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If you are fortunate enough to be visiting Zanzibar at Festival time, then whatever you do don’t miss out on attending one of these.

Sauti za Busara - February

Sauti za Busara means 'sounds of wisdom', and is East Africa’s premier music festival, showcasing the best the Swahili speaking world has to offer. Every February, Stone Town’s Old Fort becomes a hive of activity, hosting bongo flava stars, ngoma dancers, drummers, taarab and hip hop at the friendliest music festival on the planet.

Zanzibar International Film Festival – June/July

The Zanzibar International Film Festival (ZIFF) is one of East Africa’s largest cultural events and usually takes place each year in July. ZIFF presents an exciting and varied programme of international films and videos, music, dance, drama and art exhibitions.      [cont]

Mwaka Kogwa – July

The last week of July sees the village of Makunduchi celebrate Mwaka Kogwa, the Persian New Year. The festival is a riot of colour, filled with rituals and fun. Men are given the chance to mock fight each other with banana stems, to clear any past disputes for the new year; women dress in their best clothes and sing songs about family, love and life.

The highlight of the festival is the traditional burning of a hut, said to signify the passing of the old year and the start of the new. This ritual is thought to ensure the safety of the village in case of fire during the year and to purge evil from the people and the land.

After the fire and fighting, there’s song, dance, drumming and feasting. Hospitality is extended to all people as the locals believe that any villager without a guest will be the recipient of bad luck, and the party goes on until dawn.

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The effective capital of Zanzibar, Stone Town offers a fascinating glimpse into the past, including reminders of the infamous slave trade.

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