From cultural festivals and wildlife spectacles to bush marathons and camel races, Kenya’s colourful 2017 events calendar provides plenty of reasons to visit Kenya this year…
- Lake Turkana Festival: 4thto 6th May 2017
With direct flights into nearby Lodwar, Kenya’s northern Turkana region is opening up to tourism and for visitors to the region the annual Lake Turkana Cultural Festival is an event not to be missed! The festival was proposed by the local community of Loiyangalani back in 2008, and has since become an important cultural festival on Kenya’s annual events calendar. The festival takes place in May each year and celebrates the diversity of Kenya’s culture with unique performances and demonstrations by ten ethnic communities from Marsabit County: El Molo, Rendille, Samburu, Turkana, Dassanach, Ghabra, Borana, Konso, Wata and Burji. Each tribe showcases its culture by performing dances, songs and rituals in their traditional tribal dress before the stunning backdrop of Lake Turkana.
For more information please visit laketurkanaculturalfestival.com/
- Mount Kenya Extreme Sports Challenge: 27th May 2017
Meru County in the centre of Kenya is fast gaining a reputation as a mecca for extreme sports thrill-seekers. The annual Mount Kenya Extreme Sports Challenge takes place each June and attracts hundreds of participants, local and international, keen to challenge themselves in the wilderness of the Mount Kenya region. Extreme adventure activities include rock climbing and abseiling, orienteering, high ropes and obstacle crossings as well as treasure hunts. A particular highlight is the bush race in which local athletes from as far as Iten in western Kenya compete.
Visitors looking to take part can book with African Adventures: african-adventures.co.uk/mount-kenya-charity-challenge/
- Rhino Charge: 3rdJune 2017
Rattling through the African wilderness around eight hours north of Nairobi is ‘Rhino Charge’. The annual off-road motorsport competition requires entrants to visit 13 points (guard posts) scattered over approximately 100 km² of rough terrain within a 10 hour time period. Entrants are supplied with a 1:50,000 scale map, coordinates of the 13 guard posts and their start position the night before the event. Each competitor must plot the guard posts on the map and decide his/her route and the winner is the competitor who visits the most guard posts in the shortest distance. The event is organised in order to raise funds to support the activities of the Rhino Ark Charitable Trust, an NGO which works towards a noble cause: the conservation and protections of Kenya’s mountain range ecosystems, the so-called “Water Towers”.
Spectators are also welcome and tickets can be purchased via the rhino charge website. rhinocharge.co.ke/about/
- Safaricom Marathon & Half Marathon, Lewa: 24th June 2017
There are few more extraordinary places in the world to run a marathon than a wildlife reserve in Kenya. Participants in the Safaricom Marathon and Half Marathon in 2017 will share the running route with giraffe, zebra and even elephants with a backdrop of beautiful open savannah. Organised by Tusk and supported by Safaricom, this fundraising event hosts over 1,000 runners from 20 different countries and is regarded as one of the toughest marathons in the world. Runners of all abilities take part including Paul Tergat, the Kenyan former world record holder. A number of high profile celebrities have also taken part in previous years including Pippa Middleton in 2015.
For more information please visit www.lewa.org/support-lewa/safaricom-marathon
- The Wildebeest Migration, Maasai Mara: around July – October each year
The thrilling wildebeest migration takes place from around July to October each year. With over 1.5 million wildebeest and zebra on the run for the green pastures of the Maasai Mara, it is one of Kenya’s most dramatic and memorable safari experiences. Wildebeest can be heard for miles away as they thunder over the Kenyan border towards freshly grown and nutritious lands. Zebra are swept up in the flow, peppering the herds with colour as they head towards the mighty Mara River. Visitors watch in awe as the river banks swell and burst with wildebeest as they storm down into the water, certainly a sight not to be missed!
Those planning a trip to Kenya to experience the migration can track the herds live with Discover Africa’s Herdtracker: discoverafrica.com/herdtracker/
- Maralal Camel Derby: August 2017
Held annually in the town of Maralal, around 350km north of Nairobi, this event is Africa’s most well-known camel race offering a family-friendly fusion of colours, cultures and camels! The derby spans three days and attendees can either stay in tented camps in Maralal or at the five-star Maralal Safari Lodge. The course is 42km long and passes through the Maralal Township and surrounding desert landscape of northern Kenya. The event is sponsored by Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) as a key platform to showcase Kenya’s lesser known tourism products not only in Samburu county but also on the northern tourism circuit.
- Storymoja Festival, Nairobi: 27th September – 1st October 2017
The Storymoja Festival, held in Nairobi, is a platform to showcase local and international literary talent. The festival started out in 2007 as a Nyama Choma Fiesta with a small gathering of 300 people and has grown to become a vibrant gathering of the greatest creative minds in Kenya and beyond, celebrating Kenyan culture. The festival offers activities and events to cater for all age groups. Books are brought to life through poetry and storytelling, attendants can get to know local and international artists, enjoy music, workshops, film and much more. In addition, topical issues such as health, careers, politics, technology, human rights, environment entrepreneurship and youth empowerment are presented in interactive and stimulating seminars.
For more information please visit storymojafestival.com/
- Mombasa Carnival: November 2017
This annual festival happens every November in Kenya’s coastal capital of Mombasa, a key trading port dating back to the 12th century. The street party revolves around two parades, which converge on main drag Moi Ave. Mombasa’s melting pot of communities is represented by the floats, costumes and dancers, while stalls sell items ranging from woodcarvings to bootlegged reggae CDs. Artists from across Kenya join in the proceedings, making the carnival an inspiring introduction to East Africa’s diverse culture.
For more information please visit www.mombasa.com/v/festivals/
- Jamhuri Day across Kenya: 12thDecember 2017
Jamhuri Day is Kenya’s most important holiday marking the country’s independence from the United Kingdom as declared on 12th December 1963 with feasting, dancing, parades and colourful air shows. Kenyans love to celebrate with traditional food, so Jamhuri Day is a good chance to try local delicacies including Ugali (ground maize, flour and water) and fish, Githeri(boiled maize and beans), Mursik (fermented milk) and Ingoho (a traditional chicken dish). Visitors will be in for a treat as they witness Kenya at its best as Kenyans from different communities across the country come together to celebrate this anniversary.
For more information on events in Kenya visit www.magicalkenya.com/what-to-do/events-and-festivals or call 020 7593 1731