South Africa is one of the best travel spots for LGBTQ+ travellers, and its history of LGBTQ+ rights has embraced locals and visitors for decades. Did you know LGBT discrimination was made illegal in 1996 in South Africa? Same-sex marriage was also made legal in 2006, which was long before other popular tourist destinations like the USA in 2015, Portugal in 2010, France and New Zealand in 2013, and Australia in 2017. We're sharing our top tips for LGBTQ+ travellers to South Africa.
“It's known as the 'Rainbow Nation' for more than one reason.” – Liane Golding, Marketing Consultant
1. Visit Cape Town
With an established community, Cape Town is one of the most popular gay travel destinations in the world. Described as ‘welcoming’ and ‘impressively gay-friendly’ by Two Bad Tourists, Cape Town’s diversity makes it a must for any visit to South Africa. The city is nestled in the embrace of iconic Table Mountain, and is brimming with cultural hotspots from renowned restaurants, historic sites like Robben Island, unique outdoor excursions and world-class (not to mention award-winning) luxury properties.
2. Choose The Best Gay-Friendly Accommodation
To ensure our clients always feel totally comfortable and embraced we like to support IGLTA Accredited™ properties across South Africa. IGLTA is the International LGBTQ+ Travel Association and works to promote equality and safety within LGBTQ+ tourism worldwide. They have a selection of IGLTA Accredited™ properties who have passed rigorous auditing to ensure they embrace and celebrate equality on all fronts, from their staffing to service. Some of our favourite accredited properties include Ellerman House, Birkenhead House and Royal Malewane.
3. Plan Your Visit During LGBTQ+ Celebrations
Time your trip to celebrate alongside locals and international visitors alike at Cape Town Pride, or to enjoy other thrilling LGBTQ+ events like Mother City Queer Project and Pink Loerie Mardi Gras & Arts Festival. A welcoming and inclusive community awaits!
4. Make Time For Nightlife
You won't regret immersing yourself in South Africa's nightlife scene, with the Mother City Cape Town leading the way. With a team of Cape Town natives happy to recommend the best spots to check out, you'll experience the best of what's on offer.
"For a classic queer-friendly nightclub experience you have to checkout Pink Candy, Honey & Dora host iconic drag brunches and Buddies Night Out is a great one to follow on social in the runup to your Cape Town visit as they regularly run pop-up block parties and events." Megan Phillipson, Marketing Coordinator
5. Plan Your Unmissable Experiences
With so much to see and do, you’ll want to find the right balance of making sure you don’t miss experiences high on your wishlist, whilst allowing time to be spontaneous and embrace opportunities that come your way. When visiting South Africa our Experts always recommend you write a list of the experiences you definitely want to do, we can then advise you on how to book so you make the most of your time.
“I always want to see and do plenty when I travel, but at a more relaxed pace so I don’t return feeling drained! For my South Africa journey last year I booked some things before I went out there, like a champagne sunset cruise overlooking Table Mountain. It was the perfect way to mark our first night in Cape Town. We also pre-booked our Robben Island visit and Franschhoek Wine Tram route, meaning we got to go on the days that suited us best.” Caroline Hegney, Marketing Manager.