Gay Travel Guide Southern Africa: Is Gay Traveling to Africa safe? This is probably the first question that crosses your minds. Well… the second biggest continent after Asia is one of those places on earth, we as openly gay traveling couple are not necessarily avoiding but definitely not having it high on our list due to several reasons. One of them and obviously one of the main reasons is that many countries are considered to be hostile to the LGBTQ+ community including jail sentence and the death penalty. Nevertheless, this does not apply to all African countries. In fact, there are countries in Africa, that are considered to be LGBTQ+ and gay-friendly and even hosting gay pride events already for years. We are talking about South Africa with its capital city Pretoria and the well-known cities Johannesburg and Cape Town. This May, we will travel to the city of the Cape of Good Hope exploring the so-called Mother City of South Africa including Table Mountain, the colored beach houses at the beaches of St. James, and, of course, the gay scene. Coming from Cape Town, we will board a plane to Namibia where we will visit Walvis Bay and Swapokmund before boarding the luxurious train “Pride of Africa” from Rovos Rail. Along the way, we will visit Etosha National Park, the Namibian Dessert Sossusvlei and other exciting stops in Namibia and South Africa (read more about it below). There are more beautiful countries to visit, for sure. But this is just the first trip with hopefully more to come. Enjoy planning your trip to Southern Africa and have a great time in Namibia and South Africa with our Gay Travel Southern Africa tips!
How to get to Southern Africa? We found some great flight options with flights from Europe and Amsterdam with KLM, one of our favorite airlines based in Amsterdam, with some pretty good return-flight deals starting from around €500 to Johannesburg and around €600 to Cape Town as well as Namibia.
The Royal Dutch Airline KLM makes the direct connection possible via a daily flight from Amsterdam to both Johannesburg and Cape Town and vice versa. You fly with KLM in a comfortable plane directly to one of the most beautiful cities in South Africa. There is a choice of Economy Class, Economy Comfort zone and World Business Class on board. During the pleasant flight, there is a choice of an extensive film and entertainment program while the friendly cabin crew provides various meals and drinks and before you know it you set foot on South African soil.
Flights Deals with KLM Royal Dutch Airlines
As usual, we are on the lookout for gay-friendly, comfortable and well-located accommodations. Starting with Cape Town, where we are planning to stay in Antrim Villa in Green Point, one of the neighborhoods many gay men choose to live in followed by a couple of days right at the beach staying at the Homestead Guesthouse, one of the St. James Guesthouses run by the family-run train company Rovos Rail. In Namibia, we booked a couple of days in Walvisbay or Swapokmund. During our train trip, our itinerary states a night at the Mokuti Lodge visiting Etosha National Park (hoping to get a glance of Africa’s wildlife) and at Sossusvlei Lodge right at the Entrance Gate to the Namib Naukluft Park of the Sossusvlei Dessert. After our trip, we will evaluate the gay-friendliness of the hotels in South Africa and Namibia. But of course, until then, you can check out some of the hotels and accommodation on the suggested websites below:
But let us be honest: Our main reason to travel to Southern Africa was the invitation by Rovos Rail for their Namibia Safari to test their nine-day and the 3.400-kilometer journey from the Namibian Atlantic in the west to the savannahs of the Highveld in South Africa in the east. Starting in the well preserved 19th-century German Hansa town of Swakopmund and Walvis Bay, we will travel in a north-eastern direction to the game-rich Etosha National Park where we will stay for a night. Next stop will be the oldest sand dune in the world which we will reach after a short flight to Sossusvlei, a stunning pan in the Namib Desert followed by an overnight stay. Back to civilization, we will explore Windhoek, Namibia’s capital city and a lively, cosmopolitan metropole with a strong German flavor. Leaving Windhoek behind, we will continue across the untamed beauty of the Kalahari Desert to Garas Park with its Quiver Tree Forest and the Giant’s Playground. The next day, the train “Pride of Africa” will stop close to another highlight for an off-train excursion to Fish River Canyon, the second in size to the Grand Canyon before we will traverse the stark vistas of the Northern Cape. Last stop on our gay-friendly trip with Rovos Rail will be Kimberley, the center of one of the world’s famous diamond rushes where we will get the opportunity to savor the 1870s atmosphere of a mining village. Last but not least, our trip will end in Pretoria, the capital city of South Africa and home base of Rovos Rail.
South Africa is undoubtedly the most LGBTQ+ and gay-friendly country on the African continent offering same-sex marriage and the right of joint adoption as the only African country. Despite the major South African cities like Cape Town, Johannesburg, or Pretoria where a lively LGBTQ+ community has been established, lesbian, gay and queer people are continuing to face homophobic violence especially in the countryside including reportedly ‘corrective rape’. We will visit Cape Town and its LGBTQ+ scene together with our gay guide RJ including Cafe Manhatten, Pink Panther Club, and the Drag Bar Beefcakes. Do you have more things we should definitely check out, test or include in our Gay Travel Guide Southern Africa about Cape Town?
Talking about Gay Travels to Africa, in Namibia, homosexual and queer people as well as same-sex couples are facing legal challenges and are officially not recognized nor protected. Especially sexual activities between two gay men are illegal and basically banned to privacy. Good to know: Any anti LGBTQ+ law has never been executed in Namibia so far. Nevertheless, in Namibia, sexual orientation, including homosexuality, of persons in work and employment are legally protected by a general prohibition of discrimination under the Namibian constitution. Also, the first gay pride parades have been successfully taken place in Windhoek, home of a small but growing LGBTQ+ community. Since we have not been in Namibia yet, this is just what we learned from research hoping to confirm the positive development after our visit.
Gay Travel Guide Southern Africa: Please consider our tips as suggestions with no guarantee that it still will be like that when you are traveling there. Though we did our research and all our opinions written in this article are honest, authentic and true. We would like to thank Rovos Rail, Incento, KLM, and the St. James Guesthouses for their invitation, support, and the possibility to experience Africa on a very special way. If you have any questions about your plans for traveling to Namibia or South Africa, follow us and send us an email or drop us a line on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, and Instagram. See you around the world and the next time in Walvis Bay, Windhoek, Johannesburg, and Cape Town!
Karl & Daan.
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