Africa is full of festivals, most of which are rooted in local traditions and celebrations. Here’s a list of some of the best African festivals in the world!
1. Desert Festival
The Desert Festival is held in the Sahara desert and it’s one of Africa’s most colorful festivals. The event takes place every January, with hundreds of thousands of people gathering to enjoy some music, dance and food.
The festival has been running since 2001 when it was first held on a beach near Marrakech in Morocco. Nowadays you can find it in different locations all over Morocco – from Agadir Beach (on Atlantic Coast) to Merzouga (near Algeria border).
The temperatures during this time can reach over 50 degrees Celsius so make sure you pack plenty of sunscreen!
2. Carnaval de Olinda
Carnaval is a festival that takes place before lent. It originated in Europe, but can be celebrated in many countries around the world. Carnaval is a celebration of freedom and fun, and it’s a time to celebrate the end of winter and the coming of spring.
The Carnaval de Olinda has been held since 1640 when it was first organized by African slaves who lived in Brazil at that time. These slaves wanted to honor their African roots so they created this festival where everyone could dress up as someone else or wear costumes made out of paper mache which are called fantasias here (fantasias).
3. Zanzibar International Film Festival
Zanzibar International Film Festival (ZIFF) is an annual film festival held in Zanzibar, Tanzania. It was founded in 2010 by the Goethe-Institut and the German Embassy in Tanzania.
The ZIFF consists of two parts: The International Film Competition and The Panorama Section which shows films from all over Africa as well as Europe and other parts of the world.
4. Marrakech Folk Festival
The Marrakech Folk Festival is a festival of traditional music, dance, and crafts. It is held annually in Marrakech, Morocco. The festival was established in 2003 by the International Council for Traditional Music (ICTM).
The festival showcases all forms of traditional music from across Africa and beyond.
5. Pilgrimage Music And Cultural Festival
The Pilgrimage Music And Cultural Festival is held every year on the first weekend of August. It’s held on the grounds of the Shrine of Our Lady of Peace, a Marian shrine located in Nkongsamba, Cameroon. People from all over Africa and even Europe come to attend this festival which features musical performances and cultural events.
The main attraction is a concert organized by Nigerian artistes like Dele Sosimi, Seun Kuti and others who perform at night time with fireworks displays lighting up their performance area. Other highlights include traditional dancing competitions as well as exhibitions showcasing local artwork or handicrafts made by artists from different regions across Cameroon
6. Up the Creek Comedy and Arts Festival
The Up the Creek Comedy and Arts Festival is held annually in June in the town of Bundaberg, Queensland. It first took place in 2013 and has grown to become one of Australia’s most popular comedy festivals.
Over a weekend, this festival brings together comedians, musicians, poets and artists from across Australia and overseas for a highly entertaining celebration of all things funny. The festival also supports a good cause: all proceeds go towards helping fund research for cancer treatment at the nearby Bundaberg Hospital Foundation (which was established by comedian Tim Minchin).
7. Dakar Jazz Festival
The Dakar Jazz Festival is an annual music festival in Dakar, Senegal. It is held in January and was established in 1960. It is one of the largest music festivals in West Africa, with an attendance of 50,000 people per day.
The festival features performances by international artists as well as local musicians. The main venue for concerts is Le Parc de l’Independence (Independence Park), but other outdoor stages are also used throughout the city including La Place de l’Obelisque (Obelisk Square).
8. The Cape Town Minstrel Carnival
The Cape Town Minstrel Carnival is an annual celebration of the city’s history and culture. It was first held in 1812 and has been held annually since 1816, making it one of the oldest festivals in South Africa. The event takes place on the first Saturday in August at Green Point Stadium, where thousands gather to watch live music performances by local artists while they enjoy some traditional foods such as boerewors (South African sausage) and pap (maize porridge).
9. Hargeisa International Book Fair (HIBF)
- Hargeisa International Book Fair (HIBF)
The Hargeisa International Book Fair is an annual book fair held in Hargeisa, Somaliland. It is the largest book fair in East Africa and the Horn of Africa. Its main objective is to promote reading culture among all people of Somaliland by bringing together writers, poets, artists and publishers from all over the world to share their experience with readers from different backgrounds who are interested in learning more about writing skills or just want to enjoy good books at affordable prices.
10. Lesotho National Arts and Culture Festival (LENAFEST)
Lesotho National Arts and Culture Festival (LENAFEST) is an annual festival held in Maseru, Lesotho. The festival showcases the best of Lesotho’s performing arts, including drama, music and dance. LENAFEST also serves as a platform for local artists to showcase their work to the world at large.
The event is organized by Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA) under the Ministry of Youth, Sport & Culture with assistance from UNICEF Lesotho office and other partners such as Radio Free Africa (RFA), UNESCO Maseru Office etc…
11. The Durban International Jazz Festival (Durban Summertime)
The Durban International Jazz Festival (Durban Summertime) is a four-day festival of music, dance and culture held annually in January. It was started in 1999 as part of the celebrations for the new millennium.
The festival takes place at various venues across Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa including Moses Mabhida Stadium and Kings Park Stadium as well as smaller venues such as Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre (IALICC).
12. Ostrich Feather Carnival – Swakopmund, Namibia
The Ostrich Feather Carnival is held every year in August in Swakopmund, Namibia. It’s a celebration of the ostrich industry and a chance for locals to showcase their feathers.
The festival includes a parade featuring hundreds of people dressed up as ostriches and other animals that have feathers. There are also fashion shows where participants strut down the catwalk with their elaborate costumes made from ostrich feathers.
In addition to these events, there is also an annual barbecue where you can sample delicious ostrich meat!
13.Nairobi Literature Festival (NLOFF) in Kenya / Nairobi Music & Arts Festivals 2020-2023 at KICC and other venues around Nairobi.
- Nairobi International Theatre Festival (NITF) in Kenya
The annual NITF is one of the most sought-after theatre festivals in Africa, attracting thousands of people from across the continent and beyond. The three-day event features performances by some of Kenya’s best theatre companies, as well as international stars such as Peter Brook and his troupe La Troupe du Theatre de Bouffes du Nord. The festival also hosts panel discussions with industry experts who discuss current issues facing the world of performing arts including censorship, gender equality onstage and offstage as well as racism within Kenyan society
These are just some of the most colorful festivals in Africa. There are many more to explore!