Only 300 kilometers (185 miles) north of Cape Town, AfrikaBurn, a Burning Man regional event, is held in Tankwa Karoo National Park. An event like no other, AfrikaBurn transforms the national park in South Africa into a community of art, music and fanciful fun.
If you’ve never been to AfrikaBurn, it’s time to start packing! Get inspired with what to pack for AfrikaBurn!
Your Ticket to Afrikaburn
Of course, it seems obvious, but I recommend that you start every packing list with the must-have items. You probably think that you’d never forget your passport, tickets, phone, etc., but don’t rule it out as a possibility. Give yourself a visual reminder.
Set-Up Camp for Afrikaburn
The first thing that you’ll do when you arrive is set up camp, so start by planning for that well in advance. The most basic essential here is a stretch tent for shade. A lot of local companies rent them with AfrikaBurn goers in mind, so you’ll have no trouble getting what you need. Then, depending on if you’re camping solo or with a group, you need to set up a floorplan for the sleeping tents that go under the stretch tent.
To turn your camp into a comfortable home base, you need at least 2 folding tables (one for “stuff,” and one for food), chairs (1 per person), a dishwashing station, a gravity shower, a grill or gas stovetop for cooking, and a generator. It’ll make your space much more comfortable and it’ll give you an area to eat, drink, get ready and just chill.
Of course, at night, you’ll want a comfy sleeping bag and lights. I’d recommend bringing both a flashlight and a headlamp so you can navigate your camp at night and find your tent.
HELPFUL TIP: Good etiquette is to turn generators OFF at a reasonable hour in the evening. Sleeping through electronic music is one thing, but sleeping next to a loud motor is unbearable.
Be sure you have plenty of batteries for both because there are no stores or vendors in the park. I repeat: nobody is selling anything! (Actually, the only thing for sale is bags of ice, but I’l explain that later.) It’s a gifting economy based on the foundation of self-sufficiency.
For keeping clean and staying organized, it’s good to have duct tape, resealable bags and garbage bags.
Toiletries to Pack for Afrikaburn
There are no showers at AfrikaBurn. In fact, there are no permanent structures. There are port-a-potties and drop toilets. But it’s BYOTP. When it comes to showering and washing up, you’re on your own for water.
I recommend bringing a big 5-liter jug of water per person per day. You need potable water that you can drink and use for washing.
To stretch your water supply, also pack baby wipes and hand sanitizer so that you can clean up without depleting your precious H2O. And, again, don’t forget the toilet paper!
Sunscreen is another must-have. AfrikaBurn can be incredibly hot and there’s no shade outside of camps and some art structures to hide from the sun. Having a good lip balm and moisturizer will also help keep your skin hydrated.
When it’s bed time, ear plugs are invaluable! This is a 24/7 party, so plan on noisy neighbors.
Food to Pack for Afrikaburn
In the grocery department, keep it simple. I’m talking protein bars, fruits that don’t need any peeling or cutting, peanut butter and trail mix. For dishes, stick with giant reusable water bottles, basic utensils and coffee mugs.
If you’re inventive, you can definitely bring everything to make you comfortable! Last year, our camp brought the resources to run a microwave, bullet blender and even an ice maker. If it’s your first burn, I’d suggest making “comfort” food a least priority. Get out there and LIVE the experience. However, after a few Burns, you’ll learn what you miss when you’re stripped of everything. For example, I crave dill pickles, peanut butter and crunchy stuff, but I don’t care about anything cold. Some people really cold food and drinks.
When you’re shopping, keep in mind that you’ll want to reduce your waste as much as possible. You’ll be in the middle of a pristine park and the goal is to leave it just as beautiful as you found it.
I mentioned previously that there is ice for sale. I would definitely not plan on needing ice. It’s obviously nice to have ice in your cocktails, but find a way to make your own ice. I say “nice” because it is just that– not a necessity. You need to wake up EARLY to wait in line and it’s just zero % fun– especially if you had a big night the night before. The line can get over 2 hours long (not joking)!
And, again, don’t skimp on the water!
Bike for Afrikaburn
Having a bike will allow you to cover a lot more terrain than you would be able to on foot. There are countless art and light installations that you won’t want to miss.
Since you’ll be relying on your bike, bring the essentials to keep you rolling. Plan on having a tire pump, a spare tube, and bike lock, as well as lights and zip ties to attach them onto your bike. You need to be lit up BRIGHT at night so you don’t get run into!
Clothes to Pack for Afrikaburn
Anything goes at AfrikaBurn. You’ll see people running around in everything for crazy outfits, to birthday suits, to a classic shorts-and-tee combo. So, do YOU!
For me, it’s the perfect place to rock fun, wild outfits. Pack light scarves, fishnets, tutus, crop tops, body paint, crazy hats/masks, sparkles and whatever other one-of-a-kind eclectic pieces you can track down. Please NO feather boas or anything that sheds and creates waste!
The one area of your body to dress very practically is your feet. You’ll be walking and biking a ton, so bring sturdy boots and socks. It’s a rocky, dusty environment, so rugged footwear is ideal. Though, it’s handy to have flip flops for showers and quick walks, too.
Sunglasses and goggles are important, too. I have a preference for goggles because they’re not only fun, but they also keep the dust out of your eyes. I cannot emphasize enough just how dusty it is there!
Most important of all, keep an outfit for the trip home safely tucked away in a re-sealable bag. When everything else you brought needs a thorough washing, you’ll be so happy to have a clean set of clothes waiting for you!
Don’t miss the Ultimate AfrikaBurn Survival Guide if it’s your first time out there!