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Exploring Festive Africa Off the Beaten Trackby Dalene Ingham-Brown

Africa is a riot of festivities. Whether you're a music lover, a food and wine enthusiast or just want to experience something different; Africa's got your back. Where there's an itch, there's a destination willing to scratch. The best thing about an off the beaten track trip, is that there isn't an ugly stretch of Africa. If you travel with an open mind you'll see beauty in everything.

Each piece of land has its own culture, own attractions and own appeal. Townships have colourful communities and quirky architecture. Deserts have the most amazing sunsets. Farms host food and wine festivals which have, well… food and wine!

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Images by: Evgeni Dinev, Willia4 and Donald Lee Pardue

If there's one thing, apart from sand and wildlife, that Africa has its festivals. All it takes is the erection of a significant building or the start of a new political movement and there is either a public holiday named after it, or a festival started to celebrate it.  Africa loves a good party. Africa without music is like Elvis without sideburns: impossible to imagine.

Mixing a passion for music and a passion for nature, South Africa's, Rocking the Daisies and Up the Creek music festivals, practice eco-friendly rocking at outdoor venues. Hundreds of festival goers choose to cycle to the festival, just for fun… and the promise of free entry into the festival of course. Food and wine festivals are the bomb! Whether hosted at a convention centre in the city, or a setting like the Robertson Wine Valley, they are a great way to experience the flavour of an area.

Images by: Victoriaz, Simplyfate and the-purplegoldfish

Discovering a different culture is as simple as missioning to a cultural festival where locals celebrate their heritage and talents. The Festival of the Desert in Mali, The Imilchil Marriage Festival in Morocco and the Mombasa Carnival in Kenya, are alive with culture and atmosphere, waiting for foreign faces to share in the festivities with the locals. Sometimes we just need to get away from the city, to experience something beautiful.

There is so much more to Africa than Victoria Falls and Kruger National Park, so why not get a taste of something different? Everything in Africa is now accessible; opening up so many trips missioning off the beaten track. Africa is your playpen and you are a curious three-year-old. Almost a decade ago, no one had paved the way to travel to Ghana, but nowadays you can go in there with your truck and camera and take photos of pygmy elephants!

There are loads of off the beaten track trips as amazing, as moving, as beautiful, as the destinations you find in the glossy brochures and on the list of Top 10 Things To Do in Africa. These trips are actually often more amazing, more moving, more beautiful, because they haven’t seen a million people and their granny pass through them.

Whatever kind of adventure appeals to you, there is a new way to experience Africa off the beaten track. Pair your mission with an overland trip and get the most out of your time away. Take an extra few days and either start or finish your overland trip with a festival. Hop on the Voortrekker Express in September and combine the trip with the brilliant Namaqualand Flower Festival. More fun, more exploration, more adventure… off the beaten track style!

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