These gay-friendly destinations in Africa are worth visiting

Raise the LGBTQ flag this month and travel with pride. Picture: Unsplash

Raise the LGBTQ flag this month and travel with pride. Picture: Unsplash

Published Jun 24, 2024


Africa has come a long way when it comes to gay-friendly rights and policies. With 22 of 55 countries legalising same-sex relationships, the continent does have safe places for members of the LGBTQIA+ community to explore.

There is a global trend toward the acceptance of LGBTQIA+ people and decriminalising same-sex relations. However, there will always be people who are intolerant of or prejudiced against gay people in Africa just as anywhere else in the world.

It requires proper planning and research for LGBTQIA+ travel to be safe and comfortable.

For instance, Cape Town is the gay capital of South Africa while Réunion was rated the safest travel destination in Africa for members of the LGBTQIA+ community, according to a 2023 ranking.

Exploring the continent is possible as a member of the gay community and, in honour of Pride Month, celebrated in June, here are some highly recommended African destinations to explore:

Culture and gastronomy (South Africa)

A Dutch-style house in the vineyards of the Cape Winelands in South Africa.

South Africa has plenty of gay-friendly destination to visit. All the major cities including Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban are safe for LGBTQIA+ travellers.

Standing a cut above the rest is the Cape Winelands. This is a year-round destination, best known for being home to South Africa's top wine farms and fine dining restaurants.

It’s where top chefs battle it out to get a corner restaurant, the top South African wine is produced, and the region has breathtaking valleys ready and waiting to be explored. The best part about the Winelands is that they are in the Western Cape and you can rest assured that it's very welcoming.

In fact, this is where the gay community often congregate to show off their finest attire, spill the tea, peruse the galleries and markets, and indulge in award-winning wine and cuisine.

Beach and snorkelling adventures (Mauritius)

A lush tropical forest meets the Indian Ocean on the coast of Mauritius. Picture: Unsplash

Mauritius is an island of sheer perfection and the island is famous for being a lover’s paradise. The island is perfect for those looking to beach comb and explore the warm Indian Ocean waters surrounding the island.

Expect to kick back on the beach, explore rain forests, local crocodile farms, botanical gardens and volcanoes or snorkelling.

Though the island does not recognise same-sex marriage in a court of law, LGBTQIA+ residents are protected against discrimination in some cases, such as employment.

The island’s population is becoming more and more welcoming towards LGBTQIA+ travellers.

Out of this world desert adventure (Namibia)

One of the only places in the world where the desert meets the ocean, Namibia. Picture: Unsplash

For LGBTQIA+ travellers looking for surreal beauty, Namibia offers these burnt-sienna desert landscapes that will make you feel like you’ve landed on Mars, and the vast, desolate landscape will bring your soul solace like nothing else on Earth.

In Namibia, discrimination based on sexual orientation is not illegal. However, the general public is very accepting when compared to other African countries.

Various local LGBTQIA+ groups are fighting for more rights. However, if you travel to the right destinations with gay-friendly service providers, you will have an experience of a lifetime.

All-encompassing safari adventure (Botswana)

Elephants bathing in the Chobe River in Botswana. Picture: Unsplash

Botswana is an underrated safari destination offering both land and river safaris. From the Chobe River to the puzzling water wonderland of the Okavango Delta, the weird and wonderful wild destination deserves your attention.

From nature walks, boat cruises, game drives and mokoro (dug-out canoe) safaris, you’ll get to see this paradise from every vantage point.

When it comes to Bostwana's legislation, homosexuality was legal as of 2019. They even have some discrimination protection in place for LGBTQIA+ residents.

Although they only recently legalised homosexuality, Botswana and especially the Okavango Delta have been and continue to be, very gay-friendly tourist destination.

See one of the seven wonders of the world (Zimbabwe)

UNESCO Heritage Site and a wonder of the world, Victoria Falls. Picture: Usplash

Although homosexuality is illegal in both Zimbabwe and Zambia, the Victoria Falls or Mosi-oa-Tunya are gay-friendly.

Victoria Falls and its lodges are and have been a haven frequented by gay travellers for many years now.

There is plenty in the region to do including sunset river cruises on the mighty Zambezi, safari adventures at national parks and swimming to Devil’s or Angel’s Pool depending on the season.

Regardless of the law, locals' attitude towards tourists is generally welcoming.

Seafood and beach adventures (Mozambique)

Mozambique has plenty of beach destinations to explore. Picture: Unsplash

The good news is that Mozambique is one of the most gay-friendly nations in Africa.

Although residents still face some discrimination challenges and same-sex marriage is not recognised, tourists can freely express their love as same-sex sexual activity was legalised in June 2015.

∎ This list was sourced from