CAPE TOWN, S. AFRICA
Africa’s pinkest city is a glam-to-the-max destination that any GLBT traveller should have on their bucket list. De Waterkant, the queer precinct, is welcoming to everyone, from Cape Town’s finest drag queens to leathered-up Muscle Marys. Throughout the year the city hosts several gay festivals and events.
GLBT Rights & Challenges
During apartheid, gay male erotic contact was illegal. (Female same-sex conduct never was, however: as in other formerly British colonies such activities were considered simply unthinkable!) With democracy, South Africa became the first country in the world to enshrine gay and lesbian rights in its constitution. There’s an equal age of consent and GLBT people are legally entitled to marry, too.
Sadly, alternative lifestyles are not embraced by all South Africans. In 2014, a 21-year-old black gay man was brutally murdered in a gay hate crime in the Western Cape. It is not uncommon for lesbians in black communities to be subjected to 'corrective rape'. Anti-hate-crime legislation exists, but the laws are rarely put into action.
In the News
Happier news recently in Cape Town has been the establishment of the Pride Shelter Trust (www.pridesheltertrust.com), Africa's first autonomous GBLT crisis centre, which has been in operation since 2011.
Cape Town's lesbian community has been striking out with the women-only parties M.I.S.S (Make It Sexy Sisters; www.facebook.com/MISSmakeitsexysisters), and the Unofficial Pink Parties, which are lesbian-run but welcoming to everyone.
Also in 2014, SA Leather South Africa (www.sal.qw.co.za) voted to become a pan-sexual organisation – previously it had been men-only. If you fancy going hiking with gays and gay-friendly folk while in the Mother City, check out the Cape Town Gay Hiking
Moffie, the local term for a homosexual, comes from the Afrikaans word for glove; it’s also the title of the flamboyant leaders of the performance troupes in the Cape Minstrel Carnival. Among gays, moffie has come to be used like ‘queer’ – in an affirmative way to repudiate its negative connotations.
Older Capetonian gays will also remember an apartheid-era code language, called ‘Gayle’, in which women’s names stand in for certain words; for example, ‘Beaulah’ for 'beautiful' and ‘Hilda’ for 'ugly'.
Cape Royale Luxury Hotel
47 Main Road, Green Point, 8051 Cape Town, South Africa
This luxury 5-star hotel is located in central Green Point, just a 10-minute walk from Cape Town Stadium and the V&A Waterfront. It offers bright rooms with free capped Wi-Fi, a rooftop pool and gym. Cape Royale Luxury Hotel features spacious suites with a Juliet balcony and includes a well-equipped kitchen, large living and entertainment areas. All rooms have a flat-screen satellite TV, a CD and DVD Player.
60 Corporation Street, City Bowl, 8000 Cape Town, South Africa
This 4-star Cape Town hotel has a gourmet restaurant and a 24-hour room service menu. All rooms offer satellite TV and free Wi-Fi access. Table Mountain is just 1.9 miles away. Robben Island is just a boat ride from the V&A Waterfront, which is 30 minutes' walk away.
Protea Hotel by Marriott Cape Town Victoria Junction
Cnr Somerset & Ebenezer Roads, City Bowl, 8001 Cape Town, South Africa
The modern rooms at the Protea Hotel Victoria Junction are equipped with satellite TV, a tea/coffee maker and a spacious work desk. The hotel also offers apartments with a semi self-catering kitchen and a seating area. This elegant 4-star hotel is just 1.2 miles from the V&A Waterfront and the Two Oceans Aquarium. It has an outdoor pool, massage services and panoramic views of Table Mountain.
Park Inn by Radisson Cape Town Foreshore
29 Heerengracht Street, Foreshore, City Bowl, 8001 Cape Town, South Africa
Stylishly decorated, the spacious and air-conditioned rooms and suites include a flat-screen TV with interactive entertainment system including Pay-TV, a telephone, tea-and-coffee-making facilities and a private bathroom with free toiletries.Complimentary WiFi is available in the rooms and public areas.
The Rockwell All Suite Hotel & Apartments
32 Prestwich Street, Cnr Alfred Street, Green Point, City Bowl, 8001 Cape Town, South Africa
This property is 1 minute walk from the beach. The Rockwell Suite Hotel & Apartments offers self-catering accommodation with scenic views of Table Mountain, Signal Hill or the harbour. It features a health club with indoor swimming pool, gym and massage treatments.
Opening out onto panoramic patios, the spacious apartments are fitted with designer furnishings. Each includes a stainless steel kitchen with dining area and a large lounge with satellite TV.
106 On Adderley
106 Adderley Street, City Bowl, 8000 Cape Town, South Africa
Situated in Cape Town, 106 On Adderley is 100 yards from Iziko Museums (Slave Lodge). Cathedral is 100 yards from the property. Free WiFi is provided .
The accommodation features a flat-screen TV with satellite channels. There is also a kitchen, equipped with a microwave and fridge. A stovetop and kettle are also featured. There is a private bathroom with a shower in each unit. Private parking is available at the apartment.
Taj Cape Town
1 Wale Street, City Bowl, 8001 Cape Town, South Africa
Situated in the heart of Cape Town, within walking distance to most tourist attractions and business. Hotel guests can enjoy free Wi-Fi, Free daily breakfast, free access to the Jiva Spa, and a free shuttle to the V&A Waterfront daily.
Most rooms and suites have a balcony, while all of them are elegantly designed with classical furnishings. All air-conditioned accommodation has a flat-screen TV and Wi-Fi. The marble bathroom includes a rainshower and large bath tub.
Mandela Rhodes Place Hotel
Corner of Wale Street & Berg Street, City Bowl, 8000 Cape Town, South Africa
Towering high above Cape Town city centre, Mandela Rhodes Place Hotel and Spa offers luxurious suites just 1.2 miles from the V&A Waterfront. It boasts an outdoor swimming pool.
All apartments feature an open-plan layout and contemporary furnishings with a flat-screen TV. The hotel offers a selection of satellite channels. DVD players are available on request. Each unit comes with a fully equipped kitchen. Some rooms offer a Table Mountain view while others have City views.
Bijoux Aparthotel by Totalstay
31 Adderley Street, City Bowl, 8000 Cape Town, South Africa
Offering accommodation with air conditioning, Bijoux Aparthotel by Totalstay is situated in Cape Town, 100 yards from Iziko Museums (Slave Lodge). Cathedral is 100 yards from the property.
All units have a TV. There is a seating and/or dining area in some units. A microwave and toaster are also provided, as well as a coffee machine. Some units also have a kitchenette, fitted with an oven. Towels are offered.
Holiday Inn Express Cape Town City Centre
This hotel in Cape Town’s centre offers panoramic views of Table Mountain, located just 0.6 miles away. It has a 24-hour front desk and modern, air-conditioned rooms. An airport shuttle can be arranged at a charge.
The guest rooms at the Holiday Inn Express Cape Town City Centre are decorated in warm colours. They include cable TV, a tea/coffee maker and a private bathroom.
The Piazza 1004
32 Parliament St, Cape Town, City Bowl, 8000 Cape Town, South Africa
Located in Cape Town, this apartment features an outdoor pool. The apartment is a few steps from Cathedral. Free private parking is available on site. Towels and bed linen are featured in this apartment. There is a private bathroom with a bath or shower.Iziko Museums (Slave Lodge) is 100 yards from The Piazza 1004, while Company Gardens (Adderly Str Entrance) is 100 yards from the property. The nearest airport is Cape Town International Airport, 10.6 miles from The Piazza 1004.
32 Parliament Road, Cape Town, City Bowl, 8001 Cape Town, South Africa
The Piazza is set in Cape Town, a few steps from Cathedral and 100 yards from Iziko Museums (Slave Lodge). All rooms have a flat-screen TV. You will find a coffee machine in the room. Rooms have a private bathroom.Company Gardens (Adderly Str Entrance) is 100 yards from The Piazza, while St. George's Cathedral (Cape Town) is 200 yards from the property. The nearest airport is Cape Town International Airport, 10.6 miles from the property.
Our guide to gay bars in Cape Town.
There is a variety of gay bars and clubs, which, like most cities, are particularly busy on weekends and during the peak season, when many “upcountry” citizens come down to Cape Town for their vacation. You’ll find most of the gay bars clustered around a short strip of Somerset Road between downtown and the Waterfront.
Nightlife is a microcosm unto itself. Café Manhattan (Corner of Dixon & Waterkant Street; +27-21/421-6666) is a great place to start. Half restaurant, half bar, they also offer live performers twice weekly, regular art exhibitions, and parties.
Over the past few years the De Waterkant area has undergone significant redevelopment. Famous bar Bronx, is closed and the action has moved to Amsterdam Action Bar (10-12 Cobern St), a cruise bar with cubicles, sling room, games area. Popular Bar Code (18 Cobern St),is another men-only levi-leather/rubber/uniform bar in Green Point.
Beaulah Bar is open Wednesday through weekend and is one of the busiest party bars & dance venues attracting a mixed young men/women crowd. Beefcakes is a 50s-style diner/bar in the Village offering delicious burgers and fries, cabaret shows and Bitchy Bingo together with shirtless bartender hunks.
Crew Bar is probably the busiest of the gay bar/lounges and has a reasonable dance floor (by Cape Town Standards) featuring top DJs, front and rear open terraces and has a lively mixed crowd.
People tend to dine early in Cape Town, with 8pm being the normal time for evening meals. The bars get busy from 10pm during the week days and later at the weekends. Many bars are open until 4am at weekends so its a city that likes to party long and hard!
BARS & CLUBS
Beaulah Bar is Cape Town's latest and hottest up-market gay venue. Situated in the NEW Gaybourhood on Somerset Road, Beaulah has a relaxed, yet very vibey atmosphere where boys can meet boys and girls can meet girls. party really kicks off on Friday and Saturday nights, with DJ's Charita, JanuaryOne, Carl and Nicky spinning the very best in commercial tracks till the early hours of the morning
Amsterdam Action Bar
Neighborhood bar with frills and fuss !!! In the Heart of the Pink Block in the De Waterkant district of Cape Town, South Africa
Cafe manhattan bar and restaurant in the Waterkant gay village is a popular meeting place attracting a laid-back crowd. Manhattan has a varied menu at very reasonable prices, regular art exhibitions and live music most Thursdays.
Bar Code, Cape Town
Bar Code is a Leather Rubber and fetish gay bar offering many party nights like Pork (nude with boots), so not for the shy boys, this is a fun no holds barred kind of place, and if this is your thing then you will have good time here, take look at their website to see what is going on when you are in Cape Town.
Crew, Cape Town
Crew bar has recently been refitted with new furnishings, upgraded sound system and new lighting, the bar is very popular with the gay boys of Cape Town and is always packed, the bar staff are some of the hottest in town, the music style is funky/electro.
As you can see from the gay map of Cape Town we have recommended some hotels and apartments close to this bar that have good revues. We do the research so you can have more fun on your trip to gay Cape Town.
Gay sauna with steam rooms, a bar, Jacuzzis, a restaurant, a sauna deck, private cabins, a video lounge and a maze and darkroom
CAPE TOWN Gay Beaches
The west side of the Cape is also known as Cape Town’s Riviera, which begins at the V and A Waterfront on the north shore and ends at Hout Bay. Inbetween is one of the most breathtaking scenic drives you are likely to encounter anywhere.
The beaches endless hours of shunshine, compared to European Beaches and the sunsets are truly spectacular with the sun disappearing over the horizon right before your eyes! No high rises her to spoil your view!
If you are staying in the city, allow at least one day to make the drive south of the city along the coast.
The Platinum Mile of Camps Bay is a long, sandy beach with palm trees and a stunning promenade lined with trendy restaurants, cafes and cocktail bars. This is where the bold and the beautify of Cape Town mingle with visitors to the city against one of the most beautiful backdrops of Lion’s Head and the 12 Apostles. Camps Bay is very popular for sundowners and in hot weather it’s a beach paradise!
Sandy Bay is a nude beach frequented by many gays and lesbians, and one of the prettiest beaches in the area.Follow the signs (and the crowds) down to the walking path entrance,
which you will recognize by the soft drink vendors parked there. The walk to the beach is about fifteen minutes, so bring along anything you might need. The gay section is at the far end. On weekends, try to arrive by 9:30 or 10:00am, or you may have to walk another ten minutes from the nearest parking space. The bushes at the back offer more than just a quiet stroll! The beach is one of the most beautiful on the Cape. Tucked beneath the steep cliffs it is a mixture of soft white sand and large boulders called Sunset Rocks.
Clifton Thrid beach
Clifton Thrid beach is where the local gay boys hang out (The third beach of the five numbered beaches at Clifton, known as Clifton 3). Glancing around the absolutely gorgeous powdery white, boulder-dotted of Clifton Third surrounded by multi-million rand bungalows creeping up a sheer mountain, it’s easy to forget that the riches on display here — mansions that would put Malibu to shame, not to mention oiled-up bodies that barely fit in their speedos — are an anomaly and not the norm. (Well, except for the muscles; Cape Town is rife in hot men!)
Cape Town WINELANDS & TOURS
Taking up after a weekend of warrioring through Cape Town’s laid back yet hectic nightlife can be rough. The Winelands wine country makes for an enjoyable day trip, but if you have time, try to spend a night or two out this way. Less than an hour’s drive away (a mere 85km, about 52miles, from downtown) the sleepy town of Franschhoek makes an ideal base to explore the sprawling valleys and vineyards of the winelands. Escaping religious persecution, French Huguenots arrived in 1688 and settled in what was then known as Olifantshoek (“Elephants Corner”), due to the herds of elephants that used the lush valley as a birthing ground (baboons still populate the hills today), and brought the secrets and skill of winemaking with them.
Head to Franschhoek, known as the gourmet capital of South Africa.
Today, the Huguenot Memorial at the end of the antique shop-filled main road commemorates their arrival and 46 cellars laud their skill. Other surrounding valleys such as Paarl and Stellenbosch, famous for its Afrikaans language university and historic Cape Dutch architecture as much as its vintages, offer hundreds more options for the wine enthusiast. The souvenir enthusiast will go ga-ga at the 200-year-old Oom Samie Se Winkel (“Uncle Sam’s Shop”) in Stellenbosch, where you can buy everything from spices to clothes to warthog heads and other sundry bric-a-brac throughout its crammed dusty rooms.
As is often the case in wine regions, the Winelands has plenty of urbane restaurants and gourmet food and cheese shops. Franschhoek, Known as the gourmet capital of South Africa, because of its great restaurants and excellent wines. Great places to stay right in the hustle and bustle of this lovely winelands village or alternatively off the beaten track.
Of particular note is Le Quartier Francais, a foodie mecca for its restaurant, which has made more than a few “best in the world” lists; this Relais & Chateaux country inn also boasts stunning rooms with giant soaking tubs and plenty of cushy amenities. Also in Franschhoek, Mont Rochelle Hotel & Mountain Vineyards offers plush accommodations and excellent food, and nearby Cabriere ranks among the town’s top wineries. If you’re on a bit of a budget, try Franschhoek’s gay-owned Maison Chablis, a warmly furnished seven-room country house with a pool and serene, landscaped grounds.
Tales of Khoisan tribesman, slave workers and contemporary oral histories engage with artifacts to create a holistic history of the region. Meanwhile 50-percent of the estate’s profits benefit a local trust that aims alleviate the persistent historical inequities and semi-feudal society of the vineyards through cultural and fiscal empowerment. Their sweet-then-dry Solms Koloni, a Riesling and Muscat blend that’s desiccated on the vine and matured in oak, is a feat of forward-thinking ingenuity, too!