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Africa Top 8 Largest Cultural Festival

Africa’s Top 8 Largest Cultural Festival

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A continent of 54 countries, 2000 languages and over 3000 tribes, Africa has a staggeringly diverse array of cultures. It’s no surprise that Africa is home to some of the best cultural festivals on the planet – everything from food and music to art and film – in some truly spectacular locations, such as isolated deserts, medieval cities, on the shores of a lake or on a tropical island.

Here’s a round up of 8 of the best cultural festivals Africa has to offer. Add these to your bucket list!

1. AfrikaBurn, South Africa

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Based on the famous US festival Burning Man, AfrikaBurn is the continent’s most alternative arts festival. Everything that happens in Tankwa Town (the temporary settlement where 10 000 festival goers gather in the Karoo desert) is up to the creativity of participants. There is no entertainment organised – instead the participants of the festival create their own art works, their own music and their own performances. You have no idea what to expect each year, but you’re guaranteed an experience that will blow your mind.

2. Fez Festival of World Sacred Music, Morocco

If you love the idea of music festivals, but aren’t into sleeping in a tent or stomping around in a muddy field, then the Fes Festival is probably your cup of tea. Each year the medieval Moroccan city puts on a festival of sacred music from around the world – expect everything from whirling dervishes from Turkey, dancers from Bali and chanting Sufi mystics from Iran – in stunning venues such as centuries-old palaces and atmospheric garden courtyards.

3. Zanzibar International Film Festival

sauti za busara Africa Top 8 Largest Cultural Festival

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

East Africa’s largest film, music and arts festival takes place every year on the tropical island of Zanzibar. Films from around Africa are screened in venues across the island, culminating in an awards night on the final night of the festival, while the music performances, DJ sets and dancing create a carnival atmosphere.

4. Lake of Stars, Malawi

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The Lake of Stars festival has been named one of the world’s best by the UK’s Guardian newspaper, and it’s easy to see why. The music festival takes place on the shores of beautiful Lake Malawi, with local Malawian musicians playing side by side with bands and DJs from around the world – many of whom play for free just for the chance to get involved in this feel-good event. There’s a range of music on the line up, from electro to Afro-pop, and while you’re taking a break in between checking out the acts, you can swim in the lake, laze on sandy beaches, or get involved in one of the festival’s community projects.

 
5. International Festival of the Sahara, Tunisia

You probably couldn’t think of a more exotic location for a festival than an oasis in the Sahara Desert. Douz, a place where palm trees outnumber residents, swells in population by 50 000 each year when people arrive to share in a four-day celebration the art, traditions and culture of the people of the desert. Expect to see camel marathons, displays of horse riding, a Bedouin marriage, lively dancing, music performances and a poetry competition.

6. Bushfire, Swaziland

Each year the tiny country of Swaziland draws 20 000 people for its three-day Bushfire festival – an arts event that encompasses film, theatre, poetry and visual arts performances, as well as music and dance in a beautiful valley. All of the profits from the festival are given to NGOs and charities, so just by attending you contribute to Swaziland’s development.

7. Sauti za Busara, Zanzibar

sauti busara Africa Top 8 Largest Cultural Festival

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For 10 years Zanzibar has been host of the “Sounds of Wisdom” festival – a celebration of the best music from across the African continent. Each year there’s a diverse line up of acts, covering genres such as Zimbabwean rap-rock, Senegalese reggae and Rwandan Afro-pop. In addition to music performances, during the festival you can also catch fringe shows of drumming, music documentaries and traditional dancing.

8. Gnaoua World Music Festival, Morocco

The coastal 18th century town of Essaouira rings out with the sound of music at this annual festival which sees traditional Gnaoua musicians (descendants of slaves from sub-Saharan Africa) joined by jazz, pop, blues, reggae, hip hop, Sufi, Latin and rock musicians, attracting around 500 000 people. The performances (many of which are free) take place on the town’s beaches, historic sites, public squares and beaches as Essaouira is transformed into a musical oasis.

 

Photography tips how to shoot at night

What you will need:

  1. Camera with a ‘Bulb’ function
  2. Sturdy support such as a tripod or beanbag
  3. a healthy dose of patience

Optional extras:

  1. Cable release, remote or your cameras timer function
  2. A light source to help you setup and even do some light painting with.
  3. A Flask with your preference of throat warmer inside.

I’m sure you’ve pulled out the camera just after a beautiful sunset and noticed that the camera exposed for the sky and you lost all of that lovely detail in the foreground, or your camera popped its built in flash trying to balance the scene. To combat this and retain sharpness we need to keep the camera absolutely still.  Use a tripod or if you’re on a budget, or have space constraints, rest your camera on a beanbag.

Next, you will need to lock in your camera’s ‘Bulb’ function on either your in-camera settings or camera dial. Open your aperture as wide possible, push your ISO to 800 as a starting point and use your timer function if you don’t have a cable release. I use a cheap ebay cable release that doubles as an intervalometer. This is especially useful if you’d like to try your hand at time-lapse photography.

Other tools pros use to help is a function called ‘Mirror Lockup’, which as stated will lock the mirror before the shutter fires. This reduces shake and small vibrations that cause blur and loss of sharpness.

Frame your subject to your liking, you might need that torch for this and now you can just stand back and click away. To get a better grasp of the exposure time experimentation is key, start with a 15-25 second exposure and then adjust up or down accordingly. When shooting stars it helps to turn the focus dial to the infinity icon (it looks like an 8 flipped on its side), usually found on your focusing range and after doing this switch to manual focus to prevent the autofocus from interfering.

Some subjects definitely worth exploring are light trails of cars, light painting, city lights, stars, star trails and fireworks. Starting with these will help you gain a good understanding of low light shooting and might even improve your skills in other areas!

So don’t be afraid of the dark, use it to your advantage and you might even walk away with a few shots worth the space on your wall!

Best Time to Visit Tanzania

Best Time to Visit Tanzania

1 1 Best Time to Visit Tanzania

The best wildlife viewing months in Tanzania are during the dry season from late June to October. The best chance of seeing the wildebeest migration in the Serengeti is during June and July and the time to see the wildebeest calving is late January to February. The southern and western circuit parks are best visited during the dry-season (June to October), unlike the more popular northern circuit parks that can be visited year-round. Tarangire is the only exception, since its wildlife viewing is considerably better in the dry-season as well.

Quick facts
Best time to go: June to October (All parks), June-July and January-February (Serengeti for the wildebeest migration & calving)
High Season: July to March (northern circuit parks; they get crowded), July to October (southern and western circuit parks; they don’t really get crowded any time of the year)
Low Season: April and May (northern circuit parks still get quite a few visitors unlike the southern and western circuit parks, where many lodges close down)
Best Weather: June to October (Little to no rainfall)
Worst Weather: March and April (Peak of wet season)
June to October – Dry Season
  • June and July are the best months to see the wildebeest migration.
  • Animals are easier to spot since they concentrate around waterholes and rivers and there is less vegetation.
  • There are fewer mosquitoes because there is little to no rain. Skies are clear and most days are sunny.
  • Even though most tourists visit during the dry season, the parks still don’t feel crowded, except for the Seronera area in the Serengeti and the Ngorongoro Crater.
  • Mornings and nights get cold. It’s recommended to bring warm clothing for morning game drives in open vehicles during the months of June, July and August.
November to May – Wet Season
  • Late January to February is the time to see the calving in the southern Serengeti. This is an excellent time to see predator action.
  • The scenery is green and beautiful. It’s low season, meaning lower rates and less crowded parks.
  • Although wildlife is easier to spot in the dry season, you’ll still see plenty and most northern circuit parks offer good year-round game viewing.
  • Migratory birds are present and birdwatching is at its best.
  • Except for March, April and May, rains are mostly short afternoon showers and seldom have a negative impact on your trip.
  • March to May is the peak of the wet season.
  • Most big wildlife has migrated out of Tarangire NP and game viewing in Katavi, Selous and Ruaha is clearly better during the dry season.
Best time to go to Tanzania National parks
The Serengeti and the Ngorongoro Crater offer good wildlife viewing throughout the year. June and July are the best months for seeing the migration and February is the best month for the wildebeest calving. The dry months offer good game viewing throughout Tanzania. Tarangire and the southern and western circuit parks (including Katavi, Selous and Ruaha) are best visited in the dry season, from June to October.
 
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Highest Mountains In Africa

Highest Mountains In Africa!

Mount Kilimanjaro Still Maintains #1 Spot!!

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Africa is the world’s second-largest continent. It is the largest of the three great southward projections from the largest landmass of the earth. East Africa’s Great Rift Valley is home to some of Africa’s highest mountains.

Here are the top 10 highest mountains in Africa, ranked according their heights.

10) Ras Dashen (4,550 meters)

Ras Dashen is the highest mountain in Ethiopia. It is part of Simien Mountain National Park. The first recorded ascent by a Eurasian was in 1841, by the French officers Ferret and Galinier.

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9) Mount Meru (4,566 meters)

This active stratovolcano is the topographic centerpiece of Arusha National Park. It is located 70 km west of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. Much of its bulk was lost around 8,000 years ago due to an eastward volcanic blast. It had another minor eruption in 1910.

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8) Rwenzori, Mount Gessi (4,715 meters)

Mount Gessi is located in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It is one of the six mountains of the Rwenzori range. It rises to the rocky north-south ridge, with the higher peak at the south end. There are huts and good trails from Zaire and Uganda sides.

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7) Rwenzori, Mount Emin (4,798 meters)

Mount Emin is one of the six mountains in the Rwenzori range. It is located in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, north of the triangle formed by Mount Baker, Mount Stanley and Mount Speke.

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6) Rwenzori, Mount Baker (4,844 meters)

Located in the Rwenzori Mountains National Park in Uganda, Mount Baker is around 2.8 km from the Congo border. Together with Mount Stanley and Mount Speke, this mountain forms a triangle enclosing the upper Bujuku Valley.

 

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5) Rwenzori, Mount Speke (4,890 meters)

Mount Speke is located in the Rwenzori Mountains National Park in Uganda. It is the second highest peak in the range. All mountains in the range consist of multiple jagged peaks. The mountain receives plenty of rainfall, because of which vegetation here tends to be quite thick.

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4) Rwenzori, Mount Stanley (5,109 meters)

Mount Stanley is part of the Rwenzori range. It is the highest mountain in Democratic Republic of the Congo; and also in Uganda. It is part of the Rwenzori Mountains National Park, a UNESCO world heritage site. This mountain was first climbed by Duke of the Abruzzi in 1906.

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3) Mount Kilimanjaro, Mawenzi (5,148 meters)

Located in Tanzania, Mawenzi is one of the three volcanic cones of Kilimanjaro.

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2) Mount Kenya (5,199 meters)

Mount Kenya is located in central Kenya. It is just south of the equator, around 150 km north-northeast of Nairobi. This stratovolcano was created approximately 3 million years after the opening of the East African rift.

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1) Mount Kilimanjaro, Kibo (5,895 meters)

Kibo is the highest mountain in Africa. It is part of Kilimanjaro range and is located in Tanzania. In fact Kilimanjaro is composed of three distinct volcanic cones. One if them is Kibo. Kibo is the highest free-standing mountain the world at 5,895 meters above sea level.

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Africa Forest Elephants

Africa Forest Elephants

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Africa Forest Elephants May Take Almost a Century to Recover from Poaching – Report

Africa’s rare forest elephants which play a key role in replenishing the central African rain forests will need almost a century to recover from an onslaught by ivory poachers because of their slow birth rate, a study published on Wednesday said.

The study by the New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society is the first analysis of the demography of an elusive animal that is hard to track because of its remote wooded surrounds.

But the thickly-forested tropical range it inhabits has not deterred poachers, who reduced its population by a staggering 65 percent between 2002 and 2013 to meet red-hot demand for ivory in China and other fast-growing Asian economies.

“In the intervening time we are down significantly from that 100,000 – it could be as low as 70,000 now,” Peter Wrege of Cornell University, one of the study’s authors, told Reuters.

“To come back to the population it was before 2002, based on their natality rates, it could take nearly a century to recover,” Wrege said.

Much more is at stake than the fate one animal’s population: forest elephants are regarded by biologists as a “keystone species” playing a crucial role in the robustness of central Africa’s wooded ecosytems, the study, published in the Journal of Applied Ecology, said.

Plant species depend on elephants to disperse their seeds in their excrement – big animals travel widely, eat a lot, and produce vast amounts of dung. The gaps that their bulk and diet create in thick vegetation also provide smaller creatures with pathways.

“The structure of the forests would change if they did not have the elephants doing this dispersal,” Wrege said.

The health of the central African rainforests has global consequences as they are the planet’s second largest carbon sequestration zone – which means they soak up carbon, slowing climate change.

“Forest elephants are experiencing the greatest levels of poaching in Africa with potentially as much as 10 to 18 percentof the population killed per year,” the study said.

One of two species of African elephant – the other is the more numerous and larger Savannah elephant – the forest dwellers can hardly sustain this kind of lethal pressure because few other mammals reproduce so slowly.

The study found females begin giving birth when they are around 23, about a decade later than their Savannah counterparts. And female forest elephants only produce a calf every five or six years, compared to the three- to four-year interval of their Savannah kin.

Some of the worst poaching is taking place in forest-elephant range states such as Central African Republic and Democratic Republic of Congo – poor countries that suffer from bad governance and conflict.

The findings come ahead of a major United Nations’ meeting in Johannesburg at the end of September where Zimbabwe and Namibia will push for permission to sell ivory stocks, a move opposed by many other African countries.

Those seeking to open up the ivory trade argue it will raise badly-needed funds for conservation, but others say it would provide cover to poachers and make products that threaten species such as forest elephants socially acceptable.

Overall, the illicit killing of elephants in Africa is believed to have declined from a peak of 30,000 in 2011 but remains far too high, according to a recent report.

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