Africa is full of interesting festivals – music, cultural, ethnic, and gastronomic. Organizing your trip around one of these African Festivals is great way to travel to some of Africa’s best destinations and also a way to experience fascinating cultural events with people from every part of the world. Below is a list of interesting festivals that we think are worth checking; keep in mind this list is not exhaustive.
ABISSA – COTE D’ IVOIRE
Abissa is a colorful cultural festival celebrated in the city of Grand Bassam Ivory Coast. The event embraces dance, music, and the spiritual life of the Nzema people.During Abissa, this captivating colonial capital takes a life of its own. If you ever been to Brazil, Louisiana or any Caribbean carnivals this would feel similar yet completely different and authentic. Indeed because despite being a carnival where you have a showcasing of people wearing and displaying different flamboyant garments, this festival celebrates the culture and allows you to understand how the Akan protocols were established back in the days.
- Where: Grand Bassam, Cote D’Ivoire
- When: End of November beginning of October
- Website: Abissa
ASA BAAKO – GHANA
Asa Baako “ One dance” is a three days two nights event unlike any other in Africa. The event brings musicians, DJs and artists from all over the world coming together to create unforgettable memories. The joyful celebrations showcases live bands, beach parties and jungle parties. Don’t forget food , music and dancing are “au rendez vous”
- Where: Busua, Ghana
- When: 6th and 7th March 2015 – Busua Beach
- Website: Asa Baako
CALABAR FESTIVAL – NIGERIA
Calabar festival is a fantastic tourism and leisure event in West Africa. The thirty-two days event is full of colorful activities, food and great music. Close to one million people from around the world attend this wonderful and exciting festival. Full of different activities from seminars, awareness campaigns, theater performance to fashion and food fairs you would find plenty to enjoy.
- Where: Calabar, Nigeria
- Website: Calabar Festival
FESTIVAL DES GRILLADES – COTE D’IVOIRE
Festival de grillades (the meat festival) Is one of Ivory Coast most anticipated gastronomic festival. This wonderful celebration showcases different restaurants and caterers from all over the city serving succulent skewed meat, barbecue and other savor that you do not want to miss. This event is also accompanied with great music. This event brings together people from all ages and background.
- Where: Abidjan, Cote D’Ivoire
- Website: Festival des grillades
SAUTI ZA BUSARA – ZANZIBAR
Sauti Za Busara “Sounds of Wisdom” is definitely one of Africa’s best music and cultural events. This wonderful celebration held in the beautiful city of Stonetown showcases local music, theater and dance for six full days. You will find all kind of people from different backgrounds and ages who came to celebrate the Swahili culture. The festival involves delicious meat and lots of dancing.
- Where: StoneTown, Zanzibar
- When: February
- Website: Sauti Za Busar
CAPE TOWN INTERNATIONAL JAZZ FESTIVAL – SOUTH AFRICA
Africa’s biggest jazz festival is annually held in Cape Town. This two days event is very anticipated so make sure you buy your ticket in advance. This two-day event showcases over forty artists including Jazz legends as well as local musicians.
- Where: Cape Town, South Africa
- When: 27-28 March 2015
- Website: Cape Town Int. Jazz Festival
INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL OF THE SAHARA
Called the “camel festival” this festival attracts thousand of people from Tunisia and other Maghrebien countries every year. During the event, you can be sure to see camel marathons, arab horses, and bedouin marriages and many more activities. In the evening music and dance are “au rendez vous.”The main event is the poetry contest supervised by the desert poet that you definitely must attend.
- Where: Douz, Tunisia
PANAFEST – GHANA
Held every couple years, Panafest is a cultural event held in Ghana for Africans and people of African descent. The celebration promotes unity and the development of the African continent. Performances include music, poetry, drama, and theater among many other things.
- Where: Ghana
- Website: Panafest
LAKE OF STARS – MALAWI
Lake of Stars is a three days celebration held on the shore of Lake Malawi. The festival gathers more than 4000 people each year and showcases musicians from different music genre from Afropop, Reggae, folk to beat boxing.
- Where: Lake Malawi Shore, Malawi
- When: September 25-27 2015
- Website: Lake of Stars
SAINT LOUIS JAZZ FESTIVAL – SENEGAL
Saint Louis Jazz festival is held in the colorful town of Saint Louis Senegal. The festival attracts jazz legends from all over the world and it is a great way for jazz novices to get noticed. Guess what? You can also enjoy a tour of the Senegal River, which is part of the festival accommodation packages.
- Where: Saint Louis, Senegal
- When: May 20-25 2015
- Website: Saint Louis Jazz Festival