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20 days to AfrikaBurn! (… thinking back to last year)

Only 20 days to go before we set off to travel the long, dusty road to this year’s AfrikaBurn. And a long, long, dusty road it sure is …

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Long, dusty road to Tankwa Town, home of AfrikaBurn

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Enter Tankwa Town, exit the Default World … the AfrikaBurn adventure awaits

Last year we travelled most of the way in the rain.

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A rainbow on the way to AfrikaBurn 2012

We were lucky, though, because the next day the Tankwa Karoo showed us what she was capable of doing. My daughter aquaplaned into the campsite in a car so caked with mud that she couldn’t see out the windscreen …

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Moments after she arrived, Tankwa unleashed the mother of all storms. Rocks of hail pelted down from the heavens, massive winds whipped tents from their supports, and angry rains fell so fast that the Karoo had no time to soak the water into her thirsty earth. Massive pools of brown water formed and those tents that had withstood the gale force winds were flooded. The men from the nudist colony had time only to don some wellington boots before heading out to hammer down the guy ropes and dig trenches around their tents.

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Campers scurrying to save their tents from flooding.

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It was easier to just pick up the tent and carry it, than break down and pitch again.

Miraculously, our tent – put up in the pitch dark the night before – stood on a patch of ground soft enough to absorb the water, and high enough – by mere inches – to avoid being flooded. We hulked down under our gazebo, watching the chaos play out around us. I made hot chocolate, popcorn and, later, a big pot of stew to feed the cold and (temporarily) homeless campers around us.

The storm left the site covered in water and structures smashed to pieces.

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The fire-breathing dragon, made of strips of balsa wood, was smashed by the storm

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Just when we thought it was over, the rains came down again.

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But what a sky it gave us …

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That night, Tankwa Town was dark and cold. It looked as if AfrikaBurn was not going to happen this year. Sculptures, geodesic domes, tents, plasma screens, all in pieces, ruined.

But burners are made of stronger stuff than Default World people. The next day the sun came out, the puddles dried up, and the desert was transformed into a fantasy world of colour.

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Where’s Wally? Which one is Wally?

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Everything is turned into art at AfrikaBurn

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A spectacular giant aloe in the desert

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If you’re not wearing a tutu at AfrikaBurn, you’re not properly dressed.

My velvet roses were attached to dry, prickly bushes around our campsite …

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A (velvet and satin) desert rose.

… and even my grumpiest friends managed to smile …

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And that night it was as if the storm had never happened. The party had started. The dragon breathed its fire and there were fairy lights and laser lights everywhere. It was bitterly cold, though, and most of the tutus were worn under coats. The nudists wore scarves (around their necks).

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The fire-breathing dragon, dressed up for the night.

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An origami bird in laser lights?

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And, of course, there were the burns …

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Dancing polar bear, in flames.

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This year we’ll be having our own theme camp. Only 20 days in which to create our own fantasy world. Best I get to it!

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Filed under AfrikaBurn, Festivals, Landscape, Low light photography, Nature photography, Photography