Cape Town is socially progressive, diverse and inclusive, making it ideal for LGBTQ travelers.
Words by Marc Graser Photos by Janan Lagerwall, Patrick Ward and Thomas Bennie
You won’t look at a world map the same again after you’ve stood at the southern tip of Africa, taking in where the Atlantic and Indian oceans meet; wake up to the roar of lions in the savanna; or sip a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon in South Africa’s beautiful wine country.
All of that is accessible not far from Cape Town, a dynamic city on the shore of Table Bay, and a great place to start exploring the African continent if you’ve never visited before.
With its coastal beach vibe and friendly locals, Cape Town is like San Diego, just with the massive Table Mountain cutting through it. It’s socially progressive, diverse and inclusive, making it ideal for LGBTQ travelers.
This ruggedly handsome city boasts a number of popular LGBTQ-owned or friendly bars, clubs, and entertainment venues, and hosts queer festivals year round, and Cape Town Pride around the beginning of March.
De Waterkant, with its historic Cape Dutch architecture and trendy hotels and entertainment offerings, is essentially the epicenter for the LGBTQ+ scene in the city. Nearby Green Point is also popular, and home to Cape Town Stadium, built for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, where you can also catch a rugby match.
De Waterkant, with its historic Cape Dutch architecture and trendy hotels and entertainment offerings, is essentially the epicenter for the LGBTQ+ scene in the city.
After taking in the spectacular views from the top of Table Mountain, explore the beauty and diversity of Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden. You’ll also want to visit Clifton Beach, which is actually made up of four beaches, with the third a haven for LGBTQ sun seekers.
While Cape Town’s Mediterranean climate of dry summers and cool wet winters doesn’t lend itself to the traditional African bush experience, the Big Five—lion, leopard, rhino, elephant and buffalo—are only a couple of hours away. Aquila, Inverdoorn and Sanbona are three highly recommended wildlife reserves that offer safaris and allow you to stay overnight close to the animals.
For wine lovers, Stellenbosch, located near the Cape Fold Mountain range, and a 90-minute drive from Cape Town, is home to numerous vineyards and wineries, offering visitors the chance to experience tours and tastings of world-class wines.
While Reverie Social Table, Mzansi and Bell of the Beast are some of the city’s top restaurants, offering local flavors and dishes, adventurous eaters will also enjoy sampling goat head; eland, springbok and kudu antelope; crocodile tail; and ostrich at Mama Africa.