Gay Guide to CAPE TOWN
Cape Town is a city of immense contrasts, liberal attitudes and breathtaking beauty and the gay village is right in the heart of the city. Get ready to fall in love.
Cape Town, the capital city of the Rainbow Nation, boasts some of the finest beaches, vineyards and nightlife in the world. It blends the old with the new, combining a progressive and cosmopolitan spirit together with lessons from its darker past to create a scene that would rival that of similar sea side cities such as Sydney, San Francisco or Vancouver.
Cape Town’s gay scene is centered around the De Waterkant area with most of the gay bars and clubs within easy walking distance from each other. De Waterkant is located close to the V&A Waterfront. Crew Bar, Beulah Bar and Amsterdam Action Bar are the current hot spots for people who like to party. They all have small dance floors and get busy from early on in the evening. If you are looking for a more mixed experience, avoid Long Street and head up towards Kloof Street with a great selection of bars and restaurants.
The two main highlights of the gay calendar are the Gay Pride, normally held late February/early March and the MCQP, The Mother City Queer Project Party, which conveniently takes place during the height of the Summer Season in December.
It is a very popular time to visit Cape Town and a great way to combine a trip to celebrate New Years’s Eve in the city. MCQP has a different fancy-dress theme each year and is one of the largest gay events on the continent.
Sexy gay and gay-friendly beach resorts such as Clifton and Camps Bay are just a short journey from the city centre. And the quaint seaside suburbs of Hout Bay, Fish Hoek, and Muizenberg and the wooded, vineyard-laden Constantia make for a great day escape. Wine lovers will adore the more than 200 verdant vineyards of Franschhoek and Stellenbosch that tempt with their abundant, award-winning Sauvignon Blancs.
The city itself offers a stunning contrast of physical beauty and a gritty urban vibe that can be both laid back and neurotic. Gabled Cape Dutch–style buildings abut glass-and-steel condos. Signal Hill’s Noon Gun — a cannon that used to herald the arrival of Dutch East Indies ships, is now fired daily while the lush Company Gardens, and candy-colored bungalows of the largely Muslim Bo Kaap district recall colonial times. Colonial and Victorian buildings on Green Market.
Square and historic restored Art Deco buildings in Long Street bear witness to the city’s historic past as a European port. Add in all the redevelopment brought by the last World Cup tournament and you can see a city looking towards the future.
Cape Town benefits from that magical combination of water, culture and geographical beauty that make for an extraordinary visit. Get your bearings from 3,500 feet with a cable car ride or lung-bustin’ hike up flat-topped Table Mountain,one of the new 7 wonders of nature. (Outdoorsy types can hike their way up (or down) a network of trails, but the five-minute whoosh of the cable car was enough adrenaline for us) where windswept, panoramic views reveal the geographic grandeur and diversity of the Western Cape, creating an ever changing tableau of skyscrapers, cliffs and clouds.
Cape Town is home to some of the most famous hotels in the world, from Boutique Guest houses to Designer Gay Hotels. Here are our top 5 based on location, price and service.
From the best beaches to the most authentic restaurants, check out our top tips to exploring gay Cape Town
Cape Town’s restaurant scene is buzzing with top-notch restaurants that cater for all tastes and budgets. Eating out is inexpensive and the range of South African wines to accompany our meals is a true delight.Beefcakes is a gay burger joint with shows and theme nights. It also has a bar called the Locker Room in the Basement. If you are looking for something in the heart of the gay district then look no further than Cafe Manhattan.
The city has an endless list of things to do, from historic museums and art galleries to independent shops and boutiques, natural hikes, gardens and wildlife spotting. The city is overloaded with options. A must do is Company Gardens home to the city’s Museums. Check out Sea Point Promenade and admire the gym bunnies and runners exercising on the prom. Further afield the Kirstenbosh National Botanical Garden is a breathtaking sight. If you are in the city during a full moon, then don’t miss a visit to Lions Head.
Gay Visitors will want to pay a visit to Clifton 3, one of four coves of varying size in Clifton. Head there early during the peak Summer months if you want to grab space for you and your speedos. Sandy bay, the unofficial nudist beach is also popular with gay boys looking for fun.
Finally, the Robben Island monument and Nelson Mandela’s cell 46664 provides a stark reminder of how far the city has come in such a short period. Ferry trips can be quite busy, so it is advisable to book in advance.
Cape Town has a great mix of stores offering international labels, local creations and unique arts and curios. The V&A Waterfront offers stunning views of Table Mountain and has a wide range of stores and restaurants. For African art and crafts head to Green Market Square and the Pan African market on Long Street. Food lovers will enjoy the weekend markets of Neighbourhoods and the Old Biscuit Mill. Check out the sopping section for our top tips on where to shop in Cape Town.
South Africa gleams like a beacon of possibility on a continent yet to come into its own, an incredible testament to what optimism and determination can accomplish, especially in the arena of gay rights: LGBT people there have employment nondiscrimination, marriage, and adoption laws on their side.
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