The Best CULTURAL FESTIVALS in Africa
Africa has over 3,000 ethnic groups & over 2,000 languages spoken in the different parts of this culturally diverse continent. Not to forget its biodiversity and breathtaking natural beauty!
To get a closer look into the beauty, diversity and culture of Africa, here are some of the best cultural festivals to be a part of.
FESTIVAL OF THE DHOW COUNTRIES - ZANZIBAR
This festival is known as the largest cultural event in East Africa and is held annually in July. You may hear of Zanzibar International Film Festival, it is another name for it. This festival creates a synergy between the arts and diverse culture of the several East African countries and also includes countries such as India, Iran, Pakistan and The Gulf States. The main event at this festival is the film competition. However, it also offers different cultural experiences from art, music, seminars and conferences to theatre and workshops. This grand festival is held at different stunning and historic venues close to the seafront in Stone Town. The village panorama extends the festival outwards to the rural communities.
MOMBASA CARNIVAL - KENYA
This event is held in the month of November and is the largest annual festival in Kenya produced by the ministry of tourism. This event is a festivity full of costumes, dance, floats and music thoroughly showcasing the cultural diversity of Kenya! During Mombasa Carnival, streets are lined with stalls selling delicious local cuisine and street food including Mnazi (made from coconut sap).
Several traditional musical performances and contemporary acts can be seen and people in attendance dress in traditional attire that is Kikoy and/or Kanga (Heeeey!)
HERMANUS WHALE FESTIVAL - SOUTH AFRICA
The Hermanus Whale Festuval is held in sunny South Africa every September. It is noted as an "Enviro-Arts" festival, which means the artists have a keen connection with nature and produce their art using natural materials.
The main attraction and the stars of this festival are the migrating Southern Right Whales.
This festival attracts up to 100,000 visitors where they experience the gorgeous whales, yummy food, good music and unmatched festive energy. The Hermanus Whale Festival is a good choice for the entire family as there are several other activities to engage in! Street parades, live shows, several kids entertainemt spots, music, local arts & crafts, a marine eco village and a unique whales and wheels classic car show. If for nothing, visit this phenomeal festival for the best land-based Whale watching destination in the world!
NATIONAL ARTS FESTIVAL -SOUTH AFRICA
This is the largest cultural event in all of Africa and is held from June to July in Graham-stone, South Africa. The streets of a usually cool and calm Graham-stone transforms into a burst of several vibrant activities! Also showcasing over 600 acts, from drama and stand-up comedy to music and art.
For the longevity of the National Arts Festival, performance venues are situated all around the town and every park or sports field turns into a flee market! Visit with the whole family!
ABU SIMBEL FESTIVAL - EGYPT
This festival is so good that it is held twice a year in Egypt! Every February and October, the Abu Simble Festival comes around and if you would love to know more about ancient Egypt, then this festival is for you! Expect traditional Nubian dance performances, live music and Egyptian street food!
The timing of the festival is significant to locals, as it is when the sun aligns with the entrance of the Abu Simble temples in both February and October.
MAITISONG FESTIVAL - BOTSWANA
Every April in Gaborone, Botswana the Maitisong Festival comes around. It has been running for up to 30 years and is a popular favourite with local and international visitors. The Maitisong Festivals main attraction is the music! You can expect everything from Afro-Pop, Gospel to Kwaito including several free and paid events. Come one, come all!
CALABAR FESTIVAL - NIGERIA
The Calabar Festival, also known as "The Biggest Street Party In Africa," is held throughout the month of December and has been the case since it started in 2004.
It is held in Cross River, Nigeria and was initiated in an effort to make Cross River the go-to tourist destination in Nigeria for locals and international visitors. The Calabar Festival is a cultural collage that richly showcases the Nigerian culture and local heritage. New activities are introduced every year. The festival has had different themes over the years which have included; "Ain't No Stopping Us" 2013 and "Climate Change" 2015