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Planning Gay Travel to South Africa

by Howie Holben

South Africa has long been a gay travel destination, even before it became a human rights frontrunner with the abolition of apartheid, having the first constitution in the world that outlaws discrimination based on sexual orientation and becoming the fifth country worldwide to legalize same-sex marriage. Of course, after these landmark events, the interest in traveling to South Africa significantly increased in both the gay and straight communities. Today South Africa is the most accepting and gay-friendly country on the African continent with a growing gay culture that stretches from the pristine beaches of the Western Cape Province to the exciting, fast-paced lifestyle of Gauteng and is an increasingly popular gay vacation destination.

Cape Town, Johannesburg and Pretoria are popular stops during South Africa gay vacations and each offers a variety of gay-friendly and gay-centered activities, establishments and events. Gay men who enjoy the scene will be particularly pleased with the vast array of establishments that cater exclusively to gay men, such as luxury guest houses that provide lodgings exclusively to gay men, the famous bathhouses found in Cape Town and the private, all-male nude bar, Camp David, in Pretoria. Gay culture in South Africa revolves largely around the gay male community; however family travelers and lesbians will also find a plethora of exciting opportunities for gay vacations in this country that is rich in history, culture and beautiful landscapes, including several organized tours that are gay-friendly or cater specifically to the gay and lesbian community.

Gay travelers interested in designing a gay vacaction around pride celebrations and gay events may want to plan their trip for September, which is South Africas gay pride month and offers a full calendar with multiple gay pride events, as well as the Out in Africa South African Gay & Lesbian Film Festival in both Johannesburg and Cape Town, which draws over 16,000 attendees from around the world. Those visiting in December will have the opportunity to experience Cape Towns Mother City Queer Project annual costume party, which draws more than 10,000 visitors. Gay men who enjoy a beach lifestyle will also want to check out Cliftons Third Beach and Sandy Bay nudist beach, which are very popular spots among gay men in Cape Town. There is also a gay area in Cape Towns Green Point where travelers will find a selection of gay-owned and gay-friendly eateries and establishments, as well as local gay publications like Outright and Exit, which list events and goings on in the area.

Dining options during a gay vacation to South Africa are plentiful with many choices that include options like the gay-owned Lolas 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 Emilys, an award winning Cape Town eatery offering South African cuisine, as well as a beer bar and wine bar.

Get the most out of South African gay holidays by working with a professional travel agency well-versed in gay travel to South Africa. Only a travel agency dedicated to gay travelers will be able to provide the up-to-date information and travel safety tips for specific areas in South Africa that are important to the gay and lesbian community.

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