November 15, 2006                     

SOUTH Africa became the first country on the continent to legalise marriage for gay and lesbian couples when lawmakers gave their final approval to controversial legislation. A total of 230 lawmakers voted for the civil union Bill after a stormy debate at the Parliament in Cape Town, while only 41 opposed the measure.

“In breaking with our past, we need to fight and resist all forms of discrimination and prejudice, including homophobia,” Home Affairs Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula told MPs in the debate before the vote.

The  Mother City of Africa, and the Western Cape, an area which is regarded as one of the most beautiful regions in the world. The City is a rare cultural gem, resulting from the amalgamation of Indonesian, French, Dutch, British and German settlers, the local Bushman and Hottentot tribes and the Bantu tribes from the north. 

Like Seattle, San Francisco and Sydney, Cape Town shares the magical combination of water, culture and geographic beauty that make for an extraordinary visit. Add to that endless beaches, supersexy locals and a gay-friendly vibe wired deep in the country’s constitution, and Cape Town seems tailor-made for an exotic, gay-friendly getaway. Cape Town has become one of the great international gay destinations.
Cape Town’s queer tribes are rich and varied, with different events and venues catering to their needs. The international stereotypical GWM (gay white male) subculture exists here as elsewhere, with a mix of muscle men, fashion victims, fitness freaks, and a handful of drag queens. Local lesbian life is more low-key — more along the lines of ceramics classes and having meetings about making documentaries about women.



The impressive presence of Table Mountain, flanked by the legendary Devil’s Peak and historical Signal Hill, stands proudly above the city. Beautiful white sandy beaches along a peaceful coastline frame the Cape Peninsula, which is famed for its unique floral kingdom, bountiful rivers, vleis and dams and magnificent countryside. The surrounding area extends far into the winelands, green in summer and red-gold in autumn.

 Best Beaches — Clifton’s Third Beach is where you’ll find international male models parading in garments so tight you can tell what religion they are. Sandy Bay is Cape Town’s nudist beach, with discreet cruising at the far end of the main beach. But beware: The freezing ocean will bring you down to size.

Recommended Guesthouses — There are a variety of options to be had in De Waterkant Village,which is situated in the heart of the Queer Quarter, within easy walking distance of clubs and bars. Amsterdam Guest House, 19 Forest Rd. (tel. 021/461-8236;, is an extremely popular men’s-only guesthouse situated on the slopes of the city, with a pool, Jacuzzi, sauna, and the like. Parker Cottage, Carstens, Tamboerskloof (tel. 021/424-6445; is a neat, graciously decorated Victorian home away from home that will suit the older traveler.
Alternatively, you can peruse the options listed earlier in the book, all of which are gay-friendly.


Writer Harry Preston, said “After arriving in Cape Town, I checked with Gay esCape, the local gay tourist bureau and was referred to T’Groenezicht, a gay guest house, one of several dozen in the city. This establishment is an old Dutch mansion overlooking the city, built a hundred years ago, and has a pool, a sauna and clean, comfortable rooms each with private bath. Included in the daily rate was a sumptuous breakfast, all for 220 Rand a night, the equivalent of less than forty dollars! Believe me, dollars can buy you a great time in Cape Town.”

The city’s tourism authority has put its weight behind attracting gay tourists to the city. “Cape Town is the gay capital of Africa and we hope that some day it will become the gay capital of the world,” Sheryl Ozinsky, manager of Cape Town Tourism, has been quoted as saying. Guides such as the Cape Gay Guide booklet offers gay travellers information on where to go and what to do.