Premier Tours and Safaris - Premier Tours Africa Travel

Reputable, long-standing Africa tour operator embraces GLBT market

••• Cape of Good Hope, not far from Cape Town. photo by Andrew Collins

Run by Julian Harrison, one of the foremost experts on safari travel, and a former employee of the South African Tourism Board, Premier Tours (800-545-1910) is based in Philadelphia and has for nearly 30 years been providing some of the most knowledgeable, time-tested, and reliable custom-tour planning on Africa. Although Premier is a mainstream company that's been lauded by the likes of Charlize Theron and and Paul Newman, it's also a very gay-friendly tour operator that has enthusiastically embraced the gay and lesbian market.

In fact, if you contact Premier and explain that you're particular interested in seeing the GLBT side of Cape Town, South Africa, you'll be directed to staff who can provide you with specific ideas for your itinerary of gay and lesbian interest. For all Premier trips - which can include tours and safaris in such countries as Botswana, South Africa, Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Muaritius, Seychelles, Malawi, Kenya, Rwanda, and Uganda - the level of accommodation, dining, tour-guiding, and planning is extremely high.

Tour can last for as few as five days or as long as nearly three weeks, and Premier can also create custom itineraries. These adventures are geared toward upscale travelers, but, in fact, the prices for trips vary quite significantly and start at a surprisingly attractive price point. For instance, the particularly gay-popular week-long tour that includes time in both Cape Town and the exclusive Sabi Sands Game Reserve in Kruger National Park starts at around $1,350 per person (double-occupancy), not including airfare (but consider that U.S. currency against the South African rand has become highly favorable since 2008, and flights have come down considerably in price).

Trips to South Africa offer the only discernible interaction with gay culture in this part of the world. However, on the guided adventures put together by Premier, even visits to countries like Uganda and Zimbabwe, which have hostile attitudes toward gays and lesbians, are quite safe, assuming you conduct yourself with a fair degree of discretion.

Certainly, if you are planning a foray into one of these less hospitable countries, you're wise to do so with under the aegis of a company like Premier.

Premier works with an established network of tour guides, accommodations, and restaurants on the ground in each destination they travel to. The company follows sustainable and eco-conscious practices in conducting its tours, and they donate a portion of proceeds to the Wilderness Trust Fund. Although tour prices do not include airfare, the staff can work with you to find heavily discounted fares through consolidators and other low-cost means. Additionally, if you're interested in a particular tour but would like to add or subtract days, upgrade or downgrade to fancier or simpler accommodations, or work in other destinations or attractions along the way, the Premier staff is happy to work with you to create a fully customized adventure.