HJDS Travel Group

Gay Destinations: South Africa

by on Apr.08, 2011, under Vacations

  • Sumo

South Africa has had a tumultuous human rights history, but even before reversing course with the elimination of apartheid, penning the worlds first constitution to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and being among the first nations to legalize same-sex marriage, South Africa was popular for gay vacations. Since these history-making events, South Africa has become even more popular with both straight and gay travelers. As Africa’s most gay-friendly country, South Africa enjoys a thriving gay culture that spans the country from Gauteng with its exhilarating nightlife to the exquisite beaches of Western Cape and continues to grow as an enticing gay vacation destination.

Gay vacations to South Africa often include stops or entire stays in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Pretoria where gay and lesbian travelers will find an array of gay-centered and gay-friendly events, activities and establishments. There are a wide variety of establishments that cater specifically to gay men, including guest houses exclusively for gay men, Camp David in Pretoria, which is a private all-male nude bar, and the bathhouses ” called steam baths or steam saunas ” in Cape Town. As in many areas, gay culture in South Africa centers primarily around activities and establishments for gay men; however, lesbians and families also have many opportunities for fun-filled gay vacations in this culturally- and historically-rich country, including gay-friendly tours organized by companies dedicated to working with the gay and lesbian community.

September is gay pride month in South Africa, making this a great time to visit for gay men and lesbians looking for a gay tour that includes pride celebrations and a variety of other events, such as the Out in Africa South African Gay & Lesbian Film Festival, which takes place in both Johannesburg and Cape Town and draws over 16,000 international attendees. Cape Town is also the home of the annual Mother City Queer Project costume party that brings over 10,000 international visitors to South Africa each December. Of course, Cape Town is also home to Clifton’s Third Beach and nearby Sandy Bay nudist beach, both of which are extremely popular hangouts for gay men, and also has a gay village offering many gay-owned and gay-friendly establishments in Green Point. Picking up a copy of local gay publications like Exit and Outright will keep travelers up on what is going on during their stay and provide additional information about the best places to hang out or grab a bite to eat in a gay-friendly restaurant.

Dining options during gay vacations are plentiful with many choices that include options like the gay-owned Lola’s vegetarian caf in Cape Town, dining in an old farmhouse on a 21-acre farm at the Bellgables Country Restaurant in Johannesburg, or fine dining at gay-friendly Emily’s, an award winning Cape Town eatery offering South African cuisine, as well as a beer bar and wine bar.

To ensure a great gay travel experience in South Africa, enlist the assistance of a professional travel agency when planning your trip. Travel agents that regularly organize gay trips to South Africa will have up-to-date information about the best places to stay, eat and play, as well as safety tips for exploring in areas that may not be as accepting.

Travel to South Africa thoughts penned by Howie Holben. His company, Spirit Journeys, is a gay vacations firm. Spirit Journeys presents spiritual gay travel throughout the world.

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