Africa is not a single bucket-list destination, but a continent rich with diversity, heritage, colour and of course, incredible landscapes and wildlife. Since 2002, our passionate team has helped countless LGBT couples and families make their African safari dreams a reality. Every Mahlatini experience is 100% tailormade and our travel experts will plan the perfect trip centred on the best gay-friendly destinations and properties.
Some parts of Africa are more welcoming of LGBT visitors than others and unfortunately, some still have less progressive stances to LGBT rights, compared to the US and Europe. South Africa’s 1996 Constitution specifically protects full and equal rights for LGBT people and legalised same-sex marriages back in 2006 – the first African country to do so and the fifth globally. However, African culture is generally very conservative and public displays of affection are often considered offensive, regardless of a couples’ sexual orientation.
Our travel experts are on hand to address any concerns about travelling to any of our destinations. The vast majority of our African safari partners will 100% cater for same-sex guests and we’ve had fantastic feedback from LGBT clients returning from South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, Seychelles, Rwanda and more.
“At Mahlatini, we pride ourselves in personally choosing the right fit for each client journey. We know that creating a LGBT friendly itinerary means a little extra planning but you can trust our team to plan a beautifully crafted holiday, with your safety as a top concern. Even with some destinations, such as South Africa, particularly welcoming to the LGBT community, our advice is always to act discreetly; appreciate the local culture and be sensitive to their values.” – Nikki, Mahlatini Sales Manager
Best LGBT-Friendly African Destinations
- South Africa – One of the most diverse travel destinations on earth offering Big 5 safaris, jaw dropping scenery, modern city life and endless adventure.
- Rwanda – A true ‘off-the-beaten-track’ experience guaranteed to bring out the explorer in you. Home to rare mountain gorillas and considered a leader in East Africa for its progressive steps towards LGBT rights.
- Seychelles – With exclusive resorts and private islands, the Seychelles is the definition of barefoot luxury.
- Kenya – One of Africa’s most famous and prized wildlife destinations with endless savannahs, fascinating Masai culture, snow-capped mountains, flamingo-filled lakes and pristine beaches. It is worth noting that legislation for LGBT couples is restrictive, however we have had many LGBT clients travel to Kenya and come back having loved their experience as our property partners are ultra-luxe and private.
Best LGBT-Friendly Safari Lodges
Singita, Sabi Sands
Nestled in the privately owned Sabi Sands Reserve, Singita properties are the ‘crème de la crème’ when it comes to safari. Renowned across Africa for jaw-dropping interior style, uncompromising luxury and outstanding hospitality. Whichever Singita property you choose we can guarantee you won’t be disappointed. Singita Boulders Lodge and Ebony Lodge give guests the perfect balance of raw nature, Big 5 game sightings and stylish, ultra-luxe accommodation.
Phinda, Phinda Game Reserve
The award-winning andBeyond Phinda Game Reserve in the KwaZulu Natal covers 23,000 hectors of land and 7 unique ecosystems. The reserve is famous for close-up elephant sightings, rare black rhino, the elegant (yet elusive) cheetah and other Big 5 sightings. Aside from spectacular wildlife, Phinda properties offer authentically stylish and luxury suites, with warm hospitality and spectacular views. For extra indulgence and privacy we recommend Phinda Mountain Lodge, Vlei Lodge or Rock Lodge as all their suites boast private plunge pools on their view decks. Perfect for a post-game drive dip and wanderlust worthy pictures.
Tengile River Lodge, Sabi Sands
With an unfenced border to the world-renowned Kruger National Park, andBeyond Tengile River Lodge sits on the river bank with breath-taking views from all angles. With the added exclusivity of being situated in the Sabi Sands Private Game Reserve, this is one of the richest wildlife areas on the African continent. Big 5 game viewing is almost guaranteed! The property itself is pure elegance. It has a warm and contemporary style sure to capture the attention of even the harshest critic, and was built and is run with conservation at its heart. A home-away-from-home, think spacious suites, sunken lounge areas, bathrooms with forest views and a private lap pool on your viewing deck.
Magashi Camp, Akagera National Park
It is worth noting that although not illegal in Rwanda, homosexuality unfortunately can be considered a taboo in some areas. However, Rwanda is considered a leader in East Africa for its progressive steps towards LGBT rights and Wilderness Safaris ultra-luxe Magashi Camp is the perfect base to explore the thrills of Akagera National Park. With architecture and interiors inspired by traditional Rwandan culture, Magashi offers all that is expected of a quintessential luxury safari property, and more! Magashi also offers the ideal opportunity to combine a safari with an extraordinary gorilla trekking experience in Volcanoes National Park.
Looking for more from your trip? Cape Town, the Cape Winelands and a beach stay are the perfect compliment to a luxury safari. Some of our recommended properties to extend your LBGT friendly safari are:
Six Senses Zil Pasyon, Seychelles
A tiny speck in the Indian Ocean surrounded by flawless, white, powder-like sand… welcome to Felicite Island. Six Senses Zil Pasyon offers genuine seclusion with luxuriously appointed pool villas set within the spectacular tropical landscape, complimented by renowned service and hospitality. When staying at Zil Pasyon you will very much get the holistic ‘island experience’ with 24 hour butler service, an Ocean Kitchen, wine vault, private dining options, magnificent spa and endless water sports and leisure activities.
Ellerman House, Cape Town
Perched on the slopes of Lion’s Head in the prestigious Bantry Bay area of Cape Town, Ellerman House has one of the most spectacular views in Cape Town. Privately owned, Ellerman is a showcase of outstanding accommodation, cuisine, wine and hospitality. No two rooms are the same and the property is closed to the public, ensuring guests have an unparalleled level of privacy and luxury for a city property. Ellerman boasts a spa, art gallery and an intimate, luxury base to explore colourful Cape Town and enjoy its outstanding nightlife.
Delaire Graff Lodge and Spa, Winelands
Each lodge at Delaire Graff Lodge and Spa is sumptuously decorated and includes its own private plunge pool, butler’s kitchen and sitting area. The estate itself is home to two outstanding restaurants, a state of the art winery, spa and private cinema. All nestled between iconic mountain views and over looking the vast vineyards of Stellenbosch. It wouldn’t be a trip to the Cape Winelands without talking about wine, and Delaire Graff delivers. The estate produces exceptional merlot, chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon vintages, which can all be enjoyed in their opulent wine lounge.
To begin your next great journey and learn more about LGBT friendly safari destinations, get in touch with our multi-award winning travel experts below: