Interesting Festivals in Africa

The next time you contemplate travelling on a safari, perhaps you might like to take in a festival, such as a wine festival in the Cape, South Africa or a music and cultural festival in Mozambique, or perhaps the Lamu festival in Kenya whilst ending your safari at a beautiful beach lodge.

Here is our pick of the best of the rest!

Ethiopia – Festival of the Timkat – January or Meskel – September
Religion forms such a fundamental part of Ethiopian culture. There are several religious festivals celebrated throughout the year, NFT Monkey but in particular, two are worth seeing.

The first is Meskel – which is celebrated throughout the country but mainly seen in Addis Ababa, Gondor, and Lalibela. This is a celebration of dancing and feasting which culminates in a massive bonfire, more commonly known as a Damera in the Ethiopian language. Meskel commemorates the discovery of the True Cross on which Christ was crucified in the 4th century by Empress Helena, mother of Constantine the Great.

The second is Timkat, which is the greatest colourful festival of Orthodox Christians in Ethiopia and takes place in Lalibela and in Gondor. It celebrates the Baptism of Christ in the River Jordan by John the Baptist. Timkat is a three-day affair and all the ceremonies are conducted with great pomp and ceremony. The eve of Timkat is called Ketera. This is when the Tabots of each church are carried out in procession to a river or pool of water where the next day’s celebration will take place.

Morocco – Marrakech Biennale – February / March
World class artists from all over the world come together to celebrate creativity in a city that has been the focus of artistic exploration for centuries. There are so many beautiful boutique hotels and riads to stay in, charteracatamaraninthebvi and perhaps take a foray into the Atlas mountains or take an afternoon’s cookery course?

Kenya – Lamu Cultural Festival and dhow boat race – November
This is a celebration of both the past and the future, and the beliefs and traditions that are the heart and soul of the Lamu community. Most visitors to the island fall in love with this relaxed and peaceful lifestyle, and visiting during the Lamu Cultural Festival is a chance to experience Lamu life at its most exuberant and joyous.

Several competitions and races are staged during this week long festival. These events are designed to each encourage local skills or practices that are central to Lamu life.

These include traditional Swahili poetry, Henna painting, Bao competitions, etc. Bao is probably the oldest known game in human history, with archaeological evidence suggesting that the game has been played throughout Africa and the Middle East for thousands of years. In order to preserve and encourage the art of dhow sailing, now threatened by increasing availability of engines and prefabricated boats, a dhow race is also held. The town’s finest dhows are selected to compete, and race under sail through a complicated series of buoys, combining speed with elaborate tacking and manoeuvring skill. We have some beautiful places to stay in Lamu – from Robinson Crusoe retreats with plenty of water sports, to magnificent, private villas which come complete with your own staff, boat, and skipper, to gorgeous boutique hotels.

Malawi – Festival of Stars – September
This is now considered one of the best musical festivals in Africa. The festival takes place over three days, set on the palm fringed shores of one of Africa’s largest lakes and featuring artists from Malawi, Africa and the rest of the world. There is also comedy and poetry on other stages. Malawi has come such a long way in terms of its wildlife and there are fabulous wildlife reserves in the south and north of the country and of course, so many very beautiful places to stay at on Lake Malawi herself.

Seychelles – Week of Creole – October
The Creole Festival is a week-long, annual event that commemorates the diverse cultural aspects of Creole life, including music, dance, food, art, language, bostonhaikusociety and other traditions. There are some beautiful Seychelles lodges, hotels, and villas that you can stay in whilst visiting the festival, or perhaps combine it with a private catamaran sailing around the islands.


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