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Cape Town is South Africa’s – and indeed, the African continent’s – gay capital. The city has always had a vibrant gay culture, and is on its way to becoming an African Sydney, attracting gay travellers from across the country and the globe. Cape Town’s gay village, with B&Bs, guesthouses, pubs, clubs, cruise bars and steam baths, is concentrated along the entertainment strips of Somerset Road and in the interconnected inner-city suburbs of Green Point, Sea Point and, particularly, the chic De Waterkant, adjacent to the centre. The Pink Map (pinksa.co.za), published by A&C Maps, lists gay-friendly and gay-owned places in Cape Town and is distributed at the visitor centres, and viewable online.

Cape Town hosts a hugely popular annual gay costume party, organized by Mother City Queer Projects (http://www.mcqp.co.za), a ten-day festival held each December the week before Christmas. People dress as outrageously as possible according to the official yearly theme (past ones have included Kitchen Kitsch, The Twinkly Sea Project and Lights, Camera, Action) and the event seeks to rival Sydney’s Mardi Gras. There’s also an annual gay pride festival in February (capetownpride.org).

Resources

Besides the South African gay websites and resources listed, it’s worth having a look at http://www.gaynetcapetown.co.za, aimed specifically at gay and lesbian travellers to Cape Town, with restaurants and gay accommodation listings, as well as information about HIV/AIDS. In the De Waterkant, Health4Men at 24 Napier St (health4men.co.za) provides free sexual health services to men, including access to free ARV treatment for men living with HIV.

The best listings magazine is Out Africa Magazine, available from the bars and restaurants in De Waterkant, and from GAP Leisure (gapleisure.com), on the corner of Napier and Waterkant streets, an agency that specializes in finding gay accommodation in the De Waterkant and countrywide.

Though there are many lesbians living in Cape Town, there are no dedicated lesbian bars or clubs, but the lesbian publication L Magazine (lomag.co.za) is a good way to discover anything up-and-coming. Regular parties for women are arranged monthly at different venues; for more information, look at lushcapetown.co.za.

 

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