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 - so please bookmark this page...
African Ceremonies an outstanding two-volume survey of the
continent's rituals, rites and ceremonies. Divided into six sectionsAbirth and
initiation; courtship and marriage; royalty and power; seasonal rites; beliefs
and worship; spirits and ancestorsAthe set documents 43 ceremonies in 26
countries. In addition to the more than 800 arresting color photographs, the
text respectfully details each ceremony.
The Gerewol Festival - September 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
Africas 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. -- > Click to view full
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 DEVELOPMENT.
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
Carnival - towards end March- April Another important event is the week
long carnival in Bouaké each March, a festivity attracting thousands of
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.
Festival-au-Desert 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
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.
wildebeest and zebras migrate between
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.
The Great Wildebeest Migration - Lodge
Safari 11 days: 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. Spend four nights at the lodge in Serengeti and spend the days on
game drives tracing the direction of the wildebeests migration. This itinerary
can be customised to suit you.
Click to view full
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 Africas 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
Sahara Marathon - February travel to
North Africa and live and run in this most difficult yet breathtaking place on
earthThe Sahara Desert.
- 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
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.
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.
Ethiopia Two major Festivals: Christmas and
Timket The best time to make a holiday to Ethiopia is on the date
of its festivals. Book this special tour to attend the celebration of the two
major festivals- Christmas in Lalibela and Timket in Addis Ababa. The tour also
includes a visit of Ethiopia Historic Route Tigray Rock Churches and Simien
Mountain National park.Click to view full itinerary
Ethiopia Timket Festival: Celebrating in
Lalibela The main Highlights of this Ethiopia tour is to visit the
celebration of Ethiopian Epiphany- Timket, on 19 January in Lalibela. Lalibela
is one of the Holy towns in the country; Timket festival is celebrated so
colorfully and differently. It is the best place to attend Timket festival in
Ethiopia. The tour also includes a visit of Ethiopia Historic Route.
Click to view full itinerary
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
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
Live 1001 night in the Moroccan SaharaNew Year Spend New Years Evein Morocco. As night falls, watch
traditional folkloric dance and listen to the heady intoxicating beat of Berber
drum music and song during the traditional pouring of mint tea. delight in a
Moroccan feast. At the crest of the gathering, the sun sets on an old year,
outlining the dunes in a complexity worthy of the future: vast and
unpredictable as the tales of Sheherazad, and the 1001 nights to be lived
before the sun rises. Click to read itinerary
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
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.
The Chinese New Year is 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.