The Baardskeerder - AfrikaBurn's Newsletter - View web version

 (There's nothing out there but you & the desert. Thanks to Ludovic Ismael for this shot)


This is it. This is the no-man’s land in between what you know, and what’s yet to unfold. You’re about to embark on a journey into a place where the known falls away, and any corner turned could reveal a new world. All that’s asked of you is that you step over the threshold ready to embrace the experiment. But it won’t lay down soft petals for you to frolic on: it will kick your ass and unveil beauty in equal measure. As long as you’re armed with an open and non-judgemental attitude - and enough rebar, duct tape and cable ties to build a city - you’ll be fine. You asked for it, and you’re about to get it, so you might as well just go with it. Welcome to the Desert Fandango Club. Though you might not know it, you may already be a member.  

We burn the Clan in 7 days (weather permitting).

In this newsletter:


(Soon, this will be what greets you on arrival: Die Hek) 

Now? 4 days before gates? You’re kidding, right? Holy shit, you’re serious. Well alright - if you really do need info on how to still get tickets the legit way at this (very) late stage, head to our Tickets page. Be careful out there - don’t be desperate: it’s not a good look on you and scammers prey on the desperate.

At Die Hek: on arrival, have your ticket and photo ID ready. Smile and wave (and if you’re a virgin, ring that bell).

One important thing: if you’re arriving before 8am on Monday, be aware that while our Hek crew are friendly, they can't let you in without an Early Access Pass. If you don't have one, you’ll have to hunker down in Camp Ja But No But and wait until gates are open on Monday morning.


                                                                                                                                                                         (The long & not so winding road, shot by Jonx Pillemer)


No matter where you’re driving from, it’s madness at any hour and in any direction when you enter the Tankwa. The sun is more brutal, the roads are simply merciless and if you break down on a remote road days could go by before you see another human. Here’s the deal on the R355:

- it’s long
- it destroys tyres of all kinds - even on 4x4’s
- it’s not kind on anyone who drives over 70km/h
- it’s even less kind on muppets who speed while overloaded and drunk
- according to our crew, it’s in a fair condition (but you never can tell)

As always, usual rules apply: DO NOT OVERTAKE IF YOU CAN’T SEE AHEAD. If you get a flat (and chances are you will), pull completely over and out of the way. Do not stop on a rise (but do stop at the Padstal and say hi). Take spare tyres. Get a compressor. Add some snotplugs. Check your jack. Make sure you have a tyre-iron. Pack spares and jack on top of everything else (so they’re easy to find when the inevitable sidewall punctures happen).

Will there be roadblocks? Is the Tankwa hot & dusty?



                                                                                                                                                (This is last year, but we could well be in for the same this time round - thanks to H for this shot)


Oh yes, there’ll be lots of that. There always is. What we have is two forecasts: one scientific, and another based on folklore and the first-hand observation of natural phenomena over many years. Which, when you think about it, is pretty much folk science. Meteorology says we’re in for a torrential downpour. Tankwa folk scientists agree and say it’s gonna be another 2012, which is to say, batten down the hatches and bring your gumboots, raincoats and snorkel. If you plan to use electronics, pack some clingfilm and silicon tape - and be ready to use ‘em.

Need a forecast? The best one is here. Need our Survival Guide? It’s always here (and is now available in English, Afrikaans and isiXhosa).

And if you need a daily forecast, don’t forget to bring an FM radio. Because Radio Free Tankwa.



We're banging on about some really unwanted items - namely, flares, fireworks, fire lanterns and feathers. There are many reasons that these F's are a really bad idea - but we’ll let your independent rational brain decipher why. Suffice to say - as Ranger Bob recently pointed out - AfrikaBurn and those items are like Trump and planned parenthood. Don’t bring them, and if you have a mate who thinks they're a good idea, please explain why they should stay at home. And there's one other item that’s a really kak idea: hand-held lasers. They cause permanent blindness. As in ‘if you point them at a person they will quite possibly never be able to see again.’

              (Nope, the Clan won't look like this, this time round - this is last year's as built by Mike Rule and his amazing crew. Thanks to Steven Morrow for the shot)


Know anyone who’s planning to shoot video on site? Our Clan crew are calling for participation in documenting this year’s effigy which consists of (it’s a secret, but will blow your mind). Got an HD or 4K camera? Get involved: filming will take place between 7:45 and 9pm on Friday (weather permitting) and we’re after as many lenses as possible to document our 11th Clan being unveiled by flame.

If you’re keen to participate in capturing this spectacle, please head to the Clan performance briefing at 11am on Friday 28th April at Arteria (OCC) and ask for Simon O’Callaghan or Graeme Allan.




In our 11th year of this wild escapade, we're happy to let you know that a beautiful book is being published that captures many of the faces and creations that have marked our journey over the years. 'BURN - Into The Flames Of Burning Art' has been created and published by Simon O'Callaghan, our outgoing Photography lead, who's spent years running around in the dust like a madman in pursuit of amazing photos. There'll be book launches coming after this year's event and we'll bring you news on those down the line - but if you'd like to get a copy, head to Simon's publishing site to get yours.


It takes a whole village…wait…town…wait - ah, hell, it takes a whole community to make this thing come alive and run straight & true. Which is why we need as many hands on deck as possible - and that means volunteers, manning the many posts that make our city run smoothly.

Got time, and a hankering to help out? Maybe keen to meet some really lekker people? Head to the Participation Station at Off-Centre Camp to speak to our Volunteer crew - and prepare to be swamped with love and joy!


Our Rangers, along with the rest of our crew, are keen to make sure everyone stays safe in Tankwa Town - and although we have security and medics and Sanctuary and Green Dots and Fire Safety crew in place - we still need willing community mediators to stalk the dust and talk to the dusty, in order to keep ‘em safe. So, if you’ve trained up as a Ranger in the past, we need you to step up - when you arrive on site, head to the Ranger HQ at Off-Centre Camp and sign up for some shifts. Prepare to meet some Black Rock Rangers - there’ll be a fair few among us this year, and thank you to them all for the effort.

Have we told you lately that you look lovely in orange?  




Thinking about ways to reconnect after the dust? Here are two options - and yes, we'll have news on our Decompression down the line, look out for that.


This one’s knocked together by the artist presently known as Danny Popper and promises to…well, it’s likely you’ll dance. Check it out here.


This one was built by a bunch of wolf lovers, and promises kicking bass bins. Oontz, oontz, anyone? Find it here.


Pretty much - 99% of our crew are on site already preparing the city for your arrival, and those not already there are packing frantically or on the road. From our team to you all, ride safe - we'll see you in the dust.

Travis Lyle
Minister of This Is Going To Require Stronger Coffee

Still reading? OK - in case you hadn't yet seen them yet, there's still time for you to read this year's glorious Survival Guide and WTF Guide. Enjoy.


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