and decorations of the OGC camp was still in a ship container in a near by barn. Driving distance: one hour. We had to hurry up. More sandstorms were predicted for the afternoon. We drove in convoy, this time 3 jeeps and one trailer.
We had to stop unloading early due to the sandstorm but we couldn’t have taken it all with us in one go anyway.
It took us full three days to unload the container. But the Opium tent showed itself in its full glory. With so much detail that you would have thought you were in a movie set for “The Great Gatsby”. The hard work was well worth it. Unfortunately the glory did not last long … but we’ll get to that later on.
Today: Photoshooting. Thanks a lot JrueStitch!
This gallery is for you, mail me which you want in HiRes.
Africaburn T minus one. Okay, we had to start early, could not wait. As people were going to the gate opening we had our own premature party in the Opium.
Everybody came to us as no other camp played music on the Playa that night. They came like a pack of hungry wolves to pounce upon our freshly decorated Opium tent. WHAT a night. Straightaway we were asked to play for a couple of other camps. Thank you universe. Our tent was ragged on that first party unfortunately. Oh-oh, the boss will not be pleased by tomorrow …
Read in the last part and finale of this series how the story continues, the consequences of this evening and how I did not meet but meet AfrikaBurns founder Lil Black (one of the five founders).
Missed the other parts? Have a look at part one here, part two here, part three here. To get the next update on this series, like us on Facebook, use our RSS or subscribe to our newsletter. And in the meantime see how we roll in Berlin …