Gay Vacations in Cape Town, South Africa

Aerial view of Victoria and Alfred Waterfront at night in Cape Town, South Africa
Victoria and Alfred Waterfront at night in Cape Town, South Africa (Martin Harvey/Digital Vision/Getty)

Cape Town Highlights

  • Go on safari near Cape Town. Although far-away Kruger National Park and other wildlife areas are bigger and better, there is a growing number of game reserves a couple of hours from Cape Town.
  • Use common sense when it comes to safety in Cape Town. As in any other large city, don't walk around alone at night or wear expensive jewelry.
  • Don't be freaked out when people refer to themselves as "coloreds." It's a common term used by descendants of slaves of Malay ancestry (as opposed to the local Africans), who were brought from Indonesia, Madagascar, and Mozambique.

This far-flung city at the edge of the world's most intriguing continent is a modern, thriving metropolis with postcard-picture vistas of the Table Mountain mesa dominating the cityscape. Cape Town's historic architecture, gorgeous natural setting, and summertime beach culture—not to mention its mesmerizing African vibe—make it one of the most unique and popular gay travel destinations on earth. It's also a great base for exploring the Cape Peninsula, the surrounding estates and vineyards of the wine country, the friendly African townships just on the city’s outskirts, and the lush Garden Route. A popular gay nude beach called Sandy Bay is a short drive from downtown.

South Africa has same-sex marriage and LGBT rights enshrined in its constitution, making American travelers green with envy. No wonder gay foreigners have been snatching up cheap mansions on the hills of the upscale Camps Bay area of Cape Town, making it a mini South Beach in Africa. Find gay-friendly accommodations in the very queer, Soho-ish Green Point area and the nearby historic, gay village of De Waterkant in the heart of the Old Malay quarter, on the slopes of Signal Hill. Annual must-see city events include The Mother City Queer Project Festival (Cape Town's gay pride fest held in December), and the flamboyant Pink Loerie Festival (in nearby Knysna in late April/early May), which calls itself the only Mardi Gras on the African continent. Despite ongoing social and economic struggles within South Africa in the 21st century, the party in the “Mother City” rarely subsides.


Published: 17 Jul 2008 | Last Updated: 17 Aug 2012
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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