Kenya boasts a rich calendar of cultural, athletic, culinary and charitable events that are potentially of interest to tourists coming to the country. If you’re headed there but are not sure of your dates yet, consider planning your trip around one of these events.
The Rhino Charge is a unique event for motor sport enthusiasts: the off-roading contest requires immense skill, guts, and is of course very entertaining to watch. Scheduled to take place every May or early June, it is organized by the The Rhino Ark Charitable Trust that aims to fund conservation of the Aberdares.
The Rhino Charge, held in different locations annually, has a rich history dating back to 1989. Donate to a charitable cause AND get an exciting afternoon of vehicular action? Yes, please!
European Film Festival, Alliance Francaise
Film buffs from all over Africa and beyond flock to Nairobi’s European Film Festival, now in its 23rd year. Held mid-May for two weeks at the Alliance Francaise, the festival offers a huge selection of films from Greece, France, Italy, Denmark, Czech Republic, Belgium and more. Europhiles seeking a dose of European culture in Kenya should definitely stop by.
Jazz Day Celebration Tree House, Museum Hill
Celebrate Jazz Day in style with up to eight bands live on stage at the Tree House Club on Museum Hill, Nairobi. Kenyan jazz enthusiasts congregate every end of April at the annual celebration, having a different theme every year it has been active. Enjoy live music in a great restaurant alongside those that love it as much as you do.
Kwani Open Mic, Nairobi
The Kwani Trust, one of Kenya’s leading literary organizations, hosts an open mic night every month for would-be poets and spoken-word artists to showcase their talents and introduce themselves to an audience. See Kenya’s raw, amateur talent at its best every first Tuesday of the month at Arfa Lounge, Imax Cinema.
Fashion High Tea, Nairobi
Everyone that’s anyone on the fashion scene — designers, stylists, fashion journalists and personal style enthusiasts — all gather on the stunning grounds of the Zen Garden in the month of February to rub shoulders, shop and find out what’s hot in Kenyan fashion. If a stylish day out is what you desire, enjoy nibbles specially prepared by the Zen Gardens as you take in a fashion show and peruse the mini-boutiques set up just for you at the Fashion High Tea.
Mater Heart Run, Nairobi
Why not give back to the community while on your vacation? The Mater Hospital in Nairobi organizes an annual run in the month of May aimed at raising funds for cardiac operations to benefit needy children. To date, over 2,000 children have benefited from cardiac procedures as a result of this program. Keep fit, be charitable and get a unique tour of the city every year.
Nairobi Restaurant Week
Restaurant weeks are held in cities across the world — much to the delight of foodies everywhere — and Kenya is no exception. During Nairobi Restaurant Week, the finest Kenyan eateries come together every January and open their doors to the public at significantly reduced prices. Visitors can sample special menus from 50 top restaurants at a fraction of the cost and treat their palate to an annual festival of taste.
Hakuna Matata Festival, Machakos
An hour’s drive from Nairobi, the Hakuna Matata festival in Machakos features a mix of live performances and DJs that will have you dancing all night long. Every April Kenyans flock to this feel-good event which takes place in an unforgettable setting: Africa’s first field (outdoor) amphitheater.
KSPCA Shaggy Dog Show, Nairobi
The Kenya Society for the the Protection and Care of Animals is a charitable organization that looks out for the welfare of our furry friends. If you’re a dog person (or an open-minded cat person), you’ll enjoy the annual Shaggy Dog Show usually held in October or early November. With family events to keep the kids entertained and lots events for everyone to join in, the Shaggy Dog Show is every charitable animal lover’s annual dream.
UAP Ndakaini Half Marathon, Murang’a
This September event serves the dual purpose of scouting athletic talent and raising funds for the conservation of the Ndakaini Dam, which serves over 4 million people. Long term marathoners may have a shot at the six-figure prize, but those looking for a good time and an excellent view can pick their pace around the Ndakaini Dam trail as well and help champion important fundraising, every year.