For a shot at the great time at the bush fire festival, first things first make sure that your passport is valid and is safely tucked inside your bag before you can start thinking about embarking on this journey. I know of people and have heard of stories of people who were left at the border by their Friends because they forgot their passports.
Once that is out of the way you can now start thinking about what outfits to pack. This festival is probably one of those where you need more that one outfit a day, reason being that the weather changes a few times in a day. In the morning its warm, hot during the day then becomes very cold in the evening.
Road trip/ Flight
A road trip is the only way I have been to the Kingdom of eSwatini, so what is it going to be for you? I always choose a road trip because it only takes you four hours to get there from Johannesburg and you get to save a lot of money on transport that you could use for entertainment. I also enjoy road trips and there is no other way I would ever do it. There are more than 5 flights that one can choose from when travelling to eSwatini.
Choosing the pass
There are three options to choose from, general access, Golden Lounge and VIP. The most popular are general and the Golden lounge. VIP tickets are release in small quantities. A lot of people enjoy general access because it is very reasonable and have access up to the front of the stage, the global food village and the arts and craft market. I personally prefer the Golden Lounge pass. This option gives access to almost every part of the festival. You have easy access to the front of the main stage, and access to many food stalls that are not part of the general access accessible points. It also becomes easy for you to use the bar in the VIP area to buy your drinks. And my highlight is the Bon-fires that burn through out the night, keeping you warm all night and the benches to sit on when you get tired of dancing.
Rough it up or go comfy
Accommodation ranges from camping, glamping self catering chalets, guest houses and hotels; camping being the most popular option. You can either buy a camping/glamping package or book a campsite and pitch your own tent. If you are traveling from Johannesburg, Durban or other neighboring towns you get to choose from a variety of packages that include transport, meals, festival ticket and accommodation (camping). In 2020 be on the look out for the Mzansi Travel Movement’s first trip to the Bush Fire.
Global Food Village
In the global food village a variety of dishes are served. These range from sit down 3 course meals to gourmet and grab and go meals. These meals include some of your favourites from other African countries. The village is located just meters away from the main arena, which makes it very accessible and convenient for the festival go-ers. Hunger is a foreign phenomenon at the Bush Fire Festival.
The Kids Zone
This is a very laid back, kids friendly and very safe festival, therefore if you are not planning on forgetting your name and not knowing how you got to your hotel room each morning, you can bring your whole family with. Since inception, no missing child has ever been reported, though kids will occasionally wander off every now and then but they are always easily located and returned back to their parents.
The crafts market
The market has a huge selection of crafts, from handbags, sculptures, vintage and tailor made clothes. Arts and craft lovers would need some reinforcements to be able to resist the urge to take everything home. I remember my friend being torn between a bag and a very cute jacket.
Grooming & Spa treatments
Were you busy doing everything else in preparation for your big weekend adventure, that you forgot to take care of yourself? Worry not, Bushfire has got just the place for you. Here you can have your nails manicured, feet pedicured, all while listening to the cool sounds from all over the African continent. After that session you can also go for a spa treatment of your choice. I must admit, even for me, I mean I have been to a few festivals but one that has a nail bar and massage parlor was a pleasant surprise; so much that I had to try it out to believe it. This is truly a must visit.
Keep the drinks coming
A festival is not a festival without some beer, pink drinks and popping a few bottles. This is where people get to explore some new beers and wines. With the rise in locally produced gin, I bet gin lovers will Join the exploration scene. There is always something exciting for the non drinkers too, some virgin pink drinks and bubbly are also available.
Lose yourself in the music
As soon as the festival starts you are spoilt for choice. There is a minimum of 3 stages playing different music genres. This festival is rich with African music though there will always be other acts form different parts of the world. In 2018 the festival played host to a group from France and a beautiful African cocktail of musicians like Salif Keitha, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Yemi Alade, Sho Madjozi, and Something Soweto to name but a few. This is the most loved and attended music festival in Southern Africa.
Meeting new friends
One thing I like about festivals is that you get to meet new people. This one is no different, we met a lot of cool and like minded lovely people at the Kingdom of eSwatini. Because the festival is attended by people from all over the world this means you must be receptive to the new people that you are going to meet. It’s always nice to learn a thing or two about people from other countries. Each year many more diverse groups of people bring their fire and it gets better each year.
Fun, fun and more fun
From the children to the old people, there is just something jovial about this festival, it’s like there is a spirit of happiness that come over people as soon as they enter those gates. I was watching a group of kids that were running non stop the whole day until night time. On the other hand adults would be stage hopping the whole time. People do not only bring their fire, they also bring good vibes too, join the movement. #goodvibesonly