Category: West Africa

Country Highlight: LIBERIA

Posted By : Travel Africa Movement/ 28 0

Liberia is the 39th largest African country and its capital was named after a US president. Learn more fun facts about this unique country.

Fast Facts:

1. It is located in West Africa and is the 39th largest country on the continent.

2. Its capital and largest city is Monrovia. It was named after US president James Monroe.

3. It began as a settlement of the American Colonization Society, which believed freed Black slaves would face better chances for freedom and prosperity in Africa. From 1822 forward, more than 18,000 Afro-Caribbeans and Black Americans were relocated there.

4. Liberia self-proclaimed independence from the US in 1847 and is the only African republic to have gained independence without revolt from any other power. It is the world’s second oldest Black republic, after Haiti.

5. Liberia’s flag closely resembles the American flag, reflecting the historical ties of Liberia and the USA.

6. Major languages: English (official), Liberian English, and more than 30 indigenous languages

7. Major ethnic groups: Kpelle (20%), Bassa (13%), Grebo (10%), Gio (8%), Mano (8%), Kru (6%), Lorma (5%), Kissi (5%), Gola (4%), Krahn (4%), Vai (4%), Mandingo (3%), Gbandi (3%)

8. Major religions: Christian (86%), Muslim (12%), Traditional and other (1%), none (1%)

9. Mount Wuteve is the country’s highest point at 1,440 m (4,720 ft) and 3 countries can be seen from its summit (Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea).

10. Much of the country is covered by rainforest and its Upper Guinea forests are one of the world’s priority biodiversity hotspots.

11. Sapo National Park is its largest protected reserve, home to 700 bird species and 125 mammal species, including the rare and endangered pygmy hippopotamus.

12. The Firestone Rubber Plantation, present in Liberia since 1826, is the world’s largest natural rubber operation. Though it has been dogged by controversy, unofficial tours are typically obliged.

13. Tourism is a small industry. Things to do include beaches, national parks, hiking, surfing, deep-sea fishing, Kpatawee Waterfalls, Lake Piso, Monkey Island, and urban attractions in the capital, including Waterside Market, Centennial Pavilion, Liberian National Museum, the defunct Hotel Ducor, JJ Roberts Monument, Providence Island, Rivoli Cinema, the Masonic Temple, the Executive Mansion, and great bars, clubs and restaurants.

Photo credit: mapsof.net
Video credit: Unravel Travel
Video credit: Displore

Country Highlight: GUINEA-BISSAU

Posted By : Travel Africa Movement/ 35 0

Guinea-Bissau is the 13th smallest country in Africa, with a group of 88 beautiful islands off its coast. Learn more fun facts about this country.

Fast Facts:

1. It is located in West Africa and is the 13th smallest county on the continent.

2. Its capital and largest city is Bissau.

3. Major languages: Portuguese (official), Creole (national), Fula, Balanta, Mandinka

4. Major ethnic groups:  Fula (29%), Balanta (23%), Mandinka (15%),  Papel (9%), Manjaca (8%)

5. Major religions: Islam (45%), Traditional religions (31%), Christianity (22%), No religion (2%)

6. Independence from Portugal was unilaterally declared on September 24, 1973. Since independence, Guinea-Bissau has experienced considerable political and military upheaval.

7. The people are called Bissau-Guineans.

8. Tourism is a small industry and tourists are few and far between. But for the adventurous, this tropical country offers national parks and wildlife.

9. The Bijagos Archipelago is a beautiful group of 88 islands off the coast. This UNESCO World Heritage Biosphere reserve offers excellent swimming, diving and fishing, as well as opportunities to see pygmy hippos, sharks, manatees, turtles, and a myriad of migratory birds.

10. Things to see include: Forests of Jemberem, Cantanhez Natural Park, Orango National Park, Varela Beach, the Portuguese quarter, Cathedral, São José da Amura Fort, Presidential Palace, and Bandim Market in Bissau, and the ruins of Boloma, the former capital.

11. Carnival is celebrated annually in February or early March, with vibrant street processions with displays of traditional grab, dancing and drumming.

12. Gumbe, a primarily vocal and percussive song tradition using slit drums and calabashes, is the most popular form of music in Guinea-Bissau.

Video credit: Top Tourist Places

Video credit: Consulmar Bissau
Video credit: Albano Barai

Country Highlight: GUINEA (aka Guinea-Conakry)

Posted By : Travel Africa Movement/ 48 0

Guinea is the 31st largest country in Africa and 35% of its land is protected for wildlife and conservation. Learn more fun facts about this beautiful country.

Fast Facts:

1. It is located in West Africa and is the 31st largest country on the continent.

2. Its capital and largest city is Conakry.

3. Major languages: French (official), Pulaar (most widely spoken), Mandinka, Susu

4. Major ethnic groups: Fula (40%), Mandinka (25%), Susu (18%)

5. Major religions: Islam (85%), Christianity (8%), Indigenous and other religions (7%)

6. It became a sovereign and independent nation in October 1958, after a referendum and withdrawal by France.

7. It is the world’s second largest producer of bauxite and has rich deposits of diamonds and gold.

8. Football (soccer) is the most popular sport in Guinea.

9. About 35% of the country is protected for conservation and wildlife. Protected areas include: Badiar National Park, National Park of Upper Niger, Mount Nimba Strict Nature Reserve, Nyalama Classified Forest, and Ziami Massif.

10. It is an off the beaten path location and tourism infrastructure is limited. But while it can be difficult to traverse, beautiful landscapes await nature lovers ready for the challenge.

11. Tourist attractions include the beaches at Îles de Los and Cape Verga, the source of the Niger River, hiking, rainforests, and wildlife in the Fouta Djalon highlands, Kakimbon Caves, and multiple waterfalls, including La Cascades de La Soumba, Le Voile de la Mariée, Kambadaga Falls, and Kinkon Falls.

12. Things to see and do in the capital include: Madina Market, Niger Market, Conakry Botanical Gardens, Sainte-Marie Cathedral, Conakry Grand Mosque, Camp Boiro, Sandervalia National Museum, Palais du Peuple, Presidential Palace, French cafes and patisseries, street performances, and a vibrant nightlife.

Photo credit: ontheworldmap.com
Video credit: Top Tourist Places
Video credit: AfriLove

Country Highlight: GHANA

Posted By : Travel Africa Movement/ 65 0

Ghana is Africa’s 32nd largest country and its biggest gold producer. Learn more fun facts about this interesting country.

Fast Facts:

1. It is located in West Africa and is the 32nd largest country on the continent.                                                                                                              

2. Its capital and largest city is Accra.

3. It has about 50 indigenous languages. Major languages: English (official), Twi, Ewe, Ga, Dagaare, Dagbani.

4. It has more than 100 ethnic groups and sub-groups. Major ethnic groups: Akans (48%), Mole-Dagbon (17%), Ewe (14%), Ga-Adangbe (7%), Gurma (6%)

5. Major religions: Christianity (69%), Islam (16%), Traditional and other religions (9%), None (6%)

6. On March 6, 1957, Ghana became the first sub-Saharan African nation to become independent of European colonization (United Kingdom). This date is an official public holiday celebrated annually.

7. Ghana’s current flag, with red, gold, green stripes and a center black star, became the new flag at independence. The red represents the blood that was shed towards independence, the gold represents the mineral wealth, the green symbolizes the rich grasslands, and the black star symbolizes the Ghanaian people and African emancipation.

8.  During the transatlantic slave trade, Ghana was the center of trade with the British and it has about 40 coastal fortresses which housed captured African slaves before their transport to the Americas. The most well-known and visited are Elmina and Cape Coast Castles.

9. It is Africa’s biggest gold producer and 2nd largest cocoa producer.

10. It is known for its beautiful handmade textiles, including Kente, Adinkra, Batik and Ankara cloths.

11. Lake Volta, the world largest manmade lake, covers nearly 4% of Ghana’s total land area.

12. It is ranked as Africa’s 2nd most peaceful country by the Global Peace Index .

13. It has numerous tourist attractions, including Independence Square and Arch, the W.E.B. DuBois Center, the National Museum, the National Theater, Makola Market, Aburi Gardens, Manhiya Palace, Kumasi National Cultural Center, Wli Waterfalls, Kakum National Park, Mole National Park, Nzulezo stilt village, kente weaving villages, monkey sanctuaries, and beaches.

Photo credit: louisville.edu
Video credit: Visit Ghana
Video credit: Top Tourist Places

Country Highlight: THE GAMBIA

Posted By : Travel Africa Movement/ 64 0

The Gambia is the smallest country on the African mainland, nicknamed the Smiling Coast due to its friendly people. Learn more fun facts about this country.

Fast Facts:

1. It is located in West Africa and is the smallest country on the African mainland.

2. Its capital is Banjul. Its largest city is Serekunda.

3. It is surrounded by the country of Senegal, except on its western coast. The peculiar shape and size is the result of territorial compromises made during colonization by Great Britain, which ruled the lower Gambia River, and France, which ruled Senegal.

4. Major languages: English (official), Mandinka, Fula, Wolof, Serer, Jola

5. Major ethnic groups: Mandinka (34%), Fula (24%), Wolof (15%), Jola (11%), Serahuli (8%)

6. Major religions: Islam (95%), Christianity (4%), Indigenous and other beliefs (1%)

7. It gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1965.

8. The name “Gambia” is derived from the Mandinka term Kambra/Kambaa meaning Gambia river.

9. Its called the “Smiling Coast” due to the smiling faces and warm nature of the people.

10. The national and most popular sport is wrestling.          

11. It’s home to Jufureh, the reputed ancestral village of Kunta Kinte, the main character in Alex Haley’s well-known novel Roots.

12. The Stone Circles of Senegambia are a UNESCO World Heritage site, estimated to date between 3rd century BC and 16th century AD. The site consists of four large groups of stone circles that represent a concentration of over 1,000 monuments in a 62-mile wide long band along the River Gambia.

13. Tourist attractions include markets, beach resorts, Abuko Nature Reserve, James Island and the village of Jufureh, Kachikally Crocodile Pool, Makasutu Culture Forest, Gambia River National Park, Chimpanzee Rehabilitation Project.

Photo credit: charliedoggett.net
Video credit: Top Tourist Places
Video credit: Afrilove
Video credit: Sweet Sour Travel

Country Highlight: CÔTE D’IVOIRE (aka IVORY COAST)

Posted By : Travel Africa Movement/ 131 0

Côte D’Ivoire is Africa’s 28th largest country and it has the 3rd largest French speaking population in world. Learn more fun facts about this vibrant country.

Fast Facts:

1. It’s located in West Africa and is the 28th largest country in Africa.

2. Its political capital is Yamoussoukro, while its economic capital and largest city is Abidjan.

3. It has more than 60 ethnic groups. Major ethnic groups include: Akan (29%), Voltaique or Gur (16%), Northern Mande (15%), Kru (9)%, Southern Mande (7%)

4. Major languages: French (official), Dioula, Baule, Dan, Anyin, Senari

5. Major religions: Islam (40%), Christianity (34%), Traditional and Indigenous religions (25%), other religions (1%)

6. It was colonized by France in 1843 and gained independence in 1960.

7. It’s had 2 civil wars post-independence. The first was a 5-year conflict, between 2002 and 2007, largely over religious tensions. The second was a 5-month conflict, between 2010 and 2011, over the disputed presidential election.

8. Sixty percent of the population is under age 25.

9. It is the world’s largest producer and exporter of cocoa beans.

10. It has the world’s 3rd largest French speaking population.

11. The Basilica of Our Lady of Peace, located in Yamoussoukro, is the largest church in the world.

12. It has 3 national parks on the UNESCO World Heritage List: Mount Nimba Strict Nature Reserve; Taï National Park, home of 11 monkey species; and Comoe National Park, West Africa’s largest protected area.

13. Abidjan is a cosmopolitan city and its Plateau area has been called the “Manhattan of Africa” because of its gleaming skyscrapers and manicured gardens.

14. The beach resorts of San Pedro, Assinie, and Grand Bassam are popular with vacationers.

15. Côte D’Ivoire’s tourism industry is rapidly increasing, having seen a near ten-fold increase between 2010 and 2020. Attractions include beaches, rainforests, wildlife safaris, mountains, waterfalls, local culture, art markets, and a vibrant nightlife.

Photo credit: ontheworldmap.com
Video credit: Costa D’Avorio Tourisme
Video credit: Displore
Video credit: April Nego

Country Highlight: CAPE VERDE

Posted By : Travel Africa Movement/ 111 0

Cape Verde is Africa’s 5th smallest country and one of its 6 island nations. Learn more fun facts about this beautiful country.

Fun Facts:

1. It’s an island nation comprised of 10 islands in the Atlantic Ocean, located about 350 miles west of Senegal. The 10 islands are: Santiago, Sal, Boa Vista, Santo Antão, São Vicente, São Nicolau, Santa Luzia, Maio, Fogo, and Brava.

2. It’s the 5th smallest nation in Africa and the 30th smallest in the world.

3. Its capital and largest city is Praia on the main island of Santiago.

4. More than half of Cape Verde’s population lives on Santiago Island.

5. Major languages: Portuguese and Cape Verdean Creole (aka Kriolu).

6. Major religions: Christianity (95%), Islam (2%), Traditional and other religions (2%)

7. Most of the population is Creole, descending from the mixture of European settlers and African slaves who were brought to the islands to work on Portuguese plantations.

8. It gained its independence from Portugal in July 1975.

9. More Cape Verdeans live abroad (nearly 1 million) than in the country itself (about 500,000).

10. The national music is the Morna, typically sung in Kriolu. Cesária Évora, known as the Queen of Morna, was the best-known Cape Verdean singer in the world. She passed in 2011 but left a big legacy.

11. Cape Verde has a spectacular Carnival held annually on Shrove Tuesday. While all of the islands celebrate, the most popular one is in Mindelo on São Vicente island.

12. Tourism is fast becoming one of Cape Verde’s biggest sectors. Visitors are drawn to the variety of landscapes and activities, including white and black sand beaches, water sports, mountain trekking, hiking, historical sites and architecture, street art, music, local cuisine and wines, and even an active volcano.

Photo credit: researchgate.net
Video credit: Top Tourist Places
Video credit: Roggy Douglas

Country Highlight: BURKINA FASO

Posted By : Travel Africa Movement/ 115 0

Burkina Faso is the 29th largest country in Africa and its name means “land of the honest people”. Learn more fun facts about this fascinating country.

Fun Facts:

1. It’s located in West Africa and is the 29th largest African country.

2. The capital and largest city is Ougadougou (pronounced wa – gha – doo – goo).

3. It is landlocked and surrounded by six other countries.

4. It is the 5th largest gold producer in Africa. Despite its significant gold reserves, it’s one of the poorer countries on the continent.

5. Major languages: French (official), Mossi, Fula

6. Ethnicity/Race: Mossi (52%), Fulani (8%), Gurma (7%), Bobo (5%), Senufo (5%), Gurunsi (5%)

7. Major Religions: Islam (61%), Christianity (23%), Traditional African Religions (15%)

8. It gained independence from France in August 1960. During colonization, it was known as Upper Volta.

9. Burkina Faso means “the land of honest people”. Thomas Sankara, one of Africa’s most famous revolutionaries and the president from 1983 to 1987, gave the country its name in 1984.

10. Its citizens are known as Burkinabé.

11. There is a rich traditional art and music scene in Burkina Faso, with lots of handmade crafts for sale, as well as reggae, salsa, soukous and traditional orchestras and bands playing in both well-known and hidden venues.

12. Popular attractions in Ougadougou include the Ethnography Museum, National Museum, Snake Museum, Manega Museum, Loango Sculpture Park, Ziniare Wildlife Park, Grand Market, Artisinal Village, Grand Mosque, Cathedral, and the Moro-Naba ceremony at the Moro-Naba Palace at 6:00 am every Friday.

13. Tourism infrastructure is somewhat limited, but the real gems are found in the remote areas, outside of the cities: mudbrick mosques in Bani and Bobo-Dioulasso, hand painted village of Tiébélé, Sindou Peaks in Sindou, Karfiguéla Falls near Banfora, Loropeni Ruins, national parks and wildlife reserves, and of course, the people and culture. The Burkinabé are known for being friendly and welcoming.

Photo credit: myraswells.org
Video credit: Top Tourist Places
Tiebele village

What a pretty village in Burkina Faso, Africa!

Posted by BrightVibes on Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Country Highlight: BENIN

Posted By : Travel Africa Movement/ 132 0

Benin is the 17th smallest country in Africa and the birthplace of Voodoo. Learn more fun facts about this beautiful country.

Fun Facts:

1. It’s located in West Africa and is the 17th smallest country in Africa.

2. Porto Novo is its capital, but Cotonou is its largest city.

3. It is the birthplace of Vodun (voodoo). Voodoo temples, roadside fetishes, and fetish markets are found throughout the country, but the best known is the skull and skin fetish market in the Grande Marche du Dantopka in Cotonou.

4. Ouidah, a town on the central coast, is home to the Vodun Festival, held annually on January 10th.

5. Major languages: French, Fon, Bariba, Yoruba and Dendi

6. Ethnicity/Race: Fon (40%), Aja (15%), and Yoruba (12%) in the south and Bariba (9%), Somba (8%), and Fulbe (6%) in the north.

7. Major religions: Catholicism (27%), Islam (24%), Vodun (17%)

8. Benin gained independence from France in 1960.

9. Present day Benin was the site of Dahomey, a prominent West African kingdom that rose in the 15th century.

10. Abomey was the capital of the Dahomey kingdom. Today, its ruined temples and royal palaces are a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the country’s top tourist attractions.

11. The Dahomey Agodojie (also known as the Dahomey Amazons), an all-female military army, were known for their heroism and mercilessness, and were prominent slave catchers. (The Dora Milaje, from the Marvel movie Black Panther, were partially based upon the Agodojie)

12. Due to the prevalence of the transatlantic slave trade (more than 2 million slaves shipped to the Americas), the region became known as the Slave Coast.

13. The Slave Route (Route des Esclaves) in Ouidah, terminating at the beachside Point of No Return monument, is a memorial to those who were kidnapped, sold, and shipped to the Americas.

14. Tourism in Benin largely centers around its great beaches, wildlife, culture and history.

Photo credit: nsaneforums.com
Video credit: Top Tourist Places
Photo credit: AFP News Agency

Month by Month Guide to Africa’s Best Festivals

Posted By : Travel Africa Movement/ 1709 0

With 54 countries and island nations, there’s never a shortage of things to do in Africa. Here are some its best festivals.

With 54 countries and island nations, there’s never a shortage of things to do on the African continent. Festivals provide a great opportunity to experience the diverse culture, music and food, while also benefiting the local economies. Here are some of the best ones you should consider attending.

JANUARY

The Equatorial Guinea Bodypainting Festival ~ Equatorial Guinea

The Equatorial Guinea Bodypainting Festival is one of the newest festivals on the continent, having only been launched in 2019. But it’s already gaining fans and spurring tourism to the only Spanish-speaking country in Africa. The festival includes tours, eco-adventures, and art workshops on mask making, pole dancing, and creative drawing, among others. Of course, the festival highlight is the amazing body paint presentations.

Timkat Festival ~ Ethiopia

Timkat is Ethiopian Epiphany Day, a celebration of the baptism of Jesus Christ, occurring across the country, but mainly in Lalibela, Gondar, and Addis Ababa. The festival happens every year on January 19 (January 20 in leap years), with preparations the day before (ketera) and three days of colorful processions, dance, music, prayer and a ritual baptismal re-enactment. This is one of the major religious festivals in Ethiopia and an excellent way to immerse oneself in Ethiopian history and culture. 

The Voodoo Festival ~ Benin

The Voodoo Festival is a celebration of the voodoo religion that takes place every year on January 10th  in Ouidah, Benin. This popular festival draws fetish priests, adepts, traditional chiefs and onlookers from across the globe. There are ritual sacrifices, dancing, drinking and drumming. Devotees assume the identity of gods, dressing up and transforming into that god as they do, with the realm of the magical close at hand. 

Video credit: Search for Uhuru

FEBRUARY

Abu Simbel Sun Festival ~ Egypt

The Abu Simbel temples are two massive rock temples built as a monument to Pharaoh Ramesses II and his queen Nefertari and to commemorate his victory at the Battle of Kadesh. The temples remain in darkness all year, except for two occasions on February 22 and October 22, when a stream of natural sunlight illuminates the entire complex. Tourists come from around the globe to see this solar phenomenon and architectural marvel, and to enjoy music, dance, food, drinking, market shopping and more. 

Carnival ~ Cape Verde

Carnival is celebrated on all 10 islands, but the biggest and liveliest celebrations happen in Mindelo on Sao Vicente island. The dates change each year, but the week leading up to Shrove Tuesday (February 25 in 2020) is filled with street parties and other events, culminating with the main parade complete with samba dancing, singing, live music, elaborate floats, and colorful costumes. Come ready to have fun because the celebrations start early in the morning and go on all day.

Video credit: Arpadinho Day and Night

Sauti za Busara ~ Zanzibar, Tanzania

This 4-day music festival is held every February and showcases African music from across the continent. Highlights of Sauti za Busara include 400+ live musicians, a carnival parade, impromptu jam sessions and after parties, with a backdrop of the beautiful beach views and island breezes of Stone Town. 

MARCH

Bouake Carnival ~ Cote d’Ivoire

Bouake Carnival is the Ivorian version of Mardi Gras. This weeklong celebration of life and friendship is held in late March in Bouake, the second largest city in Cote d’ivoire. Tourists and locals join together to enjoy great music, eat traditional foods, explore cultural markets, attend lively street parties and parades, and hear music from local artists and musicians from all over the continent of Africa.

Video credit: Hawkeye Production

Cape Town International Jazz Festival ~ South Africa

Touted as Africa’s Grandest Gathering, Cape Town Jazz Festival is one of the biggest jazz festivals on the continent. This 2-day festival is hosted in the beautiful Cape Town and known for its all-star lineup of local and international acts.

APRIL

Festival of Urban Music of Anoumabo (FEMUA) ~ Cote d’Ivoire

This annual music festival is a party with a purpose – the proceeds are used to build schools and hospitals across the country. Started by Salif “Asalfo” Traoré, singer of the Ivorian band, Magic System, as a way to give back to the Anoumabo neighborhood, this celebration has morphed from a neighborhood party to a major festival, drawing crowds of more than 100,000 people to Abidjan. FEMUA features a variety of Ivorian and Pan African music and has an annual theme aimed at spurring social awareness and change. Be warned — the festival starts late and typically runs until 5:00 am.

Harare International Festival of the Arts  ~ Zimbabwe

The Harare International Festival of the Arts is one of Africa’s largest art and cultural festivals, held in Zimbabwe’s capital city, Harare. The 6-day festival and workshop program showcases Zimbabwean, regional and international arts and culture with dance, music, circus, street performances, fashion, spoken word, theater and visual arts. 

MAY

Azgo Festival ~ Mozambique

The Azgo Festival is a contemporary celebration of arts and culture, with a strong focus on artists from Mozambique and the entire African continent. The four-day festival includes live music, films, dance, artistic and cultural development workshops and gourmet street food vendors.

Bush Fire Festival ~ eSwatini (formerly Swaziland)

One of Africa’s most popular events, Bush Fire is an annual 3-day festival which showcases music, art and culture from all over the African continent. Through its mantra “Bring Your Fire”, Bushfire encourages creative expression and social change, and invites everyone to contribute and engage through a program of creative workshops, discussions, art exhibitions and guest speakers. 

Video credit: MTN Bushfire Festival

La Biennale de L’Art Africain Contemporain/Dak’Art ~ Senegal

La Biennale de L’Art Africain Contemporain, commonly known as Dak’Art, is a month-long contemporary arts festival held every two years in Senegal’s capital of Dakar. The festival features art exhibitions with a variety of national and international artists, as well as in situ mural and sculpture creations, lectures, films, live performances, African culinary presentations, and more. The next edition of Dak’Art is in 2020.

Saint-Louis Jazz Festival ~ Senegal

Held in the former French capital of Saint-Louis, the renowned Saint-Louis Jazz Festival happens annually in May and attracts local and international jazz greats. The 5-day festival is in its 28th year and attracts close to 100,000 music lovers from around the world.

Windhoek Annual Cultural Festival ~ Namibia

The Windhoek Annual Cultural Festival is a new festival, which seeks to promote Namibian cultural diversity and provide a platform for upcoming artists and entrepreneurs to exhibit and promote their businesses. Participants celebrate their cultural backgrounds through traditional dress, dance performances and food. Additional activities include a battle of DJs, choir competition, battle of chefs, eating competition and talent show.

Video credit: Southgate Films

JUNE

Fes Festival of World Sacred Music ~ Morocco

The Fes Festival of World Sacred Music is 10-day celebration held in Fes, in northern Morocco. The festival advocates music as a means of promoting dialogue and harmony between civilizations and is a combination of concerts, workshops and discussions on climate change, human and civil rights, social justice and other important issues.

Jazzablanca ~ Morocco

Jazzablanca is an international jazz festival held yearly in Casablanca, Morocco’s largest city. The 9-day festival features local and international artists with a mix of famous and up-and-coming jazz, pop, rock, blues and funk. Food and fashion workshops are also held.

JULY

Zanzibar International Film Festival ~ Zanzibar, Tanzania

The Zanzibar International Film Festival (ZIFF), also known as Festival of the Dhow Countries, is an annual 10-day film festival held on Zanzibar island. ZIFF includes workshops and screenings of African films in various genres, including African Animation, TV series and Web series.

Panafest ~ Ghana

The Pan African Historical Theatre Festival, commonly known as Panafest, is a cultural festival held every two years for Africans and people of African descent. The festival is intended to bring together Africans on the continent and in the Diaspora around the issues raised by the transatlantic slave trade. The two-week festival includes a variety of cultural events, performance arts, dance and music workshops, speaking colloquiums, and tributes to the ancestors. The next Panafest is in 2021. 

AUGUST

Chale Wote Street Art Festival ~ Ghana

Chale Wote has quickly become one of West Africa’s biggest and most popular events, with more than 100,000 attendees and 200 Ghanaian and international artists participating. The 10-day street festival includes street painting, graffiti murals, photo exhibitions, live street performances, extreme sports, African cinema, street boxing, a fashion parade, a music block party, design labs and more. 

Gaborone International Music and Culture Week (GIMC) ~ Botswana

GIMC is a weeklong annual festival that celebrates the city of Gaborone through music, theatre, comedy, poetry, fashion and other cultural activities. Performers include local, regional and international artists.

SEPTEMBER

Lake of Stars Festival ~ Malawi

Lake of Stars is an annual 3-day international music festival held on the shores of Lake Malawi, the third largest lake in Africa. The activities include music, talks, poetry, theater, film, art and wellness activities from Malawi and across the globe. On-site camping is available and encouraged. The festival is on hiatus for 2020, but is expected to return in 2021. 

Nyege Nyege Festival ~ Uganda

Held on the shores of the Nile River, the 4-day Nyege Nyege festival is one of the biggest underground music festivals in East Africa. Nyege Nyege is a Swahili word meaning an uncontrollable urge to move, shake, or dance and you’ll do just that at this non-stop party and celebration of Ugandan and African culture. Nyege Nyege showcases an eclectic mix of music genres from Africans and the diaspora, including electronic music, Ugandan dancehall, Balani (Mali), Kweito (South Africa), Kuduro (Angola), Cumbia (South America) and more.  

OCTOBER

Felabration ~ Nigeria

Felabration is an annual music and arts festival commemorating the life of Fela Kuti, a Nigerian musician and human rights activist known for pioneering the afrobeat music genre. The weeklong celebration includes a wide range of activities, including debates, symposiums, afrobics dance competitions, art exhibitions and competitions, and music concerts.

NOVEMBER

Mombasa Carnival ~ Kenya

The Mombasa Carnival is one of Kenya’s biggest and most popular festivals, held every year in November. This lively street party revolves around two parades, which converge on Moi Avenue and display Mombasa’s diverse cultures with an array of floats, traditional dress, music concerts, and dance. A mix of traditional and contemporary artists join the celebration.

DECEMBER

Afrochella ~ Ghana

Afrochella is Africa’s answer to America’s Coachella. This annual one-day festival seeks to highlight the thriving talent from and within Africa and features African music, culture, art, fashion and food. Related happenings, including panel discussions, charity events, and parties, are held the week of the festival.

Afropunk ~ South Africa

Afropunk is an annual alternative arts festival that includes live music, film, fashion, and art produced by black artists. The festival debuted in Brooklyn, New York and has since expanded to locations across the globe, including Johannesburg, South Africa. The two-day Afropunk Joburg features live concerts, panel conversations, battle of the bands, and food and craft markets. 

Calabar Carnival ~ Nigeria

Called Africa’s biggest street party, the Calabar Carnival takes place the entire month of December in the city of Calabar in southeastern Nigeria. It attracts more than 2 million revelers and has participants from 25 countries. The festivities include street parades, battle of the bands, concerts, art shows, street parties, food competitions, fashion shows, sporting events and non-stop parties. Carnival week, the final week between Christmas and New Year, is when most of the highlights occur. 

Video credit: Essence of Mae

Victoria Falls Carnival ~ Zimbabwe

The Victoria Falls Carnival is a 3-day blowout party held annually at the end of December. The party starts on Day One with a Carnival train ride and secret bush party. Day Two features an electric safari concert with the best live house, African, indie and electro-pop music. The party culminates on New Year’s Eve, with a concert and year-end countdown complete with fire breathers, traditional dancers, and a host of African music artists. All of the fun is held in the backdrop of Victoria Falls, one of the biggest and most famous waterfalls in the world.