Africa is gradually opening up to the gay and lesbian community and South Africa, particularly Cape Town, is top-of-mind for many LGBTQI+ travellers.
We understand that there may be challenges in travelling to some African countries who have not fully embraced gay rights yet; however, all the safari camps and lodges we work with host LGBTQI+ travellers regularly and are very safe destinations for the gay community. And Africa's extraordinary natural beauty, unique wildlife and the genuine warmth of the local people make an African safari a soul-enriching experience that should not be missed.
Every gay or gender non-conforming traveller is acutely aware of those awkward, uncomfortable moments that can add a sour note to a travel experience – an embarrassing hotel check-in when they realise that you have requested a double bed, a guide asking inappropriate questions or just a weird look from someone on the street. Whilst the situation has improved in much of the world, gay identity and relationships are still far from the norm in most of Africa. Fortunately, we have a large inventory of safari lodges, camps, hotels and guides that are sensitive to these issues and considerate of any special needs that you may have. We also have team members who are proud members of the community and local partners who are well-versed in gay-friendly travel experiences and can guarantee that you will be treated with respect and sensitivity wherever you go.
Choosing where to go
Let’s face it – we do not travel to Africa for the nightlife. It is a continent of amazing wildlife and birdlife, incredible landscapes, and many different cultures and traditions that are considered to be the cradle of humankind. Whilst South Africa has a very liberal attitude to its LGBTQI+ community, the rest of Africa takes a more conservative stance. But for the average traveller to Africa - whether gay or straight - being aware of different laws, cultures and religious beliefs that vary from country to country always goes a long way and ensures a smooth, fun and safe holiday. We have hand-picked local partners, guides, drivers and hotels and lodges that are fully open and welcoming to our LGBTQI+ guests, and will ensure that their safety is paramount and that they will be welcomed with the beautiful warmth and hospitality that greets all visitors to this amazing continent.
Based on feedback from our gay guests and our own personal experiences, here is a list of our favourite destinations in Africa for LGBTQI+ travellers:
South AfricaIt will come as no surprise that South Africa is first on our list. Not only were they the fifth country in the world to legalise gay marriage in 2006, they also boast vibrant gay communities in both Johannesburg and Africa’s so-called 'Pink City', Cape Town. Outside of these two main cities, the country offers amazing safari experiences in some of the most luxurious lodges in Africa, iconic train journeys, stunning winelands, and some of the world’s most beautiful natural scenery and coastlines. There is just so much to enjoy in this country. We suggest you start with a safari, explore the scenic Garden Route, hit the winelands, and then end up in Cape Town for an urban adventure.
RwandaAfter the 1994 Genocide, Rwanda achieved an amazing reconciliation between the different tribal groups to achieve a sense of unity and national Rwandan identity that is both unique and admirable to behold. This provides an insight into the incredible nature and openness of the Rwandan people. Today, Rwanda is by far the most progressive country in East Africa and its beautiful capital city of Kigali is possibly the coolest city on the continent, after Cape Town. Surrounded by lush hillsides and flowering trees, Kigali offers a burgeoning arts scene, world-class restaurants and a selection of fascinating museums, including the sobering Genocide Memorial. Outside of Kigali, Rwanda is the mother lode of the African experience, offering savannah wildlife safaris in its Akagera National Park, chimpanzee trekking in Nyungwe National Park, and mountain gorilla trekking along the famous Volcanoes National Park, the setting for Dian Fossey's ‘Gorillas In the Mist’.
BotswanaBotswana is the shining example of a modern African nation. After over 50 years of stable government and progressive social policies, Botswana has transformed itself into the most exclusive safari destination on the continent. Offering pristine landscapes from the wetlands of the Okavango Delta to the arid terrain of the Kalahari Desert, unrivalled wildlife viewing in exclusive parks, and luxury lodges that are considered some of the best in the world, this is the ultimate destination for any nature or wildlife enthusiast. For the LGBTQI+ traveller, your experience will be predominately confined to the most luxurious lodges in Africa where a sophisticated staff will welcome you with open arms. This is the perfect destination to feel safe, welcome and witness the best that nature has to offer.
KenyaKenya offers the traveller an impressive array of attractions from stunning and diverse landscapes, fascinating local cultures, and an abundance of rich wildlife viewing. Kenya has a very vocal and well-organised gay community who are actively campaigning their government for their legal status. Discretion is still the key in Nairobi; however, once you embark on your safari throughout this magical country, you will be under the impeccable care of our well-vetted guides and drivers, staying in luxury lodges staffed with teams of well-trained personnel who are experienced and will provide only the highest standard of service to all their guests without prejudice. Once Kenya gets under your skin, it will stay with you forever.
SeychellesWith white powdery beaches, crystalline waters and lush vegetation, this archipelago of 115 tropical islands is the epitome of a tropical paradise. For the gay traveller, it is also one of the most progressive countries in Africa, offering legal support for LGBT people against discrimination in the workplace. For the gay traveller, staying in an exclusive resort on one of these magical islands offers one of the most exclusive experiences on the planet. This is the ultimate in a romantic getaway, if not the perfect place for a honeymoon.
MozambiqueThis former Portuguese colony is one of the more tolerant destinations for the LGBTQI+ traveller. Local gay rights group, Lambda, has driven progress and the southern provinces have become much more liberal, making it the perfect choice for a beach destination after a safari experience in Southern Africa.
Rest assured that wherever you decide to travel, you will be safe and welcomed by our team of knowledgeable, fun, friendly and warm locals, all of whom are fully briefed on each one of our guests beforehand so that any preferences can be given special attention, to ensure that you will have the experience of a lifetime.
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We do not subscribe to the ‘one-size-fits-all’ philosophy. Sample itineraries and cost estimates are meant purely as a guide. To find out more, please contact one of our expert travel consultants to plan a customized itinerary based on your budget and interests.