South Africa has to be one of our all-time favorite destinations. In fact if you ask Sion, he will probably say it is his favorite place in the world. Why? Quite simply, we have yet to find another place that offers everything South Africa does.
You have modern cities like Cape Town and Johannesburg. There is a multitude of stunning beaches stretching all the way along the coast (Fact: Cape Towns beaches have been named some of the best in the world, AND Cape Town has 2 gay beaches). The scenery is just incredible, with forests, oceans and mountains stretching for miles. Of course, there is the wildlife, with the opportunity of spotting the Big 5, either in a private reserve or a National Park. And to top it all off, the food and wine is some of the best we have ever eaten and drank, at some of the lowest prices too.
With so much to see and do, one of the best ways to make the most of this incredible destination is to join a fully escorted, organised tour, especially if you are short on time. And being in a gay-friendly destination, why not join a gay tour of South Africa, ensuring that you will end up travelling with like minded people.
LGBTQ Vacation: Gay Tours of South Africa
During our time in Cape Town, we were fortunate to connect with Jakes Conradie, founder and CEO of Amatungulu Tours. Amatungulu Tours has a specific gay division, LGBTQ Vacation. We partnered with Jakes and were able to experience part of his product and find out more about this gay-owned tour operator.
Amatungulu Tours gets a fantastic 5 out of 5 on TripAdvisor with incredible reviews, and ranks very highly, so we were excited to experience it for ourselves.
LGBTQ Vacation offers a number of different itineraries, ranging from 5 days up to 17 days. Whilst the full 17-day Cape Town to Kruger National Park is the most popular choice, you can opt to book in shorter durations, starting in either Cape Town or Johannesburg depending on your own time and travel plans.
We were unfortunately very limited on our time, and as such were only able to take part in a day excursion, which was based around highlights from days 1 and 2 of the full 17-day itinerary. Here are our key highlights from our day out:
Wine and Chocolate Tasting at Spier Wine Farm, Stellenbosch
We were picked up from our hotel by Jakes and driven to Spier Wine Farm in Stellenbosch, about 40 minutes outside of Cape Town.
The views en route are breathtaking. South Africa has some of the best scenery we have ever encountered.
The wine tasting is in a beautiful setting, with sprawling historic buildings and stunning views. We enjoyed a selection of wines paired with hand-crafted chocolates that perfectly complement the wines.
Runner Duck Parade at Vergoenegd
From Spier we headed to Vergoenegd Wine Farm for yet more wine tasting, lunch and a special treat – a runner duck parade!
Vergoenegd is home to a working flock of over 1200 Indian Runner Ducks, an essential part of the farms pest-control. Every day at 10:30, 12:30 and 15:30 the ducks are herded to the starting line where they parade through the courtyard, around the vineyard and back to their pond. All in a days work for a runner duck!
Visiting the Penguins at Boulders Beach
After lunch we drove to Boulders Beach, located near Simon’s Town. Boulders Beach is a beautiful beach in its own right, but is worth visiting for an extra special reason. Boulders Beach is home to one of the few land-based penguin colonies in the world – the African Penguin. In fact, Boulders Beach is the only place in the world where you can actually get up close to an African Penguin.
These little guys are absolutely adorable – we could quite happily have stayed and watched them all day!
What does the standard itinerary look like?
The ‘standard’ itinerary of the gay tour is 17 days, which is a round trip to and from Cape Town visiting the Garden Route, Durban, Swaziland, Kruger National Park and Johannesburg.
However, if your time is limited, you can choose to book this tour in shorter durations. If you choose to start your tour in Cape Town, you can book either the first 5, 8, or 10 days. Alternatively, you can opt to join the tour on day 10 in Johannesburg, and take part in the final 7 days.
Feel free to check out the full day to day itinerary here.
It is worth noting that tour plans are amendable, and can also be tailor-made on request. Whilst LGBTQ Vacation tours start at 5 days, if you have a shorter duration, it is 100% worth-while getting in contact with your travel plans and requirements. Provided it doesn’t clash with a pre-scheduled departure, an itinerary should be able to be put together to meet your requirements.
What Makes this a Gay Tour?
Whenever we choose to partner with a business that claims to be gay-friendly, it is so important for us to find out how they put this into practice. Nothing rubs us up the wrong way more than a business that turns out to only be ‘gay-for-pay’!
This is most definitely not the case here. LGBTQ Vacation is a direct division of Amatungulu Tours, and as such these departures are specifically aimed at LGBTQ travellers.
Whilst the itineraries, destinations visited and inclusions of a 17-day Amatungulu Tour may be the same as the 17-day LGBTQ Vacation Tour, when you dig a little deeper you will see some differences between the two.
- Where possible, during your LGBTQ Vacation tour, you will be staying at either gay-owned or gay-friendly accommodation. This is the case for example on days 1 and 2, where you stay at gay-owned Cactus House in Cape Town (or similar), and again on day 7, where you stay at Durban View Gay Guest House (or similar).
- Where possible, you will be escorted and guided by an LGBTQ tour guide. Where this is not possible, any local tour guides will have been properly notified and briefed on the make-up of this tour group, so as to give the same level of service that would be expected by any traveller.
- Comparing the itineraries of the tours, you will see that LGBTQ Vacation includes free time on an evening to explore and visit the local LGBTQ nightlife. Having an LGBTQ tour guide means that they will be able to help you choose the place to go!
- Where possible, these tours will also incorporate local gay events. For example, the tour departing on 28 May from Cape Town will include the local gay ‘Pink Loerie Festival’ in Knysna (see here for more information).
It is factors like these that can really put you at ease when travelling. After all, this is your vacation and it so important for you to be able to relax and feel comfortable regardless of your sexuality!
How Do I Book my South Africa Gay Tour?
The easiest way to book is to first of all visit the website, and choose the itinerary that best suits your requirements. You can make the booking directly through the website; alternatively, you can make contact via the ‘Contact Us’ section of the website should you have any questions or require further information prior to booking.
We had a fantastic time exploring Cape Town and the surrounding areas with Jakes, Amatungulu Tours and LGBTQ Vacation. Jakes was actually heading off on a full 17-day tour the following week and we would have absolutely loved to continue and experience more of South Africas gay guesthouses and nightlife. Maybe next time!
If you are an LGBTQ traveller coming to visit South Africa, and don’t feel so confident travelling independently or just want to join an LGBTQ group, then we highly recommend using LGBTQ Vacation. You will have a great time!
Check out the following exciting content to learn about all the other amazing things South Africa has to offer!
- Cape Town Pride: Everything you need to know
- The Complete Gay Guide to Cape Town
- Gay Bars Cape Town: The Complete Guide
- How to hike Table Mountain (the easyish way)
- 12 tips for keeping safe in Cape Town!
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