Cultural Festivals in Kenya

When we talk cultural festival you are probably thinking shirtless people running around and having fun. Well, that would be most visitors when they attend these festivals, and not the locals. Haha! Cultural Festivals have grown leaps and bounds over the last 5 or so years. The interest in these festivals has grown, with visitors coming just for them from far and wide.

These are some of the famous festivals in Kenya.

1. Rusinga Cultural Festival

Photo by @JapichaKE

Held in Rusinga Island, Homabay County, the Festival will take you to one of Kenya’s hidden gems on Lake Victoria. It’s two days of music, fashion, film, food, artistry, literature and sports taking you back in time of the Suba culture. The boat races, the wrestling matches, dancing and music are some of the favorite activities for visitors.

The festival is held annually in late December. Enjoy the rich culture and stunning sunsets and sunrises of Lake Victoria. And while at it visit the nearby Ruma National Park, home to the endangered Roan Antelope, and the Tom Mboya Mausoleum. For more check @RusingaFestival.

Read: The Rusinga Festival via @Owaahh

2018 Dates: 20th-21st December


2. The Maralal Camel Derby

Photo by @MagicalKenya

The Maralal Camel Derby is an annual event, held midyear just outside of Maralal town.  Professional & amateur camel racers come to compete. A cycling race is also held concurrently with the derby, with mountain bikes racing over a demanding course. The Camel derby is an entertaining festival of fun and local competition that brings this small desert town to life. Spectators also have a chance to enjoy the Thomson Falls, Lake Olobolosat view, Mt.Longonot and the Rift Valley view point on your way to Maralal.

READ: Saddle up and race with the Camel Derby in Kenya

2018 Dates: 31st August-2nd September

3. Lake Turkana Cultural Festival


The lake Turkana Festival takes place annually in Loiyangalani, a small town located on the south-eastern coast of L. Turkana. The 3 day carnival is a celebration of the rich cultures of the El Molo, Samburu, Gabbra, Rendile, Watta, Dasannach & Turkana. The Festival is worth attending as you explore this northern frontier and enjoy the myriad of colorful cultures.

Marsabit Lake Turkana Festival…

2018 Dates: 27th June-1st July

4. Mombasa International Cultural Festival


The 4 day festival held annually in mid August is used to celebrate the rich vibrant cultures of Mombasa. The festival is also known as Mombasa Carnival due to it’s procession around Mombasa on the first day. From dance performances to local foods on display and water sports, it’s a perfect festival to attend.

READ: Mombasa International Cultural Festival

2018 Dates: Not Announced


5. Lamu Cultural Festival

Lamu town 1

Last but not least, one of the famous ones. Lamu Cultural Festival has become somewhat a huge deal. A celebration of the past, the future, the beliefs and traditions that are the heart and soul of the Lamu community. All these plus the Coastal life and people from all over have come to love it. Flights to Lamu and accommodation in Lamu during this period are usually fully booked several weeks to the festival. Held annually in late November, Lamu comes to life as several competitions & races are staged during this week long festival. These events designed to encourage local skills or practices include traditional Swahili poetry, Henna painting and Bao competition. The real highlights of the festival however involves the town’s most endearing symbol – the donkey race. Another attraction is the dhow race.

The Lamu Cultural Festival is a chance to experience Lamu life at its most exuberant and joyous. Also to note the Cultural Festival is just one of the many festivals that make up the Lamu Festival calendar.

READ: Scenes from Lamu Cultural Festival 2017

Dates: Not Announced

In case I have left out any other Cultural festival you think should be included, kindly add on the comments.

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