A Land Rover 4x4 rental in the Tankwa Karoo.

Going to Afrikaburn 2024? Consider 4x4 Rental

It’s said that everyone should experience AfrikaBurn at least once. If 2024 is your year, you’ll need to know a few things ahead of the time – and you’ll want to secure a 4×4 rental to navigate the rocky, sandy Tankwa Karoo.

AfrikaBurn is Africa’s official Burning Man festival. In 2024, it will take place from 29 April to 5 May. Each year, thousands of participants gather in the Tankwa Karoo in South Africa to create and showcase art, put on eclectic performances, and simply live with a sense of community and collaboration. Read on to learn more about the event and how you can get there safely.

What is AfrikaBurn?

4x4s and people gather at AfrikaBurn.

People gather around an art installation at AfrikaBurn

AfrikaBurn’s organisers call it many things: a participant-created movement, an experiment in inclusive community building, decommodification, creativity, self-reliance, and radical self-expression, and a chance to invent the world anew. The truth is, different people attend for different reasons.

Artists come to collaborate and express themselves through their work. Some people come to practise generosity, establishing themselves as “gifters”, while others simply come for a good time and to watch massive wooden structures go up in flames. Ultimately, they’re all united by 10 guiding principles.

As people begin to gather, the ephemeral Tankwa Town emerges from the barren desert, creating a festival-like space where nothing’s for sale and everything’s about generosity. However, most people know AfrikaBurn as a festival where people dress up in eccentric outfits, drive pimped-out Desert Mutant Vehicles, and shed the technological aids of modern life to adopt a simple, carefree lifestyle. Each AfrikaBurn event focuses on a particular theme. Last year, the theme was “SPACE”, while this year, the theme is “CREATION”. 

“‘Creation’ extends our experience beyond the tangible; creating connections and a sense of community,” organisers say. “From the ethereal to the earthly, from the immensity of galaxies to the intimacy of our shared experiences, we recognise that Creation is not a solitary act but one in concert.”

What Happens at AfrikaBurn?

A burning art installation at AfrikaBurn.

People watch on as an art installation goes up in flames at AfrikaBurn

The focal point of every AfrikaBurn event is the burning of enormous combustible works of art. Artists and organisers ensure that each burn happens safely and responsibly – that means you can’t just rock up and burn things! In fact, organisers encourage artists to create works that can be dismantled and repurposed. Central to this is the idea that the venue must be left exactly as it was found, without any litter or rubble. As a result, the event hosts a diverse collection of artworks from sculptors, painters, and even performance artists.

Not all of the art is stationary, either. Many attendees design and build incredible Desert Mutant Vehicles for the event, but there’s a catch – to drive one, it must be significantly modified and licensed by the Department of Mutant Vehicles. There’s a 10 km/h speed limit and, as organisers put it, “if your car looks like a car, and doesn’t invite participation, it won’t be allowed to drive around”.

AfrikaBurn isn’t a music festival. There aren’t any headline acts and there isn’t any set lineup. Performances take place at the discretion of artists, whether it’s just a guy with a guitar or a prominent musician who’s also here to enjoy the vibes. Things are very experimental here, so a lot happens spontaneously.

Within Tankwa Town, attendees are encouraged to develop their own Theme Camps. A Theme Camp could be a yoga class, water station, or a dancefloor and some can get quite large. Other notable AfrikaBurn events include The Dance of 1,000 Flames, the biggest fire dancing jam in South Africa. This usually happens on Saturday night, right before the art installation burns.

You can learn more about AfrikaBurn and all its wonderful aspects here.

Why Should You Consider 4×4 Rental for AfrikaBurn?

An abandoned car in the Tankwa Karoo desert.

An abandoned car in the Tankwa Karoo

Mutant Vehicles aside, you’ll need a capable vehicle to get to the Tankwa Karoo. The region’s roads are notorious for absolutely destroying tyres on any vehicle that’s not cut out for off-roading. You could get away with driving a high-clearance vehicle, but 4×4 rental is undoubtedly your best option.

Last year, organisers warned that the R355 road was in the most dangerous condition it’s ever been in. They strongly suggest following these rules to stay safe:

  • Keep to the speed limit of 70 km/h
  • Make sure your tyre pressure is correct
  • Don’t overload your vehicle
  • Carry a spare tyre and a tyre repair kit
  • When overtaking, pass slowly and avoid kicking up stones
  • Be mindful of animals and donkey carts on the road
  • Don’t follow your GPS – instead, use these directions 

The absolute best thing you can do is secure 4×4 rental ahead of the event. Whether you’re driving from Cape Town, Johannesburg, Durban, or Bloemfontein, Drive South Africa has a wide range of 4×4 vehicles available for hire.

You can even use our handy search tool to find camping equipped 4x4s and RVs that can double as your festival accommodation. We’ve also put together a handy AfrikaBurn Vehicle Guide.

Ready to take the next step? Check out all our Drive South Africa 4×4 rental options.

Image credits: Josephou, Unsplash, Pixabay

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