Africa Guide
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Guide to Africa

African Festivals and Events


Africa is the festival continent. Throughout the whole continent, colourful and vibrant festivals range through musical, religous, cultural and harvest to name just a few.

In this section we have included just some of the festivals and events that are happening - we shall be adding more regularly.

Sahara Marathon - February
travel to North Africa and live and run in this most difficult yet breathtaking place on earth—The Sahara Desert.

Telefónica-Dakar Rally - dates tbc
Tits rich, eventful and adventurous past, its adaptability to its time, and to the men and women of its time, the Dakar has become a major highlight of the sporting calendar. Crossing of Portugal, Spain, Morocco, Mauritania, Mali, Guinea and Senegal. 

Egyptian Maraton _Luxor
The Marathon is an international event with over 36 nationalities participating and it is the only A I M S (Association of international Marathons and Road Races) certified Marathon in the country

The Gerewol Festival

Each year the semi-nomadic Mbororo people gather for a week of incredible celebrations known as the Gerewol, a colourful festival that is one of Africa’s most spectacular.

The Gerewol is renowned for the way in which young Mbororo men decorate themselves, donning make up and jewellery and ‘displaying’ to young women in search of a partner.

Recommended Trips

The Gerewol Festival in Chad
The Gerewol Festival in Chad
Join the Mbororo people for a week of traditional festivities, and immerse yourself in a culture that is among the most traditional in all of Africa. One of the most colourful festivals you’re ever likely to see. September departures
8 Days - GBP £1,749

Many festivals include thrilling durbars of chiefs, when tribal leaders and Queen Mothers process in decorated palanquins, shaded by the traditional umbrellas, and supported by drummers and warriors discharging ancient muskets. The dates of many festivals are determined by the traditional calendars, often decided close to the event.

Aboakyir festival - May each year

This Festival is celebrated by the people of Simpa or Winneba in the Central Region of Ghana. The festival is a celebration to mark the migration of these people from the ancient Western Sudan Empire where they were led by 2 brothers and a god called Otu. Upon consulting their god, they were instructed by their traditional priest or mediator between the people and the god to sacrifice a young member of the Royal family every year to their god.


Panafest is a biennial festival of African dance, music and other performing arts that is held every two years in Ghana.
A cultural event dedicated to the enhancement of the ideals of Pan-Africanism and the development of the African continent. It is organized biennially for Africans and people of Africa descent as well as all persons committed to the well being of Africans on continent and in the diaspora. The essential thrust of PANAFEST is to enhance developement.

The Homowo Festival - August/September

The word "Homowo" actually means 'making fun of hunger.' Our traditional oral history describes a time long ago when the rains stopped and the sea closed its gates. A deadly famine spread throughout the southern Accra Plains, the home of the Ga people. When the harvest finally arrived and food became plentiful, the people were so happy that they celebrated with a festival that ridiculed hunger.

The Hogbetsotso Festival

This is celebrated on the first Saturday of November every year by the Anlo Ewes of the Volta Region of Ghana. The essential feature of this festival is a magnificent durbar of chiefs and citizens. Hogbetsotso, generally known as "the festival of the Exodus" is held annually to commemorate the escape of the Anlo Ewes from the tyrannical ruler of Notsie - Agokoli of Togo. The chiefs appear on the durbar grounds in their most charming royal regalia and sit in state to acknowledge and receive homage from their subjects. The entire ceremony is laced with non-stop soul-stirring drumming and dancing.

Bouake Carnival - towards end March- April

Another important event is the week long carnival in Bouaké each March, a festivity attracting thousands of visitors.

Fêtes des Masques (Festival of Masks) - November

One of Côte d'Ivoire's most famous festivals is the Fêtes des Masques (Festival of Masks), which takes place in the region of Man occurs in November. Numerous small villages in the region hold contests to determine the best dancers and to pay homage to forest spirits who are embodied in the elaborate masks.

Fête du Dipri - April

Held in Gomon, near Abidjan, this festival starts around midnight, when women and children sneak out of their huts and, naked, carry out nocturnal rites to exorcise the village of evil spells. Before sunrise the chief appears, drums pound and villagers go into trances. The frenzy continues until late afternoon of the next day.


Billed as the "most remote music festival in the world" the Festival is a three-day Afro-pop powwow held by the Tuareg, the traditionally nomadic "blue people" of the Sahara. It's a tribe often feared for the banditry of its rebels and respected for the fact that it has never really been conquered. Combining traditional Tuareg music and dance, camel races, and competitions during the day, the Festival comes alive at night with modern Malian music, which is becoming popular the world over from incorporation into music as diverse as that of Robert Plant and Paul Simon.

Festival on the NigerJan/Feb

Segou tradional malian musique and dance, a Forum with theme "development trough culture and tourism", a Fair with local art and food.

Fête des Masques - April

The Dogons are famous for their masks and during the five-day event many of them are used in ritual ceremonies that go back more than 1000 years . At each Sigui festival, a new ceremonial mask is carved especially for the occasion, then placed in the Tellem caves. Remnants of these masks going back hundreds of years have been found in the caves.

Crossing of the cattle - December

The Cattle Crossing is the most important Fulani festival in Diafarabe. Every December, herders bring cattle from the grazing lands to the river at Diafarabe. Here everyone crosses the river. On the other side families are reunited for a few days, before they take the cattle to new pastures. The first day is the Promenade des Jeunes, when the unmarried men and women dress up to attract each other. There is also a competition to judge the fattest and best looked-after cattle, with useful prizes.

Durbar Festival - Oct

The Durbar festival is celebrated at the culmination of the two great Muslim festivals Id el Fitri and Id el Kabir. The festival gives a good idea of the past glories of the emirate before the influence of western culture.

International Camel Derby & Festival - August (TBC)

The Derby takes place at Maralal, Samburu District, centred at Yare Club & Camp, just four kilometres south of Maralal town on the Nyahururu road. . It is also a spectacular festival packed with a variety of events that draws visitors from all over the world. The Derby has been on the go since 1990, with entries from Australia, America, New Zealand, Canada, England, France, Spain, Japan, South Africa and beyond competing against the reigning Kenya champions in both the amateur and professional races. The route runs through semi-desert regions with varying levels of difficulty and camels (with or without handlers) are available to hire for those wishing to compete.

Nairobi International Book Fair

The emphasis is locally published books and magazines, but is now starting to attract the attention of publishers elsewhere in Africa and elsewhere overseas. Targets the publishing trade as well as the public. Up to 20,000 visitors, including schools groups. Provides a platform for the dynamic marketing and promotion service industry, and targets promotional book-signings, book-readings, book-launches and a comprehensive seminar programme.

Mombasa Carnival - November

The Mombasa carnival features parades and floats from every conceivable cultural, national and religious group in Kenya. There are two main parades which converge onto Moi Avenue which feature incredible floats, spectacular costumes and fantastic music.

The Schweppes East African Concours d' Elegance

Nairobi Racecourse. The annual vehicle beauty contest organized by the Alfa Romeo Owners Club for all makes and types of cars, pick ups, station wagons and motorcycles.

The Wildebeest Migration

The Wildebeest Migration in East Africa, also known as “The Great Migration” takes place between Tanzania's Serengeti National Park and Kenya's Masai Mara and is one of the greatest wildlife spectacles on the planet.

Thousands of wildebeest and zebra’s migrate between the Serengeti and the Masai Mara, constantly driven by their search for fresh grazing. The massive herds are closely followed by predators (lion, hyena and cheetah), making the most of every opportunity to catch their next meal.

The precise timing of the annual wildebeest migration depends on the rains. It is a very unpredictable and spontaneous natural event, with calving season taking place in the Serengeti between January and mid-March. The wildebeest migration starts to head towards the Western Serengeti in May or June. The best time to see the migration is generally between June and August when the wildebeest congregate and prepare to cross the famous Grumeti River.

If you are in the Masai Mara you can expect the wildebeest to make their arrival as early as July, but they generally arrive between August & September and remain in the Masai Mara between October & November. Between the end of November and January the wildebeest gradually begin their migration from the Masai Mara back towards the Serengeti.

Recommended Trips

Great Wildebeest Migration Lodge Safari, Tanzania
Great Wildebeest Migration Lodge Safari, Tanzania
This safari allows you to witness the very best of Tanzania. You will revel in all the wildlife viewing opportunities on the fabled plains of the Serengeti, around Lake Manyara, Tarangire & Ngorongoro
11 Days - USD $5,061

Bayimba International Festival of Music and Arts

The Annual Bayimba International Festival of Music and Arts – a vibrant platform to celebrate the power of Music and Arts in Uganda.

Sauti za Busara music festival

Features a rich variety of African music from the region with more than four hundred musicians participating over five days in historic Stone Town.

Festival of the Dhow Countries July

East Africa’s largest cultural event, takes place in Zanzibar in magnificent, historical venues along the waterfront of Stone Town. The festival celebrates the unique cultural heritage of the "Dhow" countries: the African continent and the Indian Ocean region and their global Diaspora.

Mwakakogwa Festival - July/August

A traditional festival to celebrate the local New Year. It is mainly practiced in the Southern Unguja, particularly in Makunduchi. Originating from Persia and brought here by early, Immigrants, Mwakakogwa is marked by sacrifices, dances, and the actual field fighting. In addition to the tourists from abroad, it draws participants from the whole of East Africa.

Egyptian Maraton Luxor

The Marathon is an international event with over 36 nationalities participating and it is the only A I M S (Association of international Marathons and Road Races) certified Marathon in the country

Pharaonic Race - CairoNovember

100Kms : The route of the race will take you first to sites of Sakkara , the ancient necropolis of Memphis, Egypt's earliest capital. The third highlight will be the magnificent area of Dahshure , where the bent and the red Pyramids of King Snefru can be admired.

Abu Simbel Festival - Twice every year (February and October)

Abu Simbel is located in the heart of Nubia and is accessible by road or air from Aswan. The most remarkable feature of the site is that the temple is precisely oriented so that twice every year, on 22 February and 22 October, the first rays of the morning sun shine down the entire length of the temple-cave to illuminate the back wall of the innermost shrine and the statues of the four gods seated there.

Ramses II, in a fit of precision and despotic architectural egotism, carefully angled his temple at Abu Simbel so that the inner sanctum would light up twice a year: once on the anniversary of his rise to the throne, and once on his birthday. The combination of human endeavour and natural phenomena provides what must be one of the most spectacular sights in the world.

South Sinai Camel Festival - May

This festival gives all travelers a chance to change their opinion regarding camels being slow plodders. The most speediest and bumpiest racing of all, takes place at Sharm El-Sheikh.

Cairo Film Festival

With its ancient history, and vast motion picture industry, Egypt became the cultural capital of the Arab world. Egypt's cinema's influence on the Arabs is as profound as that of the American cinema on the rest of the world. That why Cairo is known to be "Hollywood" of the Middle East.

Timkat/Epiphany - January

Timket, or the Feast of the Epiphany, is celebrated in the January of each year. The 3-day event commemorates the baptism of Christ and is one of the most colourful Ethiopian festivals. The night before the Timket, priests take the Tabot (which symbolises the Ark of the Covenant, containing the Ten Commandments) from each church to a tent at a consecrated pool or stream. There is frenetic activity, including the ringing of bells, blowing of trumpets and the burning of incense. In Addis Ababa, tents are pitched at Jan Meda, to the northeast of the city centre. At 02h00, mass is celebrated, attended by crowds of people carrying lighted oil lamps. At dawn, the priest uses a ceremonial cross to extinguish a candle burning on a pole in a nearby river. Inevitably, some of the congregation leap into the river. The Tabots are then taken back to the churches in procession, accompanied by horsemen, while the festivities continue.

Recommended Trips

Ethiopia Religious Festival Tours
Ethiopia Religious Festival Tours
Ethiopia Historic Route tour is also designed in such a way to coincides with the colorful Festivals of Meskal, Timkat, Christmas or Axum Tsion. You will enjoy beauty of Ethiopia religious festival celebrations
12 Days - USD $3,200
Ethiopia Two major Festivals: Christmas and Timket
Ethiopia Two major Festivals: Christmas and Timket
The best time to make a holiday to Ethiopia is on the date of its festivals. Book our special tour to attend the celebration of the two major festivals- Christmas in Lalibela and Timket in Addis Ababa.
17 Days - USD $3,680
Ethiopia Timket Festival: Celebrating in Lalibela
Ethiopia Timket Festival: Celebrating in Lalibela
Ethiopian religious festival celebrations are colorful and vibrant. Book this special tour and visit the people when they celebrate Timket- Epiphany festival in Lalibela. The tour also includes a visit of the major historical sites.
13 Days - USD $3,360
Historic Route Simien Mtns & Hidar Tsion Festival
Historic Route Simien Mtns & Hidar Tsion Festival
Travel to the major historical and cultural tourist attractions, visit world heritage sites in Gondar, Lalibela, Axum, Harer & the Simien Mountains with a visit to the Hidar Tsion Festival in Axum.
15 Days - USD $2,990
Historic Route Rift Valley Lakes & Meskel Festival
Historic Route Rift Valley Lakes & Meskel Festival
Ethiopia Tour to explore Monasteries on Lake Tana Castle of Gondar Rock churches in Lalibela, Stles of Axum, Simien Mountain National Park, Harer and attend Meskel Festival celebration in Addis Ababa.
13 Days - USD $3,430
Omo Valley Bahir Dar Gonadr Axum & Christmas
Omo Valley Bahir Dar Gonadr Axum & Christmas
Travel to the North Great Historic Route Ethiopia and South Rift/ Omo Valley with a visit of the religious celebration of Ethiopian Christmas in Lalibela.
14 Days - USD $3,500

There are a couple of big annual events that help visitors unravel the mysteries of Morocco. Feasts are organized during all seasons, celebrating various local traditions. Festivals are consecrated to the arts and to the popular traditions. "Moussems" are important gathering to pay homage to a special personalities

Recommended Trips

Live 1001 night in the Moroccan Sahara
Live 1001 night in the Moroccan Sahara
Our feet churn the first sands of the Sahara as we climb toward a view worthy of the New Year, and long lives that await us. This once-in-a-lifetime private journey can be customized for you
7 Days - USD $2,000

Morija Arts and Cultural Festival - October

Each year on the first Thursday of October, the Festival is alive and kicking again. The main days of the Festival will be Friday through Sunday. During the four days of the Festival about 40 events will take place at 8 venues in Morija which cater for all tastes in music, dance, drama and film. At the main Arena, Thabeng Football Grounds, are also found arts & crafts displays and sales, as well as information booths and tents marketing a wide range of products, including food and drinks of different traditions. Concerts, Jazz, Famo, Gospel & Kwaito will highlight each day.The friendly & festive atmosphere of this Festival is unique and each visitor is highly welcomed.

Augrabies Extreme Maraton

Experience the challenge of Southern Africa with this 7 day, 250km self-sufficiency run in the Great Kalahari....

Cape Town Festival

The Festival will include concerts over three days, our popular Festival Imbizos or Cultural Talks, diverse foods representing different religions and cultures, and a range of activities targeting youth, etc.

Hermanus Whale Festival

The fun Festival with the most spectacular natural setting on earth brings you a combination of music, music, music, live theatre, sport and adventurous environmental activities - the ultimate Enviro-Arts experience. A whole week of theatre, music, craft stalls, sport and fun is planned - bring the whole family.

Absa Cape Epic

The largest full-service mountain bike stage race in the world. It starts in the beautiful Garden Route town of Knysna and finishes eight days later in style at the grand Spier Wine Estate, just outside Cape Town.

National Arts Festival - Grahamstown - TBC

The National Arts Festival is one of the most important event on the South African cultural calendar, and the biggest annual celebration of the arts on the African continent. Starting at the end of June/beginning of July, it runs for between 8 and 10 days and is held in the small university city of Grahamstown, which is situated in the Eastern Cape, 130km from Port Elizabeth.

Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon

The Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon has earned a reputation as the world’s most beautiful marathon. The first race was held in 1970 and saw 26 runners line up to face the unknown challenge. Since then, the race has become a national institution and a firm favourite with local, upcountry, and international athletes.

Splashy Fen Music Festival

Longest-running and most renowned annual music festival, Splashy Fen has evolved into the ultimate outdoor experience for music and nature lovers alike 

Knysna Oyster Festival.

The annual Pick n Pay Knysna Oyster Festival is one of South Africa’s most popular festivals with huge appeal for sports lovers, families and those in search of a great party!

The Chinese New Year

A spectacular event, and a deeply symbolic one. In Mauritius it is treated as a spring cleaning both of the inner and the outer worlds, as families get together to celebrate the beginning of a new year with vows, fireworks, good food and celebration.

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