Kenya’s cultural calendar is packed full of enthralling cultural events throughout the year. If you’re planning a trip, why not tie in a few days in Nairobi at the start or end of your holiday to include some of the following? Or if you’ve got a craving for adventure and a bit more time, head up to the deserts of Malaral for the International Camel Derby!
1. Sigana International Storytelling Festival, Nairobi
Organized by Zamaleo Arts and Culture Trust, this internationally-renowned festival draws professional storytellers from around the world to participate every July at Nairobi’s Alliance Française. The festival’s mission is to celebrate creative performance through artistic excellence, led by a commitment to African cultural heritage.
2. International Camel Derby, Malaral
This international camel race is the kind of event you won’t really find in many other places around the world! Held every year in August, in the desert outpost of Malaral in Northern Kenya (348km north of Nairobi), this festival is gaining popularity with visitors by the year – so go now!
Why go? Malaral is the gateway to the rugged wilderness of Kenya’s desert region, making it an exciting destination for travellers with a taste for adventure. Every year, the derby features both expert and amateur camel riding competitions, a ‘Tricamalon’, a 10-kilometre fun run, a 5-kilometre fun run for the physically challenged, donkey rides, bike races and plenty of activities for children, too. Tourists can hire a camel if they wish!
3. Lola Kenya Screen Film Festival, Nairobi
This is a film festival especially for children and young people, held every August in Nairobi. A lot of the event is based upon workshops and fun skills-based training, and so far, 20 short animated films, 12 documentaries, and five dramatic films have been made by children and youth through the program. Filmmakers from around the world submit their films to be shown at the festival.
4. Kenya Music Festival, Nairobi
In August, the popular Kenya Music Festival hits town. This festival is held at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre in Nairobi, and lasts for 10 days. The event draws groups of students from schools and universities to Nairobi to compete in performing African, Western and Oriental music. It’s worth catching the folk songs performed by native Kenyan tribes whose repertoire includes hunting songs, fishing songs and lullabies.
Nairobi is the best place in the country to explore the Kenyan music scene. Be sure to keep an eye out for performers of benga – a Kenyan fusion of jazz and Luo music, which was originally developed in Nairobi.
5. Rift Valley Music Festival, Naivasha
Founded in 2009, this year’s festival will be held August 30th to September 1st in the gorgeous surrounds of the Fisherman’s Camp on the shores of Lake Naivasha. A top choice for world music lovers, this festival features a mixture of local and international artists in a cozy, friendly fusion of styles.
As well as celebrating Kenyan culture and music, the Rift Valley Music Festival is designed to raise awareness and funds for local communities, helping with environmental regeneration and community projects throughout Kenya. All profits from ticket sales go directly towards such grassroots schemes.
Article courtesy of Exsus Africa