Tips for Gay and Lesbian Travelers in South Africa
South Africa’s constitution outlaws any discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, making it one of the most progressive in the world. Big cities are gay friendly, and Cape Town, often called the gay capital of Africa, was voted the second-largest gay capital in the world. For a comprehensive listing of gay-friendly or gay-only places and events, accommodations, adventure activities, tours, and entertainment, visit www.capetown.tv. Gay Pages, a Yellow Pages of sorts, is South Africa’s largest and longest-running directory for gay and lesbian people; you may also want to refer to the newcomer Pink Pages (www.gaysouthafrica.org.za), though the focus in the latter is more on places to stay. For a host of up-to-the-minute news, as well as such opportunities as SMS dating, look at www.Q.co.za.
The Western Cape is a great area to tour by car, with gay-run and gay-friendly lodgings in myriad little villages in the Winelands, coast, and Karoo (Barrydale has even been fondly nicknamed “Marydale”). Upmarket lodges and camps in private game reserves are equally accepting. The same cannot be said of countries bordering South Africa, however. Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe is a virulent homophobe, and homosexuality is effectively a criminal offense, so be discreet if visiting here or Zambia (though the towns adjoining the Falls are pretty international in their outlook). For more information, visit The International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association (www.iglta.org), the trade association for the gay and lesbian travel industry. It offers an online directory of gay- and lesbian-friendly travel businesses; go to their website and click on “Members.”
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.