Taking part in a local festival might add a plus to your Zanzibar holidays. Here are a selection of the most famous ones:
The Swahili Food Festival, October. This was the first food festival in Zanzibar’s Stone Town to have a large number and range of different restaurants and vendors participating. The festival aims to show-case the town's offerings, from traditional Swahili cuisine through to new additions from other countries, as well as vendors and producers of particularly interesting fare.
Zanzibar International Film Festival, July. Stone Town welcomes the most important cultural event in Zanzibar, with an amazing occasion that explores the cultural heritage of East Africa, the Indian Ocean and the Middle-East, through the art of cinema. With conferences, movies, typical dances and other arts, tourists are sure to enjoy this amazing experience.
Sauti za Busara, February. This Swahili music festival takes place in February and is one of the biggest and best-known festivals in East Africa. Creating a blend between music, dance and theatre, many different styles are represented, from traditional taarab to hip-hop.
Jahazi Festival, September. Jahazi is a non-profit organisation that is dedicated to inspiring youth, learning and education, through literature and music. For four days the festival attracts Tanzanian, East African and international writers who discuss a wide range of topics through a combination of talks, workshops, forums, school visits and literary dinners. Sunsets and evenings are taken over by jazz concerts showcasing local and emerging musicians, as well as hosting internationally acclaimed artists and bands.
Watersports festival and dhow race, September. The Zanzibar Beach & Watersports Festival is a celebration of beach life, culture & music, spanning 3 days and held annually in Jambiani (south-east Zanzibar). This non-profit event is organized by an informal group of volunteers involving a multitude of local organizations, hotels, individuals and village groups.
Fashion Week Zanzibar, September/October. Discover the freshest, newest styles created by Zanzibar’s established and up and coming designers. Drawing from centuries of cultural collisions, the brightly coloured traditional patterns of kanga and kitenge from Eastern Africa, and a one-of-a-kind modern island sensibility, the designs show-cased at Fashion Week Zanzibar include the best and most unique styles in the region.