EPIC ROAD'S SAFARI BLOG

Entries in Timkat (1)

Wednesday
Sep062017

Off the Beaten Path Travel in Africa - Festivals and Ceremonies

 For a truly unique adventure in Africa, consider a trip to take part in a colorful arts & music festival or an authentic tribal ceremony. Africa has so much to offer in the way of fascinating cultural experiences where visitors are more than welcome to join in the festivities, and keep in mind that the less-visited places can sometimes be the most culturally rich. Tourists have a unique opportunity to support locals in nations where the local people are some of the most welcoming in all the world. Below are a few examples of experiences to be had across the continent at different times of year: from a courtship ritual in Chad to a sacrificial voodoo ceremony in Benin or a Burning Man-style festival in South Africa, there is so much to explore. 

AfrikaBurn - South Africa - Much like its U.S. counterpart Burning Man, AfrikaBurn is a collaborative celebration of the arts where a community of volunteers and participants create a temporary city of theme camps, musical performances, visual art creation, elaborate costume exhibitions, and more. Located in the remote and arid Tankwe Karoo National Park, a beautiful spot to experience the region’s desert flora, fauna, and wildlife. 

Sauti za Busara - Tanzania - Each February, vibrant Stone Town in Zanzibar hosts a music festival where locals and visitors come together to experience the best of East African music through performances by hundreds of local artists. Visitors can expect an atmosphere filled with electric energy set against an incomparable backdrop of coastal scenery, including some of the world’s best sunsets. 

Timkat - Ethiopia - Celebrated every January over three days, Timkat - also called the Feast of the Epiphany - is a colorful religious event involving horsemen, bells, trumpets, and a mass. Priests ceremoniously extinguish a candle in a river which is generally followed by participants jumping into the water.

Lake of Stars Music Festival - Malawi - On the banks of Lake Malawi, arguably one of the most picturesque locations for a music festival in the world, the town of Chintheche hosts Malawian musicians as well as globally famous artists, and the music-lovers who celebrate them, for an annual festival in September/October that also honors Malawian culture and raises money for local charities. 

Panafest - Ghana - a biennial celebration of music, performance, strength and resilience, Panafest promotes unity of Africans and people of African descent. The weeklong festival hosts creative performers of all kind in the realms of theater, music, poetry, and more.

Durbar - Nigeria  -  An annual tourist-friendly festival in various cities of northern Nigeria, Durbar marks the end of Ramadan with a roaring celebration of loyalty to the Emir. Men in extravagant turbans show off their horsemanship while wild performances by musicians and acrobats are accompanied by the shooting of muskets.

Gerewol Festival - Chad - Gerewol is a colorful and exuberant festival of courtship that takes place annually in Chad among the Wodaabe, a tribe of nomadic cattle herders.  The young men dress up in elaborate costumes and engage with young female tribe members in dancing, singing, feasting and flirting rituals.

The Nguon Festival - Cameroon - A biennial event dating back over 500 years, the Nguon Festival celebrates the culture of the Bemouan people with stunning costumes, dancing and rituals. Named for a type of locust to celebrate the harvest, the festivities hit a high point when the current king is deposed, critiqued and then ceremoniously reinstated to his throne.  

Voodoo Festival - Benin - Once a year in January the Beninese people come together to honor their spirits with a ceremonial goat sacrifice, and to dance and chant to drumbeats and drink gin. The event happily intermingles thousands of voodoo devotees and plenty of curious tourists. 

Interested in planning an unforgettable trip to the heart of Africa? Email us at hello@epicroad.com.