Timkat in Ethiopia is one of the best performances in Africa (Shutterstock)
List Words : Mark Stratton | 30 April 2019

5 of the most memorable African performances and festivals

From lively jazz festivals and international music events to mesmerising religious ceremonies, these are the African performances well worth watching...

1. Whirling dervishes, Sudan

A whirling dervish in Sudan (Shutterstock)

A whirling dervish in Sudan (Shutterstock)

A highlight of any visit to Sudan is a Friday performance by ‘dervishes’ at Sheikh Hamad-al Nil’s tomb in Omdurman, near Khartoum – an age-old tradition related to Sufism.

2. Lake of Stars, Malawi 

People on the beach at sunset at Lake of Stars Festival (David Harrison)

People on the beach at sunset at Lake of Stars Festival (David Harrison)

This contemporary three-day music festival, staged alongside Lake Malawi, celebrated its 15th year in 2018. Watch out for dates and acts for 2019; expect Malawian and international musical performers and dancers.

Find out more

3. Ouidah Voodoo Festival, Benin

A man in a trance during Ouidah Voodoo Festival, Benin (Shutterstock)

A man in a trance during Ouidah Voodoo Festival, Benin (Shutterstock)

Voodoo is a part of everyday life in Benin, and this wild festival in Ouidah (in January) showcases the ceremonies surrounding the magic.

Read what it's like to witness Ouidah Voodoo Festival

4. Saint Louis Jazz, Senegal

A colourfully-designed cart on the streets of Saint Louis, Senegal (Shutterstock)

A colourfully-designed cart on the streets of Saint Louis, Senegal (Shutterstock)

Africa’s best jazz exposition showcases the continent’s finest performers alongside an array of international talent for performances in the atmospheric river city of Saint Louis, northern Senegal, each April. 

Find out more

5. Timkat, Ethiopia 

A celebration of Timkat in Ethiopia (Shutterstock)

A celebration of Timkat in Ethiopia (Shutterstock)

Epiphany (19 January) is celebrated across Ethiopia, as Tabots – replicas of the Ark of the Covenant – are paraded amid ecstatic crowds. Addis Ababa, Gondar and Lalibela are all good places to catch it.

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