Gay Cape Town, South Africa

Author: , June 5th, 2012
Victororia and Alfred Waterfront with Table Mountain in the background

Victororia and Alfred Waterfront with Table Mountain in the background

Unlike most of Africa, South Africa is gay friendly and embraces the freedom we all should feel when we travel. In 1996 South Africa amended its constitution which now reads that people are offered protection from discrimination based on race, gender or sexual orientation.

Cape Town in particular has become an increasingly popular destination for all travelers. It is beautiful, vibrant, historic and interesting. A full week in this city will not sate the appetite of an ardent traveler.

Adventure

There is the mountain to climb, although I would take the cable car to the top of Table Mountain. On a clear day you can see for miles. There are sharks to view from a cage hanging over the side of a boat. Ok so I’ll be watching from the boat, not getting me in that cage but for the adventure seeker this is a real thrill. There are helicopter flips, whale watching (in season), lying on the sun drenched beaches or riding a horse on the Noordhoek beach. Cape Town is full of adventure and entertainment.

 

Winelands of Cape Town and surrounds

Winelands of Cape Town and surrounds

Wine

Wine tasting could be within a cab ride of the city center at Constantia. Alternatively, a full day out in the wine country such as Stellenbosch or Franschoek is a must. Maybe think about a picnic lunch wine tasting afternoon on horseback near Franschoek. South  Africa has award winning wines and if you travel a little further in land to Oudsthoorn and Calitzdorp you will marvel at the superb quality port.

Night Life

There is a collection of areas that offer gay only clubs especially in De Waterkant area, but generally any nightlife in Cape Town is easy going and no distinction is made between gay and straight patrons.

Food

South African cuisine is influenced by so many different flavors and cultures that it is difficult to categorize it. However, I can promote their incredible sea food and the spicy Malay dishes are to die for. Much of the sea food is caught locally. You might want to try a cheese and wine or chocolate and brandy pairing tour. For folks who love to cook there are a few operators who will take you on a cullinary tour of Cape Town and you could book some cooking classes.

Camps Bay Cape Town

Camps Bay Cape Town

Exclusively Gay Accommodation

Again as with all the attractions and entertainment in Cape Town, accommodation is gay friendly. There are some gay owned or gay run, gay exclusive accommodation options in Cape Town.

The best value accommodation is the guest houses. They run anything from R400 (US $ 55) per person for a moderate say 6 room guest house to a larger 9 room guest house with views that can cost in the region of R700 ($95) per person. These are high season prices and will often include a full breakfast and use of the amenities. You should always ask for special deals such as long stay discounts or off season dates and rates.

Staying at a gay run guest house offers the guest an added encyclopedia of information about the city. The management will know just where to send you for the best shopping, the best restaurants and other entertainment.

Celeste Wilson is an African Specialist and co founder of an African Travel Guide called www.findtripinfo.com

Uganda and Gay Rights

Author: , April 27th, 2012

Uganda

It is a sad day in our world when we hear about persecutions and threats against people simply because they have a different way of living or belief system. This is abundantly clear in Uganda where gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Ugandans fear for their lives and live in hiding. Homosexual ‘activity’ is illegal under the Penal Code Amendment (Gender References) Act 2000 which changed the wording of, ‘any male’ to ‘any person’, to include women.

The Ugandan authorities will say that it goes against African culture. Yet, there is an estimated, half a million LBGT folks in Uganda.  The government has gone as far as introducing a bill that will sentence LGBT ‘repeat offenders’ to life in prison if convicted. This is not a new law in Uganda; it is an inherited one that has been retained since Uganda was under British colonial rule in the 19th century. The punishment then, was life imprisonment if convicted.

The laws have been cemented with sidebar laws that include prohibition against same sex marriages. This law was signed and included into the Ugandan constitution on September 29th, 2005.

In 2009 another blow hit the LGBT community and the noose tightened. The Uganda Anti Homosexuality Bill was introduced. It dictated that the people of Uganda were to report any homosexual behavior within 24 hours of witnessing it or face 3 years in prison. The Ugandan government would also ask for the extradition of any of its citizens living, working or visiting abroad, who are in a same sex relationship. Unbelievable!! To add insult to injury any individuals or companies who promote LGBT rights would be penalized.

All of this is a gross violation of human rights. LGBT and human rights defenders live in constant fear and rightly so. David Kato founded the Sexual Minorities Uganda organization in 2004 but was beaten to death in January 2011. The fight is still on and the organization has a new leader, Frank Mugisha.

What a pity that a beautiful country such as Uganda is stifled by stringent laws that frighten and threaten its citizens. It is also unfortunately not the only African country with laws against the LGBT community. This link will take you to a fairly comprehensive list of countries in Africa and elsewhere, which highlights their stance on the subject. Scroll down to the title within the article: LGBT-related laws by country or territory. Notice all the pretty green ticks for South Africa, one of the few African countries that is Gay friendly.

Uganda is truly a remarkable country with many attractions that will draw millions of visitors. Such as visits to the endangered mountain gorillas, but unfortunately it is not welcoming to all.

Celeste Wilson is a travel specialist and co-founder of a comprehensive internet guide to travel in Africa. Visit http://www.findtripinfo.com/ to learn more about Africa as a travel destination.

 

 

The Pink Loerie Mardi Gras and Arts Festival 2012

Author: , March 29th, 2012

The Pink Loerie Mardi Gras is an annual weekend set aside to celebrate the Gay community, celebrate life and simply enjoy a long weekend of entertainment, comedy, music, dance and fun. It all started in 2000 in the little coastal town of Knysna, South Africa on the Garden Route, and has blossomed into a fully fledged fun extravaganza. Growing in size and popularity year after year, it has become a calendar favorite.




Knysna is located on the southern coast of South Africa about 6 hours drive east of Cape Town on the N2 highway, or a 45 minute flight to George and then 30 minute drive to Knysna. Although small it has become a favorite vacation destination for many South African and international visitors and has been voted “South Africa’s Favorite Town of the year”, twice. Measuring the flamboyant hospitality and energy exuded at the Mardi it is not surprising.  The entire town transforms into a festival as businesses decorate their windows in a show of support for the Pink Loerie.

This year the Pink Loerie Mardi Gras will be held from April 26 to May 1st. The theme is “Ain’t no closet big enough!” and promises to deliver the same quality of entertainment that it has become so famous for.

The Mardi Gras sends a message to the world that Gay people are free to celebrate their lives in South Africa. The event is not only about the festivities but also about giving back and a number of charities benefit from auctions and fundraisers held during the festival. It is a celebration of fun, life and laughter for anyone who loves to see vibrant colors, hear world class music and enjoy the arts.

Events are scheduled throughout the weekend and include:

A flea market (street market),  art exhibitions,  a gay pride street parade, competitions, comedy shows, drama, cabaret shows, live music, dancing and parties around every corner.

Think pink, think Mardi Gras, visit Knysna, you’ll never forget the experience.

Celeste Wilson is an Africa travel specialist and co-founder of a comprehensive internet guide to travel in Africa. Visit http://www.findtripinfo.com/ to learn more about Africa as a travel destination.