Argungu Festival: Africa's Biggest Fishing Celebration

Celebrating unity and life, join thousands of fishermen at the traditional four-day event.

By Tour Nigeria

Giwan Ruwa by Tour NigeriaTour Nigeria

Welcome to Argungu Fishing Festival

Argungu fishing festival is a way of life for the people of Kebbi State. The festival preserves tradition and promotes conservation. The annual festival takes place in February and marks the end of farming season and start of the fishing season. The festival is a four-day cultural event. It begins with an agricultural show, water sport displays, traditional Kebbawa entertainments and ends with the spectacular fishing competition in the Mata Fadan River.

Young Kebbawa (2020)Tour Nigeria

Argungu
Argungu town is located in Kebbi State, northwestern Nigeria, the town is the seat of the Argungu Emirate and home of the largest fishing festival in Africa. The people are warm and receptive.

Thousands of fishermen scramble for freshwater fish (2020)Tour Nigeria

The History
The Argungu fishing festival began in 1934, marking the end of centuries old hostility between Sokoto Caliphate and Kebbi Kingdom. The festival quickly became a celebration of life and unity.

Matan Fada River Sacrifice (2020)Tour Nigeria

The River Sacrifice
Before the commencement of the fishing festival, the custodian of the river 'Sarkin Ruwa' ensures the river is safe by performing sacrifices to the river oracle to gain its permission.

The chief priest (2020)Tour Nigeria

Sarkin Ruwa
Like his fathers before him, the Sarkin Ruwa is the official custodian of the Mata Fada River. This responsibility is passed down for generation. Without the consent of the Sarkin Ruwa, no fish can be caught. To ensure the river is safe for fishing, he dispels the crocodiles resident in the river and invites all the fishes in the rivers connected to Mata Fada river.

Argungu Festival by Tour NigeriaTour Nigeria

Matan Fada River
The river is a source of pride to the people of Argungu, it serves as a source of food and irrigation for their farm lands. Its about 50 meters wide and about 50 feet deep.

A fisherman inspects his net (2020)Tour Nigeria

A fisherman examines his net.

Fishermen rush into the Matan Fada River (2020)Tour Nigeria

Race To Fish
At the sound of a gun, thousands of fishermen race towards the mata fadan river, leaping into the water to begin their search for the winning freshwater fish.

Male Drummers (2020)Tour Nigeria

Music and Rhythm
As the fishermen leap into the water, the drummers begin to beat their drums. Filling the air with authentic Kebbawa traditional rhythm.

A Female Drummer (2020)Tour Nigeria

Although women are not allowed to participate in the fishing competition, they are not left out of the drummers group. The drums are traditional Kebbawa drum designs, made of cow skin.

A fisherman floating on his gourds (2020)Tour Nigeria

A fisherman floating on his gourds while searching for a catch.

Fishing in Argungu (2020)Tour Nigeria

Fishermen check their catch.

Thousands of Fishermen (2020) by Oluwasegun OgunleyeTour Nigeria

Over 50,000 fishermen from northern Nigeria and surrounding countries participate in the fishing competition annually.

A fisherman holding two hand nets (2020)Tour Nigeria

A fisherman holding up his hand net.

The Music Boat (2020)Tour Nigeria

The Sarkin Ruwa and the drummers move to and fro the mata fada river on their canoes, entertaining the fishermen as they search the river for the winning Giwan Ruwa.

Big fish (2020)Tour Nigeria

Giwan Ruwa
Giwan Ruwa 'Fish' from the mata fadan river can weigh up to 75 kilograms. The fisherman with the biggest catch wins the fishing competition.

Credits: All media
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