TIMKAT FESTIVAL, GONDAR, ETHIOPIA
Ethiopia’s most colourful festival, this Orthodox Christian ceremony celebrates the epiphany, or baptism of Jesus Christ. Although the festival is celebrated elsewhere in Ethiopia, the one at Gondar, a two-day bus ride, or a short flight, from Addis Ababa, is the most spectacular. It starts with an all-night vigil, with chanting, music and lots of incense. At sunrise, thousands of white-robed congregants gather at Fasiladas’ Bath for the highlight of the festival – when hundreds of devotees leap into the waters, representing a renewal of their faith.
MT KENYA TRUST ‘10TO4’ CHALLENGE, LAIKIPIA, KENYA
Not one for the faint-hearted, this thrilling annual cycling event sends riders of all abilities plunging from an altitude of 10,000 ft to 4,000 ft, passing through alpine terrain, forests and the game-filled plains of Borana Conservancy. For the advanced riders, two extreme events – a 90 km hardcore up and down 2,000 metres, and a roller coaster – will get the heart pumping. The more cautious can take part in less challenging, shorter races, involving uphill stretches when you might least expect it. Kids as young as four years old can take part, too.
NILE RIVER FESTIVAL, JINJA, UGANDA
Perhaps the premier white-water festival in Africa, this four day fest of water-based fun draws fans from all over the world. There’s all sorts of stuff going on, from the main kayaking events, including endurance and free-style races, a mountain bike race and a big air ramp, which is kind of like ski jumping, but for kayaks. The festival finishes off with an extreme race down Grade 5 rapids, probably more fun for the spectators than for the participants! Party like you’re 18 at the end of it all, with a bit of jelly wrestling, whatever that is, thrown in.