If you are gay or lesbian and want to travel to Africa, it is a good idea to conduct some study first. Homosexuality is banned in virtually every African country (with the exception of South Africa) and is a criminal crime in numerous popular tourist destinations such as Egypt, Morocco, and Kenya.
Be Informed about Gay and Lesbian Issues in Africa
Behind the Mask, a website dedicated to gay and lesbian issues in Africa is a great resource. When you click on a nation you want to visit, you’ll obtain the most up-to-date information on the legal status of homosexuality, arrests and other criminal behavior against homosexual visitors and residents, and other (depressing) details.
The Gully is another outstanding LGBT news website that covers Africa. You may read some very depressing accounts of what it’s like to grow up homosexual in Africa, as well as the most recent news on gay-bashing on the continent.
Despite restrictive legislation, many gays and lesbians visit Africa and have a wonderful time. Ordinarily, laws do not represent the sentiments of the people in the area. If you’re worried about discrimination, keep your distance or travel to South Africa. Another safe option is to join a company or tour that specializes in gay-friendly vacations in Africa. Here are several possibilities:
11 Days “Land of the Pharaohs” Tour of Egypt. This tour is run by Egypt Fun Tours, a gay-friendly tour operator, and covers the basic historical sights in Egypt. The tour includes Cairo, Luxor, a cruise down the Nile, Abu Simbel, and of course the Pyramids of Giza.
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 Egypt. This site offers gay guides to Cairo, Alexandria, Sharm-el Sheik, Aswan, Daha, and Siwa. The site also offers an extensive bulletin board separated per country. You have to be 18 years old to post.
Gay Morocco – Myths and Realities from a 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
Behind The Mask has a good bulletin board for gay and lesbians in Africa. There’s a general discussion board as well as separate ones for the ladies and the men.
GayEgypt has bulletin boards separated by country (Egypt, Morocco, and other Arab countries).
Lonely Planet Gay and Lesbian travelers bulletin board. Covers questions from all over the world, not just Africa.
• 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) are 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.