Mozambique is widely known for its fusion of African and Portuguese traditions, making it a fascinating place to visit for culture vultures. While you could spend all your time in Maputo taking in the street life or in Vilanculos lounging on the beach, another great way to experience the country like a local is to attend one of the many eclectic festivals, which range from events that celebrate the country’s history to massive live concerts. Here are 10 Mozambican festivals you should know about.
AZGO Festival, Maputo
This yearly festival is held over three days in May and features bands from around the world. Previous artists have included Uhuru from South Africa and Sergio Perere from Brazil. There are also other events going on during the festival, including fashion shows, workshops and film screenings.
F.O.R.R. Festival, Malongane
Mozambique knows a thing or two about music festivals, and the F.O.R.R. (Fellowship of Rock and Roll) festival is no exception. This three-day festival is located in Malongane and takes its inspiration from legends of rock. For example, each band at the 2015 edition in September got to cover a few songs by Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin.
Independence Day, Maputo
Mozambique celebrates its independence from Portugal every year on June 25 with a series of celebrations in the capital. There are usually several parades that go through the city where you’ll see hundreds of locals waving flags, along with several marching military regiments. Pretty much everybody in the country has the day off, so there are celebrations in the street and events that go on throughout the day and night.
If you’re into trance music and hanging out on the beach, then Mozamboogy is going to be up your alley. This four day event is located on the border of KwaZulu-Natal and Mozambique, making it easy to get to if you are staying in Johannesburg or Durban for a weekend getaway. Outside of dancing all night to trance music, participants can spend time relaxing on the beach, swimming with dolphins, and taking in the crazy scene. For more information on Mozamboogy, check out our article: Mozamboogy: Trance Party In Mozambique
Kinani International Festival Of Contemporary Dance, Maputo
Dance enthusiasts will want to check out the fabulous Kinani festival, which has been running for 10 years in the heart of Maputo. This festival picks a different theme every year and focuses on modern African dance from around the country and beyond. The 2015 edition included 24 dance performances by 27 choreographers and artists from nine countries.
STRAB Festival, Malongane
Running every year in May, the STRAB (Subterranean Rhythm & Blues) festival started back in 2003 when a bunch of scuba divers decided to add some live music to their weekends in Ponta Malgone. After a slow start, it soon became a large yearly festival. It now routinely features some of the best rhythm & blues artists from around southern Africa. There’s also plenty of arranged scuba diving events throughout the festival with plenty of staff to help out.
Italy-Mozambique Jazz Festival, Maputo
This is one of the more peculiar festivals in the country, but has been running for over a decade in Maputo. The Italian embassy has a relationship with the country and every year Mozambican groups get together to perform for several days in the capital. It’s rather small, but a great way to hear some fantastic jazz.
Wine Festival Mozambique, Maputo
This much-anticipated festival showcases some of the best wines from southern Africa, Spain, Chile, Portugal and Italy. Visitors can taste and learn about some of the best wines in the world from sommeliers before tearing up the dance floor at the event’s after party. The 5th annual festival takes place November 12-14, 2015.
Chopi Music Festival, Quissico
Visitors wanting to experience more of the traditional music from Mozambique should look into the CHOPI music festival. Each year, the communities in the southern part of Inhambane Province get together to play traditional instruments like timbilas (a type of xylophone), animal horns, panpipes, rattles and drums.
Marrabenta Festival, Maputo and Xai Xai
This festival is one of the most popular in Maputo and takes place every February. Marrabenta is a style of dance music that originated in the city back in the 1930s and 1940s, and the lively festival is one of the biggest reasons that the style of music remains popular.