5 LGBTQ-friendly places to stay at when exploring Mzansi

Mzansi is recognised as a world-class gay-friendly destination. Picture: Pexels

Mzansi is recognised as a world-class gay-friendly destination. Picture: Pexels

Published Feb 15, 2024


The month of love is the perfect time for everyone to celebrate. The beauty of Mzansi is that when it comes to LGBTQ rights, it is the most progressive place on the continent.

According to IGLTA.org, the world’s leading travel association advancing LGBTQ rights, South Africa was the first country in the world to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation in 1996 and we became the fifth country globally to legalise same-sex marriage.

Though gender-based violence (GBV) and homophobia are sometimes prevalent in the country, travelling as a member of the gay community is relatively safe.

This is why Mzansi is recognised as a world-class gay-friendly destination.

When exploring the country, big cities such as Johannesburg and Cape Town have become go-to options for travellers while small towns such as Stellenbosch have popular bars welcoming everyone.

South Africa is a destination for everyone, with many places waiting to be explored.

Below are six places to stay at in the country’s LGBTQ-friendly cities:

Wine and romance in Stellenbosch

A ONE-bedroom unit at La Terre Blanche in Stellenbosch. | Airbnb

What’s a romantic getaway without wine? Stellenbosch is a charming town known for its beautiful vineyards, outdoor recreational opportunities and rich history.

For those looking to explore the region, these Winelands are a popular destination for LGBTQ travellers as it has a vibrant gay scene.

La Terre Blanche on Airbnb is the perfect home base for you to explore the region. The one-bedroom unit is solar-powered and conveniently close to the town centre, university.

Lanzerac Wine Estate, with its iconic vineyards, restaurants and spa is within walking distance, as is Jonkershoek Nature Reserve, offering easy access to scenic trails, hikes and mountain biking.

A three -day stay starts from R 1 170 a night for 2.

Small town safari romance in Hoedspruit

THE Forest Cottage near the Kruger National Park. | Airbnb

Hoedspruit is a town situated at the foot of the Klein Drakensberg in Limpopo, on the railway line from Tzaneen to Kaapmuiden.

The town is a stone through away from the Kruger National Park, the safari capital of Mzansi. It’s the perfect destination for love-birds to see South Africa’s legendary Big 5.

There are plenty of affordable places to stay at including The Forest Cottage on Airbnb.

The self contained cottage with two air conditioned rooms situated within an indigenous patch of forest, at the base and to the east of the highest peak in the Blyde River Canyon.

From the cottage's verdant veranda stretching the entire length of the cottage, guests are afforded magnificent views over the South African Lowveld and in the distance, The Kruger National Park touching the horizon.

It is situated at the very top of the village of Kampersrus within a safe and secure homestead. A stay at the cottage starts from R1 667 a night.

Seaside living in Mossel Bay

A QUAINT upmarket apartment with sea views in Mossel Bay. | Airbnb

Mossel Bay is a quaint coastal town on the Garden Route offering a charming and laid-back atmosphere for gay travellers.

From the sandy beaches to the historic Point Lighthouse, there are plenty of attractions to explore in the area.

For those planning to visit the town, there are sandy beaches, water sports and even whale watching as well as local arts and crafts and amazing entertainment and dining.

Te Waterkant 40 on Diaz Beach Hartenbos Mossel Bay, listed on Airbnb, is the perfect base to explore this seaside town.

The beautiful, modern, upmarket 2-bedroom, 2-bathroom beachfront apartment has spectacular 180 degree views over the ocean at Mossel Bay from the lounge and main bedroom.

The apartment also has direct access to the beach, making it a serene and peaceful place to escape to. A weekend stay at the apartment starts from R1 200 a night.

Love in the city of Johannesburg

A LUXURIOUS apartment in the heart of Melrose. | Airbnb

Johannesburg, also the city of gold and the economic hub of the country, is one of the cities that give the country its good name.

Its bars, café culture and trendy restaurants maintain an upbeat tempo all year round and the city boasts a number of exclusively gay and lesbian bars.

The Joburg Pride event has grown into Africa’s oldest and biggest celebration of gay and lesbian pride and attracts thousands of people, not only from South Africa but from all over the world.

The event takes place in Melrose Arch and is a fun, vibrant day out. If you’re looking for a place to live out loud and love proudly, then Jozi is the place to be.

The Melrose Arch Luxury Apartment listed on Airbnb is the perfect place to rest your head when in this colourful city.

The apartment is in the heart of Melrose Arch and close to Sandton Shopping Centre and Rosebank Mall. A stay at the apartment starts from R1 160 a night.

Gay pride capital - Cape Town

AFTER a night out, rest your head at this quiet apartment in the CBD. | Airbnb

The Mother City is one of the best cities in the world and also considered the gay-capital of Mzansi.

The city boasts among the world’s finest beaches and a variety of nightlife experiences rivalling gay capitals like London, San Francisco and Sydney. Clifton’s 3rd Beach is a favourite and is also the busiest gay-friendly beach where the locals hang out, Sandy Bay is the “de facto gay nude beach” while Camps Bay is another favourite and also offers a number of trendy restaurants and bars for lunch or sundowners.

The beauty of the Mother City is its large gay-friendly community, making you feel right at home. If you’re planning a trip to Cape Town, consider a stay at Stylish, modern apartment listed on Airbnb and located in the heart of the CBD, with great common areas.

This apartment is perfect for travellers who want to remain central, but can also be tucked up in a secure building to get some R&R and read a book or cook a delicious home-made meal or party it up.

A stay at the apartment starts from R 1 725 a night.