This time last year I was frantically trying to finish up work in between burning myself with a glue gun in an effort to make flower crowns and party clothes! Yip its that time just before Afrika Burn again, except this year we aren’t going! In case you don’t know what Afrika Burn is, it is an arts and music festival that happens once a year in the Tankwa National Park in the Karoo. We did four years in a row and decided to take a break this year but now that the time is nearing there is a tinge of FOMO setting in.
Spirit Fest is a yoga, dance and music festival that happens once a year in the Cape in South Africa. It’s a festival that encourages the inner child to play, the self to align with spirit and the body to move. For four days you can totally immerse yourself in just about every type of yoga that i can think of, but there are also dance classes, sound journeys, meditation classes, relaxation sessions and informative lectures. The kids are well taken care of with classes designed especially for them and if they aren’t into yoga there is a dam to swim in!
2017 was the year that saw us travel to the Karoo for our fourth Afrika Burn and it is also the year that I turned 40 years old!
I am going to be straight up with you here …… I had a rather tough Afrika Burn experience this year as I just wasn’t feeling myself and this culminated into what felt like one of the worst times of my life! Yip I got the dreaded noro virus which did its rounds at Afrika Burn this year. Being in the middle of the desert without running water is not a place to get so violently ill. Climbing out of a roof top tent and crawling to the nearest porta loo in the middle of the night on many many occasions was not fun. I won’t speak too much about the state of the porta loos other than the fact that I wasn’t the only one who was sick at the time! But I survived and in between the not so nice bits I found magic.
Here is a tiny glimpse into that magic!
Festivals can sometimes have the reputation as being debaucherous affairs frequented by folk who love to party. It would also be fair to say that most of them entail camping, music and dirty feet! SpiritFest involved all of the latter, but none of the former. It is a festival where alcohol and any other mind-altering substances are not welcome, but open hearts and kindness are a requirement. If you have never heard of SpiritFest I will fill you in. It is a yoga, music and dance festival, which happened this year on the banks of the Citrusdal River.
The festival was spread over four days and sported a jam-packed schedule of yoga classes, dance sessions, talks, guided meditations, music performances and DJ’s. It is worth noting that SpiritFest is a child friendly event and they had a whole schedule organised for little ones. It is also a meat free event and there were lots of food stalls offering delicious vegetarian meals to satisfy one’s hunger. For those who like to shop there was a market of varied and interesting goodies to buy.
There was so much going on that it was impossible to attend everything, and the weather was absolutely gorgeous so dips in the cool river and taking the time to sunbathe on its banks under the majestic mountains were a welcome distraction. The yoga classes ranged from Kundalini and Forest Yoga, to Hatha, Vinyassa, Iyenga and Acro Yoga and it was fabulous to try so many different styles and teachers. I love doing yoga to music and there was a yoga DJ at every class I attended. Another highlight for me were the dance sessions. Again these ranged from a spirited NIA class to 5 Rhythms Dancing to free dancing sessions with DJ Epple-Sauce, which my sister nicknamed the “sober rave time”. One minute there would be a class of 100 people doing yoga, and the next the marque would be transformed into a rocking dance floor with everyone flocking in for a quick sober jam and a whole load of fun!
Afrika Burn is a yearly festival which is held in the Karoo desert and could be likened to a giant playground for adults. It is a space to dance under the stars, ride around on bikes, dress as your inner diva, give gifts to strangers, look at art and have a ride in a mutant vehicle. It is also a place where the values of every day life are left at the door. There is nothing that can be bought or sold at Afrika Burn other than ice. There are no adverts or expectations … Just a safe space to find yourself, loose yourself and be yourself.