Culture The Beauty of Africa

7 Festivals in Africa 2024 to Look Up to

The Mombasa Carnival
Written by Abraham Odhiambo

With over 3,000 ethnic groups and 2,000 languages, there are many celebrations and festivals in Africa 2024 to look up to. From food to art and music, Africa is home to some of the best cultural festivals. Whether you’re deep in the rural areas, isolated deserts in the north, shores of the lake, or big cities, you’ll notice that people come together once in a while to celebrate.

Africa is a festival continent and in this article, See Africa Today looks at seven major festivals in Africa 2024 to look up to. Planning your African safari at a time when there is a big festival going on is one of the best ways to know the African people better.

1. National Arts Festival – South Africa

Festivals in Africa 2024

Grahamstown National Arts Festival. Photo/

The National Arts Festival is is the largest cultural event in Africa. It takes place in Grahamstown from June to July and attracts a large number of locals and foreigners as well. From music to drama and stand-up comedy, there is more than you imagined to keep you busy. During this period, every sports venue becomes a market to showcase different acts and every available room becomes a performance venue.

2. Up The Creek Music Festival – South Africa 

Up The Creek Music Festival is another big event in South Africa you don’t want to miss. Established in 1990, the event will be making its return from 8-11 February on the banks of Breede River, which is about 23 kilometres outside Swellendam in the Western Cape. If you’re planning to go to this year’s Up The Creek, expect four days of great music, delicious meals, vibes and plenty more.

3. Fez Festival Of World Sacred Music – Morocco

Fez Festival of World Sacred Music

Fez Festival of World Sacred Music. Photo/ Morocco Shinny Days.

If you love music festivals but are not the type who like the idea of stomping around in a muddy field, then the Festival of World Sacred Music should be on your bucket list. Every year, Fez comes alive with vibrant processions and traditional performances as sacred music is played. The event was founded in 1994 by the Moroccan philanthropist Faouzi Skali with the aim of showcasing the diversity of spiritual music around the world. The 10-day event usually takes place mid summer.

4. Festival of Dhow – Zanzibar

Often described as East Africa’s largest cultural event, Festival of the Dhow is one of the festivals in Africa 2024 you can’t miss. This iconic event brings together the arts and cultures of several East African countries, including those of India, Iran, Pakistan, the Gulf States and the Indian Ocean islands. It is also known as the Zanzibar International Film Festival and takes place in several historical venues near the seafront in Stone Town in July.

5. Bushfire Festival – Eswatini 

The Bushfire festival is a three-day event that takes place in Eswatini, formerly known as Swaziland. It involves theatre, film, poetry, music as well as visual arts performances. The festival attracts about 20,000 people every year and the profits are given to NGOs and charities.

The Bushfire festival

Bushfire festival. Photo/ Botswana Gazette.

6. The Gerewol Festival – Chad 

The Gerewol Festival takes place in late September and sees the nomadic Wodaabe tribes gather at the end of the rainy season for what has been described as the world’s most competitive male pageant. The men spend hours applying makeup and preparing their clothing for Yakke dance, from which three female judges each pick a winner.

The Wodaabe are polygamous and during the dance, a woman who wishes to be ‘stolen’ from her husband taps the shoulder of the man he finds more attractive. Witnessing the Gerewol festival is a golden opportunity that you don’t want to miss. It is one of the festivals in Africa 2024 to look up to.

7. The Mombasa Carnival – Kenya 

The Mombasa Carnival is Kenya’s largest annual festival and is usually organized by the Ministry of Tourism. It takes place in Mombasa throughout the month of November and involves different activities showcasing the region’s cultural diversity. From traditional dances and music to unique costumes, there is more to keep you busy throughout the month.

The Mombasa Carnival

The Mombasa Carnival. Photo/

What Is the Largest Festival in Africa?

National Arts Festival, which takes place in Grahamstown, South Africa, is one of the largest cultural African festivals. This festival has been attracting locals and foreigners over the years, leading to the normally quiet streets of Grahamstown becoming lively.

What Celebrations Are in Africa?

Here are other major celebrations in Africa:

  • Ouidah Voodoo Festival
  • The Reed Dance
  • Timkat
  • Meskel
  • Maralal International Camel Derby
  • Lake of Stars Festival
  • Fes Festivals of World Sacred Music

What Is Africa Tech Festival?

Africa Tech Festival is where Africa’s largest community of tech champions meet. This festival allows the tech gurus to connect with one another, in-person and virtually.

What Do Africans Celebrate in July?

One of the major African festivals in July is the Festival of the Dhow. The festival celebrates the unique cultural heritage of the “Dhow” countries: the continent of Africa and the Indian Ocean region and their global Diaspora. Another major festival to look up to in July is the Mwakakogwa Festival.

About the author

Abraham Odhiambo

Abraham Odhiambo is a writer with interests in nature, travel, African safari and sports. I'm pursuing a bachelor's degree in Media and Communication at Egerton University.

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