Each year in November, the ancient city of Mombasa comes to life with dance and music as a multiplicity of cultures from all over Kenya take to the streets in a colourful jamboree of dance, music and fabulous costumes christened the Cultural Carnival.
The Mombasa Cultural Carnival is a rare chance to see first-hand, the diversity of Kenya’s peoples in one place as you savour the luscious Swahili cuisines while you lose yourself in the scintillating melodies of smooth classic taarab music – of course, there is a blend of some modern renditions as well.
The carnival starts off with two main parades that later converge in central Moi Avenue for the climax of what is perhaps one of Kenya’s premier events. Visitors here are spoilt for choice as there are many stalls selling arts and crafts from different cultures. The multi-ethnic gallant floats whose main theme centres on the various religious and cultural groups of Kenya is a must-see.
The traditions of the African and Arabian cultures of the city are well depicted during the event. Bands play and traditional Kenyan dances are performed on-stage and a sailing regatta is held along the seafront. The main stage highlights local dancers and bands, while the second stage showcases traditional Kenyan dancing.