10 Local Tanzanian Festival You Need to Diarise

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Celebrate Tanzania With Exciting Cultural Festivals & Events

Tanzania is renowned for its cultural diversity, stunning beaches, and wonderful national parks with unique wildlife, lush tropical rainforest as well as a variety of attractions. Tanzania is a melting point of ethnic groups with different cultural activities. Due to this, there are numerous cultural festivals and events all through the year for both locals and visitors to enjoy.

Let’s take a look at some of the cultural festivals and events in Tanzania.

Zanzibar International Film Festival

Zanzibar International Film Festival, also known as the “Festival of the Dhow Counties” is the largest film, arts and cultural festival in East Africa, bringing artists together from all over the world. The festival takes place in Stone Town and features local and international discussion panels, musical concerts, workshops and movie screenings.

The Zanzibar International Film Festival is an Anual event that usually takes place during the first half of July.

Zanzibar International Film

Performances at The Zanzibar International Film Festival

Kiliman Adventure Challenge

Kiliman Adventure Challenge is one of the most interesting events that take place in Tanzania. During this challenge, strong sportsmen and women take a hike to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro – Africa’s highest mountain and the world’s largest free-standing mountain; indulge in marathon mountain bike race (92 miles / 148 km), and finally the Kilimanjaro marathon.

The Kiliman Adventure Challenge is an annual event and usually take place during the second half of February 

Bull Fighting on Pemba Island

Bullfighting is a traditional and popular sport in Tanzania. Any fan of the bullfighting from anywhere in the world will love to see this done the African way. The event takes place annually on Pemba Island and is usually accompanied by drum beats, men and women sing local songs to make the event livelier.

Although there is no specific date for this event, it’s usually held anytime between August and February each year.

Bull Fighting on Pemba Island

A man Taking on a bull during the annual Bull Fighting event, Image Source: Rove.me

Mwaka Kogwa

Although the Mwaka Kogwa Festival is celebrated in the month of July, it is aimed at performing rituals to bring good luck for the New Year. The event takes place in Zanziba and a large crowd gathers to attend every year. The natives of different communities around the island come together to put up amazing shows, with native dressing displays, songs, bonfires, and mock dances.

The Mwaka Kogwa Festival is an annual event and usually takes place during July.

Mwaka Kogwa

The crowd gathers around the bonfire at the Mwaka Kogwa Festival in Zanzibar

Mzalendo Halisi Music Festival

There are several interesting music festivals that take place in Tanzania and the Mzalendo Halisi is one of them. This particular music festival focuses on local Tanzanian music, arts, and cultural exhibition. The two-day festival features a variety of music and cultural performances from traditional dancing groups and music artists in Dar es Salaam.

The Mzalendo Halisi Music Festival is an annual event and usually takes place in May.

Mzalendo Halisi Music Festival

Performers put on a show at the Mzalendo Halisi Music Festival, Image Source: Gowherewhen.com

Kilimanjaro Marathon

This is not the same as the Kiliman Challenge marathon. It is a separate sports event organised with the intention of promoting healthy living for the participants. It has attracted many tourists since its inception, probably because it is held at around the world’s highest solitary mountain – Mount Kilimanjaro.

The Kilimanjaro Marathon is an annual event and usually takes place during February or the beginning of March.

Kiliman Adventure Challenge

Runners from all over the world partaking in the Kilimanjaro Marathon, Image Souce: Worldsmarathons.com

Wanyambo Festival

Wanyambo Festival showcases the true culture of Tanzania and exposes people to the Tanzanian lifestyle. The event takes place every year in the Northern area of Dar es Salaam. It features a variety of art and cultural performances including music and dances as well as costume displays from the Tanzanian people.

The Wanyambo Festival takes place during January each year.

Wanyambo Festival

Traditional dancers and performers at the Wanyambo Festival.

Karibu Travel and Tourism Fair

Travel exhibitors – agents, lodges, hotel, and tour operators, as well as visitors from all over the world, gather together below Mount Kilimanjaro and the crater of Mt. Meru for the travel and trade fair. The event is held every May, in the town of Arusha, the gateway to the major safari destinations in Tanzania. The event promotes tourism in East Africa, as the visitors experience the warm hospitality of the country.

The Karibu Travel and Tourism Fair takes place during May each year.

Serengeti Wildebeest Migration

This wonderful spectacle takes place annually in the most renowned national park in East Africa – Serengeti National Park. The park is home to a wide range of wildlife species including Impalas, elands, wildebeest, lion, and cheetah. During the migration, almost two million wildebeest joined by a large number of Zebra, as well as some elands and impalas cross the crocodile-infested rivers to Masai Mara from Serengeti to seek greener pastures. This is one of the most breathtaking experiences that you shouldn’t miss when in Tanzania.

The Wildebeest Migration takes place annually from mid-December to March.

Serengeti Wildebeest Migration

Serengeti Wildebeest Migration

Unification Day

This day, April 26th marks a special day in the history of Tanzania as a country. On this day 1964, the Zanzibar Island joined the Tanganyika to eventually become the Republic of Tanzania. The people of Tanzania troop out in large numbers to wave flags and enjoy parades in the cities as they mark this notable event every year.

Unification Day takes place annually on 26 April.

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