There’s Salsa in Africa?!?!?! Yes there is and it’s bigger than ever.

I love Salsa Festivals. However, living all the way in South Africa means I don’t get to attend as many festivals as I would like. A plane ticket costs between $1000 – $2000 to travel to Europe or the US depending on the time of year and location. As a result, every year I have to sit down and carefully select a festival or 2 or 3 that I know will deliver a unique satisfying experience. I can vividly remember the first Salsa Festival I ever attended; It was 2011 and the festival was actually a Salsa cruise down the Mediterranean. We kicked off in Venice, then made our way down to Croatia, Greece and Turkey. When we hit Croatia, we stopped off for a Salsa party that was so amazing it begun my love affair with Croatia and now, that is the only Country that is guaranteed to appear annually on my list of festivals to attend.


3 Years down the line (and 14 festivals under my belt), my love for congresses only continues to grow.


Why do I love festivals so much? Lots of reasons, but let me put down just a few:


1. I get to dance with all the people who inspire me. When you live in Africa, you watch a lot of you-tube videos of all the pros and these are the people who inspire you to learn and grow. To attend an event where you can take workshops from these instructors, social dance with them or even just have a drink – that feeling is priceless.


2. The unfathomable amount of unknown Great Dancers. One of the things I love the most about Congresses is you will never stop being surprised by people and you never know where that surprise moment will come from. As human beings we usually judge a book by its cover and a person’s dance ability based on things like styling, posture, dance shoes etc. However the most amazing dances I have ever had have usually been with the people I least expected. There is nothing better than travelling thousands of miles across the World, walking up to a total stranger, asking them to dance and then having a connection that words cannot even begin to describe. This feeling is priceless.


3. You get to see the World. If you plan your congresses carefully, you could become a World traveller dancing and sightseeing the whole World one congress at a time. You meet people from so many places and walks of life who just like you have an insane love and passion for this thing called Salsa. There really is no better way to travel and see the World in my opinion.


So, being all the way in Africa, why am I writing to you about Congresses? What’s the relevance with what’s happening on the Continent? Well, the answer is simple. I decided to do some research into the number of festivals that happen in Africa and even I was surprised. If you were to do a survey about how many festivals were in Africa, the majority of people will say 1 – Marrakesh. Others would say 2, including Cape Town.


The Cape Town Salsa Festival is now slowly making its way onto the big Congress scene.  Only being in its 2nd year, this is definitely a festival you want to keep an eye out for.


Now my question to you. Have you ever thought of visiting a country in Africa? If the answer is yes, then why not do that and combine it with a Salsa Festival?


I did some research and below are some of the festivals happening in Africa for the rest of the year. I have also included, the dates, a link where I could find one and the name of the artists who will be attending.


Afro Latin dance festival in Egypt. (17 – 25 Oct)

Artists: Leon Rose.


Luanda Salsa Festival (12 – 16 Nov) Angola

Artists: Troy and Brittney, Alien Ramirez.


Cape Town Salsa Festival (20 – 24 Nov) South Africa

Artists: Terry and Cecile, Karel Flores, Magna Gopal, Alien Ramirez, Mark-Anthony, Troy and Brittney.


Accra Afro Latin Salsa Salsa Festival (28 -30 Nov)

Artists: Tony Pirata, Troy and Brittney, Vito & Stefania


Africa Salsa Congress, Ivory Coast. (May 2015)


West African Salsa Congress (unknown) Nigeria


There are apparently also festivals in Tanzania and Kenya and others. You know, I actually wonder how much more are out there that I have never even heard of? Have no illusion, its real hard to make a congress work in Africa. The distances are far and costs, expensive. None of this helps when the average income is so low that most people can’t even afford the passes. Overall though, I am  real excited about these events and others coming up because they bring this ‘thing’ that I am so passionate about closer and at a much cheaper price than travelling overseas.


Overall, I am curious to see what the future of African Salsa congresses hold, till we get an answer – I hope to see you on the dance floor here in Africa or somewhere else in the World.


Article Written By: Chilly Alisar

Chilly Alisar is a Salsero based in Cape Town, South Africa. He writes a blog with lots of insights and information on all things salsa called and is also a contributor to

He loves Salsa, Bachata and Kizomba and runs a school called Alisar Dance Company. As a member of All Out Salsa, he is also one of the Organisers of the Cape Town Salsa Festival and Promoters of ‘TEAM SA’ who work to encourage South Africans to travel and attend salsa congresses all over the World.