January
7 January
In Cairo, Coptic Christmas celebrates Jesus' birth on 7 January. This is the day when believers take part in religious services and concerts and typical Christmas bazaars create a magical atmosphere.

Marrakech International Marathon
More than 5000 international runners take part in the annual Marrakech International Marathon and half marathon. The magical city offers an exceptional setting for this gruelling athletic event, with very mild daytime temperatures (20-25°C) and a beautiful circuit.

International Egyptian Marathon
The International Egyptian Marathon takes place annually in Luxor, attracting nearly 2000 long-distance runners from around 36 countries. The route runs past the famous ancient monuments of the West Bank and through the local farmers' sugar cane fields.

Cairo International Book Fair
The Cairo International Book Fair at Cairo International Conference Centre is one of the leading cultural activities in the Middle East, attracting over 3000 exhibitors and three million international visitors. Go along to a discussion with a world-famous guest speaker.

Cape Minstrel Carnival
The Cape Minstrel Carnival is Cape Town's biggest and most raucous carnival, celebrating the New Year with dances, competitions and extravagant parades. Starting in District 6, this Tweede Nuwe Jaar (second New Year) attracts thousands of costumed banjo-strumming minstrels.

Flora Egypt Fair
Flora Egypt Fair is an international exhibition of fresh cut flowers and ornamental plants held at Cairo Fair Grounds. Along with stunning displays, the fair offers meetings and workshops on all horticultural matters, from marketing to future trends.

Egypt International Boat Show
Egypt International Boat Show turns the spotlight on vessels and accessories of all kinds. Visit the show at Cairo International Convention and Exhibition Centre for all your navigation needs, from communication equipment to interiors and watersports accessories.

Moroccan Travel Market
The Moroccan Travel Market is Marrakech's marketplace for professionals from all travel-related sectors. Trends are presented and discussed at the Palais des Congrès in two specific pavilions - the MTM MICE, for the event industry, and the MTM, covering luxury offers.

January - February
International Nile Song Festival
The International Nile Song Festival, at the Cairo International Conference Centre, attracts kids from around 18 countries to compete for generous cash prizes in writing, singing and composing. All genres are allowed, though the songs must be new. There are also several charity concerts and exhibitions.

Shakespeare in the Park
An exotic alternative to the original initiative in London's Regent's Park, Shakespeare in the Park features a different play every summer at Cape Town's Maynardville Open-Air Theatre. Picnics in the nearby park complete this cultural night out under the stars.

February
Wax Lantern Procession
Former pirate town Salé returns to its roots during the annual Wax Lantern Procession. Bearing massive wax lanterns, sailors dressed in pirate regalia visit the shrine (Zaouia) of Sidi Abdallah Ben Hassoun, the patron saint of travelers.

Up the Creek Music Festival
Taking place on the banks of the Breede River near Swellendam, the Up the Creek Music Festival offers a monumentous mix of bands, including some old favourites, some real legends and some brand new ones. Bring your tent and sun block.

The Women's Show
Held at Johannesburg's Coca-Cola Dome in August and at Cape Town International Convention Centre in February, The Women's Show provides a space for women to celebrate all things feminine. Ladies come to network, browse exhibits, participate in workshops and more.

Caravan
Gathering around 40 leading Middle Eastern and Western artists at St. John's Church in Cairo, Caravan is an arts festival set up to encourage intercultural dialogue. Visit art exhibitions or go along to one of the film screenings and concerts.

Hurghada International Festival
The Hurghada International Festival is a two-week event featuring three sporting disciplines. It opens with a triathlon competition, followed by the 75km Mare Monti, featuring international competitors running off-road between the sea and mountains.

Midmar Mile
With a whopping 20,000-plus participants, including Olympians, the Midmar Mile has entered the Guinness Book of World Records. This ultra popular swimming competition is also the world's largest open-water swim event, held annually at Pietermaritzburg's Midmar Dam in KwaZulu-Natal.

Chinese New Year
Honouring family ancestors and the gods of the household, the Chinese New Year in Johannesburg is a massive festivity. Vigorous dragon dancing, tea ceremonies and traditional Chinese food draw communities to Bronkhorstspruit's Hau Temple, near Pretoria, and Cyrildene, Johannesburg's Chinatown.

Hansa Powerade Dusi
The Hansa Powerade Dusi is an annual canoeing event that attracts thousands of entrants. Starting on the Umsiduzi River in Pietermaritzburg, the participants cover an enormous 115km distance into Durban. An essential event for all canoeists and watersports enthusiasts.
February
Prosurf Extreme Kitesurf
Prosurf Extreme Kitesurf sees professional and amateur kitesurfers compete at Mombasa's idyllic Nyali Beach on Kenya's north coast. Competitors take part in down-wind races and kicker and freestyle competitions.

Mohammed's Birthday
Prophet Mohammed's Birthday is celebrated with parades and decorations in villages, towns and cities across Egypt. Children receive a special sweet for the occasion and there is much revelry to commemorate this holy day.

Sauti za Busara
Sauti za Busara (Sounds of Wisdom) music festival is an international celebration of East African music at Zanzibar's Old Fort in Stone Town. Around 40 acts perform traditional and modern music, both acoustic and electric.

Almond Tree Blossom Festival
After the red expanses of desert, in early spring the town of Tafraoute offers refreshing views. Officially the almond capital of Morocco, the area is famous for the spectacle of the almond trees in blossom, celebrated at this festival.

SA Ballet Theatre
Based at the Johannesburg Civic Theatre, the SA Ballet Theatre presents an annual season that encompasses classical ballets and new works by South African choreographers. Public open days and collaborations across international boundaries make for a rich and varied programme.

1 May - 30 November
Whale Watching
Hermanus' sheltered bays and coves are some of the best places in the world for land-based Whale Watching. Between May and November, and sometimes even through to December, visitors can see Southern Right Whales from the shore.

November
Green Oasis
An international festival of Russian culture, Green Oasis gathers artists of all ages, including children, to perform folklore and modern art, musical, vocal and dance compositions at the Senzo Mall in Hurghada. A prize ceremony awards the best performer.

Eid al-Adha Festival
Eid al-Adha commemorates Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son as instructed by God, although luckily a ram took his place. The ritual is still practised throughout Morocco, including Marrakech, where animals are sacrificed and eaten by family and friends.

Tan Tan Moussem
Held in the small desert town of Tan Tan, south Morocco, Tan Tan Moussem sees thousands of tribal members (Blue Men) come together to celebrate their traditional culture. It is the largest gathering of nomadic tribes in northern Africa.

The Baby Expo
The kids will love meeting Barney and his friends at The Baby Expo, South Africa's most popular parenting expo with four editions per year. Shows, competitions, product launches and workshops complete the programme at Johannesburg's Coca-Cola Dome.

Slam Wa Angham Festival
During Marrakech's Slam Wa Angham Festival more than 20 rising stars present their musical works on stage at the Theatre Royal. A competition in three categories picks the best slam, rap & hip hop and fusion players.

Ficksburg Cherry Festival
Ficksburg produces around 500 tons of cherries each year, representing about 95% of the South African harvest. The Ficksburg Cherry Festival is a celebration of the town's favourite crop, with events including tastings, pickings and family entertainment.

November - December
Cairo International Film Festival
The Cairo International Film Festival has been going strong since its inception in 1976. Along with regular competitions, tributes and controversial films, it features seminars addressing contemporary world issues. Each year the focus falls on individual countries and their film-making industries.

December
Kenya Music Week
Kenya Music Week at Nairobi's Sarit Centre presents a vibrant programme of live performances. The event also offers the Kenyan music industry an excellent opportunity to market its products and network.

Zagora Marathon
The Zagora Marathon in the Moroccan desert offers the chance to celebrate the New Year in an unusual, yet healthy, way. Runners and walkers of all ages can register for either the full marathon (42.195km) or the half marathon (21km).

Jamhuri (Independence) Day - December 12
Jamhuri Day is Kenya's most important holiday, celebrated in Nairobi and throughout the nation. Kenyans commemorate their independence from the United Kingdom since 12 December 1963 with feasting, dancing, military parades and air shows.

New Year's Festival of Lights - December 31
The secluded Karoo town of Nieu-Bethesda, in the Eastern Cape, stages the New Year's Festival of Lights, featuring an atmospheric parade that crosses cultural and religious barriers. Make your own lantern at the Bethesda Arts Centre before joining the walk.

Pure Pacha
On New Year's Eve, Pacha Sharm El Sheikh hosts Pure Pacha, the biggest and most glamorous party of the year. With a hypnotic light show in the background, DJs from the legendary Pacha Ibiza spin records until the wee hours.