If you are gay or lesbian and wish to travel to Africa it is wise to do a little research before you plan your trip. Homosexuality is illegal in almost every African country (bar South Africa) and is considered a criminal offense in several top tourist destinations like Egypt, Morocco, and Kenya.
Be Informed about Gay and Lesbian Issues in Africa
One of the few places to get information about gay and lesbian affairs in Africa is a list of web links collected by Indiana University GLBT Resources, Africa.
You can also check Wikipedia - LGBT Right By Country. Look down the list for the country you are interested in traveling to and you will get the latest information about the legal status of homosexuality, arrests and other criminal activity against homosexual tourists/locals and more (depressing) information.
Despite the discriminatory laws many gays and lesbians still travel to Africa and have a great time. Many Africans are socially conservative but very open and friendly. If you are afraid of being discriminated against then just be discreet or travel to South Africa. Another safe way to travel is with a group or tour that offers gay-friendly vacations in Africa. Here are some options:
Gay and Lesbian Tours to Africa
- Tours to South Africa from Gay Travel. This luxury tour includes Cape Town, Johannesburg and visits to several game lodges. Price per person starts at $3195.00.
- 7 Day Tour of Cape Town. The tour will show off all Cape Town has to offer in an extraordinarily gay-friendly environment. Dine on gourmet meals, marvel at the spectacular view from Table Mountain, enjoy the finest wines South Africa has to offer and to top it all off you can end the tour whale watching at Hermanus.
- Customized Tours of Morocco, Southern, and East Africa. Heritage Tours offers gay-friendly tours to Morocco, Southern, and East Africa - specializing in personalized itineraries that avoid the throngs of tourists. Customized tours offer a unique vacation experience, making the most of the culture and sights of each destination, perfect for the discerning traveler.
- Rhino Africa LGBT Division offers tailor-made trips, gay-friendly hotel listings, and travel tips for southern Africa.
- Gay 2 Afrika an American based tour company offers a wide range of tours and safaris to several destinations in East Africa, Southern Africa and the beautiful beaches of the Indian Ocean islands including Madagascar and the Seychelles.
- Hermes Tours is a gay and lesbian tour operator which offers several tours to Africa including Morocco, Kenya, and Uganda. These are comfortable, guided tours with a good mix of culture and adventure in a gay-friendly environment.
- OUT Adventures, a Canadian-based travel company offers gay-friendly tours to Morocco with set departure dates. Tours are 12 days and include Marrakech, Fes, Casablanca, Todra Gorge and the Sahara desert. Tour price starts at $2399.00 per person. Look for tours to South Africa starting in 2013.
Gay and Lesbian Travel Sites to Africa
If you prefer to travel independently there are also plenty of gay and lesbian travel sites to help you research your trip to Africa. Here are a few examples:
- Gay Morocco - Myths and Realities from the UK based Gay travel site. This is a good article about traveling to Morocco and what you can expect as a gay tourist.
- Gay Guide to Capetown from capetown.tv the city's top gay guide. Cape Town is probably the friendliest city in Africa for gays and lesbians. Gay and Lesbian rights are written into the South African constitution (the first country in the world to do so) so you can be out and proud without having to worry.
Of course, there are also plenty of sites offering bulletin boards for their members to meet other gay people from all over Africa. Given the fact that homosexuality is illegal in many countries it would really benefit you to get in touch with local gay men and lesbian women to find out where the gay-friendly bars, restaurants, and hotels are in the respective African countries.
Gay and Lesbian Travel Bulletin Boards
- Travelook.com is a gay and lesbian site geared to finding gay-friendly hotels, travel companions and more. Not Africa-specific but a good place to ask your Africa related questions and perhaps someone to travel with.
Tips For Gay and Lesbian Travelers to Africa
- Be discreet. African culture is generally socially conservative and public displays of affection (regardless of sexual orientation) is considered offensive. Hand holding between male friends is common but is just a sign of friendship.
- Be careful. If you are planning to meet local gay men or lesbian women be careful about where you go with them so you don't end up getting robbed or worse. Remember most Africans are much poorer than you are so sex may come at a price.
- Be safe. Always use precautions if you are planning to have sex while traveling in Africa. HIV/AIDS is very prevalent especially in East, Central and Southern Africa.