Top ChoiceFilm in Ouagadougou


Going strong since 1969, this world-renowned biennial festival (held in odd-numbered years) sees African films competing for the prestigious Étalon d'Or de Yennenga – Fespaco's equivalent of the Oscars.

Music in Saint-Louis

Saint-Louis Jazz Festival

The most internationally renowned festival in West Africa is held annually in early or mid May and attracts jazz greats from around the world. The main event usually happens at the Quai des Arts or on an open-air...

Marathon in Makeni

Sierra Leone Marathon

The annual Sierra Leone Marathon was set up in 2012. Runners follow a route through the villages and communities surrounding Makeni, raising funds for the charity Street Child ( Over 100...

Music in Praia

Atlantic Music Expo

Over four days in April, this big music bash always offers a good time, with a line-up of performers from Cabo Verde, Africa, Europe and beyond. There's also a good street market. It happens just before the big...

Cultural in Oshogbo

Osun Festival

Thousands descend on Oshogbo in late August for this festival held in honour of the river goddess. Music, dancing and sacrifices form one of the centrepieces of the Yoruba cultural and spiritual year.

Cultural in Nigeria

Argungu Fishing and Cultural Festival

Around mid-February, the spectacular three-day festival in Argungu is held. Possibly the most interesting in the country, the festival has sadly been cancelled for the past few years due to politics.

Sports in Oussouye

Fête du Roi

One of the big events of the Casamance calendar features a night of wrestling matches held in September in the village of Oussouye.

Cultural in Foumban

Nguon tribal festival

A biennial week-long harvest festival which dates back around 600 years; Bamoun culture is celebrated with dance and masquerades.

Cultural in Nigeria


The Islamic festival of Tabaski, 69 days after Ramadan, features colourful processions of cavalry.

Music in The Gambia

Roots International Festival

Held biennially on even-numbered years, the one-week Roots International Festival (formerly the Roots Homecoming Festival) features concerts by Gambian and diaspora artists, as well as seminars and lectures, held...

Religious in Nigeria


Some of the most elaborate festivals are the celebrations in northern Nigeria (particularly in Kano, Zaria and Katsina) for important Islamic holidays. Ramadan can be a tiring time to travel in the north – head...

Cultural in Saint-Louis

Les Fanals

Celebrated on one night during the last week of December between Christmas and New Year's Eve, this historic lantern procession has its roots in the lantern-lit marches to midnight Mass once made by the signares....

Cultural in Calabar

Calabar Festival

Calabar hosts a festival throughout December with concerts from national and international stars scheduled closer to Christmas. The highlight of the festival is the cultural masquerade carnival when tens of...

Music in Mindelo

Baía das Gatas Festival

The Baía das Gatas Festival attracts musicians of all styles from around the islands and beyond. Held at the Baía das Gatas over the August full moon, it's a three-day extravaganza of singing, dancing and partying.

Parade in São Nicolau


São Nicolau's pre-Lenten bash features wild costumes, dancing, and late-night revelry. It happens on the days preceding Ash Wednesday. Plan ahead if you want to attend, as flights book up weeks in advance.

Art in Dakar

Dak'Art Biennale

Held on even-numbered years, this festival of painting and sculpture is the queen of Dakar's festivals. It drowns the town in colour for the whole of May, with exhibitions all across Dakar. Unmissable.

Carnival in Mindelo

Creole Carnival

Mindelo puts on the sexiest Mardi Gras this side of Río: Creole Carnival, with its colourful street parades. It happens in the build-up to Ash Wednesday – usually February (early March in 2018).

Performing Arts in Dakar

Kaay Fecc

Held on odd-numbered years in April or May, this fest is a smaller version of the Dak'Art festival, with a more dance-focused lineup.

Music in Praia

Gamboa Music Festival

The Gamboa Music Festival features a line-up of up-and-coming bands and DJs on Gamboa Beach, and draws huge crowds. It's usually held on the weekend nearest to 19 May.