An OppiKoppi Survival Guide

by | Aug 14, 2012 | Limpopo, Music/Festivals | 20 comments

As I told you in my previous post, I survived OppiKoppi 2012. It was challenging at times but totally worth it. For those of you considering a maiden OppiKoppi voyage next year, here are ten tips for a successful experience.

1) Come prepared, but make sure you have enough space in your vehicle for everything you plan to bring.

In the car on the way to OppiKoppi

Can you see Lungi tucked in among all that stuff in the back seat, feet folded under her because there’s no space on the floor? That was me on the way home.

I road-tripped with two friends, Ruth and Lungi, in Ruth’s massive 1985 Mercedes Benz. We thought we had plenty of space. At the last second we could not fit all our stuff into the car, then the trunk got stuck when we jammed it too full and we had to go to a petrol station to have it opened. It was a bit traumatizing but we succeeded in the end. Luckily all three of us are pretty small.

2) Bring your patience with you, and leave your road rage at home.

In traffic on the way to OppiKoppi

Unless you have the luxury of arriving and leaving at off-peak hours, you’ll be waiting around a lot in traffic.

3) If you dislike crowds, don’t come.

Tents at OppiKoppi, as far as the eye can see.

There’s very little privacy among the 20,000 campers at OppiKoppi.

4) Get ready to do your business in the bushes.

The "bathroom" at OppiKoppi (aka the bush).

Our bathroom facility. Beware of thorn bushes. They are not your friends.

When we arrived at the camp site it was nearly dark. “Where is the bathroom?” I asked one of our camp mates.

“Over there.” He pointed vaguely. I stumbled over a dirt ridge and saw nothing. I went back to the camp site.

“No really, where is it?” I asked. He led me over the same dirt ridge.

“Here,” he said. “Anywhere you want.” My heart sank. But by the end of the weekend I could pee in the bushes like a pro. I won’t provide step-by-step instructions here, but I can provide them upon request.

4) Go to OppiKoppi with good friends.

Lungi and Ruth at OppiKoppi

Lungi and Ruth, Day 2.

Our trio. We are so cool. (Photo: Sean McClymont)

Remember Sean from Cargo Kilts? We hung with him and rest of his kilt posse.

The coolness of your crowd will make or break your OppiKoppi experience. Choose your friends wisely.

Leanda, another cool chick who shared our camp.

5) Set aside time to interact with the freaks.

Strange people at OppiKoppi

These guys set up some kind of animal sacrifice thing, including pig’s feet, a chicken foot holding a joint, a carrot, a photo of a hyena, a cup of fake blood, and a drawing of a creepy girl. Also a broken record, a bike helmet, and some balloons. I chatted with them for a while but couldn’t get a straight answer on what it all meant. They just wanted to talk to me about my American accent.

6) When you get tired of the drunken masses, go to Die Klein Bar at the top of the koppie.

Oppmond performing at OppiKoppi.

A folksy Afrikaans band called Oopmond performs on the small stage at Die Klein Bar.

Die Klein Bar stage is small, intimate, and always less crowded than the other stages because it’s at the top of a huge hill. It has a chilled vibe and I really liked the bands that played there. Best of all, there is a REAL bathroom in Die Klein Bar. With real toilets and toilet paper. There are sinks, with soap, and it’s clean. Heaven. We spent a lot of time up there.

7) Don’t miss the Jeremy Loops performance. Just don’t.

Jeremy Loops performing at OppiKoppi.

Jeremy Loops does his thing on the main stage.

Jeremy Loops has become my favorite South African musician. You may remember that he also played at the Bushfire Festival. His OppiKoppi performance was a weekend highlight for me.

8) You must DAAAHNCE.

Dancing at OppiKoppi.

Ruth and Lungi strike a pose during the Jeremy Loops performance. I was dancing too, on the other side of the lens. You can tell from my camera angle.

Ruth and Lungi are joined by our new camouflage-kilted friend, Chris.

Dancing at OppiKoppi.

Chris and Ruth literally danced the afternoon away, and continued into the evening.

9) Get back to your campsite well before dark, to change into warm clothes for the evening performances.

I have no photos to go with this tip, but trust me, it’s important. When night falls, the weather changes quickly from summer to winter. Do not mess around with this one or you might die of hypothermia.

10) Have fun at OppiKoppi. But don’t OVER-fun.

I learned the word “over-fun” from my new friend Dawn, an OppiKoppi veteran. This word is very applicable to OppiKoppi. Wondering what “over-fun” means? I will show you.

Drunk people making out at OppiKoppi.

These two are over-funning a bit. They need to get a room. And they are going to get sunburned.

Drunk guy at OppiKoppi.

This guy seriously over-funned.

BONUS TIP: Bring garbage bags and pick up after yourself at camp. PLEASE.

Otherwise, at the end of the weekend your campsite will look like this:

Rubbish at a camp site at OppiKoppi.

The campsite next to ours, on Sunday morning.

Note that there are many more tips I could provide. These few tips are the ones that went best with my photos.

As we packed to go on Sunday, the members of my little group high-fived one another. “OppiKoppiiiii!” everyone yelled. “Can’t wait for next year!”

Everyone, that is, except for me. Don’t get me wrong — I had fun. I really did. But I don’t think I’m cut out to be an OppiKoppi veteran. Once was enough.

Unless Jeremy Loops comes back in 2013. In that case, I just might reconsider.


  1. Tonito

    Great post and pics! I look forward to being there next year!

    • 2summers

      Oh yes! Short commute for you 🙂

  2. Kathryn McCullough

    Great tips. It’s been a while since I’ve peed in the bushes. And who knew one could over-fun! Love the verb, Heather!

    • 2summers

      Thanks Kathy. I wish I could take credit for that word.

  3. MzansiGirl

    My sentiments exactly! It was also my first Oppikoppi, I think it’s something you have to do once as a SA music fan, but I doubt I’ll go again unless the line-up is spectacular. A bit too much drunkenness, or over-fun for me, and the lack of toilets was a problem. I don’t mind a bush pee, but it didn’t help that there were no real bushes. Also the dust was something else! I’m definitely more of a Bush-Fire person, give me a hotel winmy festival anyday 🙂 Bummed I missed Jeremy Loops though I listen to his CD on the way to the festival.

    • 2summers

      Thanks Meruschka, I’m glad I’m not alone 🙂

  4. jackie hulme

    great pics Heather – did you ask Chris what kind of Mac was he – and I see Lungi was also in a kilt – what kind of Mac is she ? sorry just jack’s humour. would have been great to see pics of the 85 benz on the wide angle …. hectic pics on the litter – that is a tad disappointing from the afrikaanerdom. I think Im a tad too old for concerts like this now. You guys should try Splashy Fen in the berg. I went to the very first one.

    • 2summers

      Thanks Jacks. Somehow I don’t think I took any wide-angle pics of the Merc! Silly.

  5. Gail Wilson

    Great tips and oh so important! Now you need to go to Afrikaburn.

    • 2summers

      Yes, AfrikaBurn might be in the cards for next year…

    • 2summers

      Thanks Lisa! Hope you’re well.

      • lisa@notesfromafrica

        Are you still working as a freelance journalist? You’ve travelled to some interesting places recently!

        • 2summers

          I am a freelancer of sorts, although not exactly a journalist. More like a freelance communicator 🙂

  6. Jaco

    Looks ruffff. I just said that in my best (worst?) Afrikaans accent.

  7. Melinda

    found this post when searching “taking your camera to Oppikoppi”… Is it too risky? I absolutely don’t wanna regret not taking any photos! (oh, I have to mention that my camera is like my siamese twin :-))

    • 2summers

      Well, I took my camera (obviously) and everything turned out fine. I locked it in my friend’s car at night and tried to protect it from dust as much as possible. It needed a good cleaning when I got back though. Also I suppose it depends on how hard you plan to party. If you think you might “overfun” (as described in my post) and wind up passed out in a field somewhere, then I wouldn’t bring it. But if you plan to keep your wits about you then you should be fine.

  8. Lauren

    Hahaha that was my camp site at number 5. The offering was for “Baal” if I remember correctly. BEST.

    • 2summers

      Hahaha, that’s awesome!


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