How to Enjoy Gay Travel and Life in
Cape Town, South Africa
By Harry Preston
small port near the many beaches in Cape Town,
Recently I took a trip back to
Cape Town to spend a few weeks with my family. I never
dreamed the most beautiful city in the world had become
the gay capital of Africa. During my visit, The Cape
Times (where I was drama critic in 1946) featured a front-page
magazine article on the enormous economic benefits that
the gay community has brought to the city.
After arriving in Cape Town,
I checked with Gay escape, the local gay tourist bureau
and was referred to T’Groenezicht, a gay guesthouse,
one of several dozen in the city. This old Dutch mansion
overlooking the city has a pool, a sauna, and clean,
comfortable rooms each with private bath. Included in
the daily rate is a sumptuous breakfast, all for 220
Rand a night.
With the rate of exchange, dollars
can buy you just about anything at a far better price
than in the U.S. See the Numbeo comparison for Cape
Town cost of living comparisons. Beyond the airfare,
I spent less than $700 for a glorious 4-week vacation
that included buying wonderful clothes at a fraction
of the price one pays in the States.
For those into the bar scene,
Cape Town has many gay clubs that never close. Many have
very professional floor shows, such as "The Broadway," in
which the cast performed a salute to ABBA.
But the best attractions are
the glorious wide beaches that stretch from Cape Town
all around the peninsula at the tip of Africa. Graaff’s
Pool is a walled-off area in the Sea Point suburb where
swimsuits are the exception. Further down the coast is
Sandy Bay, a massive beach nestled beneath the mountains
where dozens sunbathe and socialize in the nude.
Along the docks is the recently
built Waterfront, a massive complex of malls with literally
hundreds of stores and restaurants overlooking the ocean.
Cruising the Waterfront is a favorite pastime of the
locals as they can meet visitors from all over the world.
The small costal city of Knysna is also worth a visit
and boasts a very large gay community.
Scenically, Cape Town itself
is unbelievably impressive, but today law and order is
still tenuous. You should be careful walking the streets
alone after dark because muggings and holdups are common.
Civil unrest still continues, and many residents are
forced to live behind barred windows and doors because
of the escalating crime rate that has made Johannesburg
one of the murder capital of the world.
But despite the problems, if
you take taxis and maintain a careful attitude, you can
have a wonderful time in Cape Town and bring back memories
that will linger forever. More information can be obtained
on the Internet by looking up "Gay" or "Lesbian" on
the South African search engine ANANZI.
HARRY PRESTON is
a veteran Dallas, TX author and screenwriter.