The Diani Regatta Festival is one of South Coast’s premier cultural feats
If you’re still around the coast or can spare a weekend this January, travel down to Diani for the annual regatta festival. The festival was first organised in a bid to promote and preserve the cultural traditions of Kenya’s south coast region by the South Coast Community Ecotourism Association (SCCEA). This year’s regatta festival will take place in Diani at the Alliance Safari Beach Hotel on the 12th of January 2020.
A regatta is a sporting event consisting of a series of boats and yacht races that attracts travellers, tourists and regatta enthusiasts from all over the world. Now in its 8th year, The Diani Regatta Festival also known as the Diani Ngalawa Regatta is the only event on the South Coast that showcases the local traditional culture. The sailors for this event are usually the local fishermen from along the beach who come together to race their Ngalawas (canoes with outriggers dug out of giant mango trees).
What to expect at the event
Interested in learning how to sail? The Diani Regatta Festival is your opportunity to get your sail on with the skilled local fishermen/sailors. But you can also watch the event from afar as you enjoy the various traditional drinks and meals on sale.
You will also have the opportunity to watch a show featuring traditional music and dance as well as a Lesso fashion show showcasing the Lesso or Kanga – a traditional fabric worn by women all along the coast of Kenya. The models are judged on their choice of colour combination and the elegance of their outfits. Like most fashion events, this is a fun and colourful event where tourists can learn how to use the fabric and try out new wrapping techniques.
In an age where culture is lost or forgotten, it is a one of a kind experience to witness an amalgamation of culture at its most vibrant along the beach.