Our Gay African Safari Tour Is Half Full

Gay African safari tour including Cape Town and Victoria FallsOur gay African safari tour running in July/August this year is half full now — which means we have 6 spaces remaining. If 2015 is your year for doing an amazing wildlife safari in Africa then don’t delay . . . Our safari trips always go out full.

This incredible adventure begins in Cape Town, South Africa before venturing up into Botswana for the deluxe safari component. We finish off at stunning Victoria Falls. Visit our Africa page for more information and/or download the detailed itinerary.

This is a trip of a lifetime!

Cape Town, South Africa on the “15 Places You Must Visit” List

gay travel tours Cape Town South AfricaNice to see Cape Town, South Africa make it onto the list of Conde Nast Traveler‘s 15 Places You Must Visit in 2015. We’ve long been an admirer of this beautiful — and gay-friendly — city at the bottom of the African continent. When we started running tours in 1998 Cape Town was in our first batch of gay tours. And we’ve been back with several more groups since then. This year we’ll be there yet again as we kick off our ever-popular Southern Africa Trifecta tour from July 27 to August 6. This trip is a splendid combination of the Cape Town environs; a superb wildlife safari in Botswana; and stunning Victoria Falls.

Should gay travelers visit “hostile” destinations?

African wildlife safari for gay group travelersWe’re re-posting this article from mid-2014 as it’s got a lot of food for thought as the gay travel population considers its international options. We at Venture Out, not surprisingly, are of the opinion that it’s better — in general — not to shut out so many countries just because they haven’t progressed as much as the U.S. and other Western and developed nations. If you simply go by the laws on the books you’ll be missing much of the world. We think it’s better to be visible, to be representatives, a diplomatic corps of sorts to help progress happen across the world. Gay travelers staying out of sight and out of mind in these places does nothing to make advances.

Obviously we need to be careful about the specific destination (if it’s particularly hostile for example), and there’s always a manner of comportment that is called for in these places (whether you’re gay or not gay). For instance, open displays of affection, regardless of your sexual orientation, are just a no-no in so many places across the globe.

So get out there — and happy travels in 2015!

African country of Botswana makes progress on gay rights front

 

African country of Botswana makes progress on gay rights frontWe’re pleased that the African country of Botswana has taken a step forward in gay rights, allowing a gay rights lobbying group to have legal status. Venture Out has run numerous wildlife safaris in Africa for small groups of gay travelers, and Botswana has always been one of our favorite destinations for a safari. Unfortunately, most countries in Africa lag on gay rights, but this is a recent positive step that could have implications continent-wide.

You can read more about the court’s decision here.

 

South Africa promotion video

This short video put out by the South African tourism board is very poignant — and it includes glimpses of some of the places we go on our Southern Africa Trifecta tour next July and August. Have a look!

Venture Out Adds Gay African Safari Tour to 2015 Calendar

Gay African Safari TourVenture Out is pleased once again to offer a very popular tour for the fifth time. It blends a splendid sampling of African culture, incredible wildlife, other outdoor activities, great food and wine, gorgeous scenery, and beautiful accommodations. We begin in Cape Town, one of the world’s most beautiful cities, and then our wildlife safari unfolds in Botswana — arguably the best place in Africa for a safari. Finishing up at the stunning Victoria Falls we will cover a vast, majestic land, and this is sure to be the trip of a lifetime!

View more details here.

TRIP HIGHLIGHTS

  • Immerse yourself in an unforgettable 7-night wildlife safari in Botswana and Zimbabwe
  • See what the fuss is about in the Okavango Delta and Savuti
  • Witness the majesty of stunning Victoria Falls
  • Enjoy beautiful day trips around Cape Town, South Africa — including the Cape of Good Hope and the Winelands
  • Enjoy lovely, upscale accommodations throughout
  • Savor delicious meals and wine along the way

South Africa Tour for Gay TravelersCape Town is certainly one of the world’s most scenic cities. We will visit the environs of the city: the lovely Winelands area that produces most of South Africa’s excellent vintages and home to some acclaimed restaurants, as well as the fantastically scenic Cape Peninsula down to the Cape of Good Hope at the “bottom of Africa.”

See more information about this trip.

 

Being a natural wonderland, the country of Botswana is exceedingly rich in wildlife, and its vast expanses of nature are filled with a wide variety of fauna and flora to see and experience. In fact, some safari aficionados consider Botswana to be Africa’s best country for this type of experience owing to its policy of keeping the number of visitors on the low side (while placing a premium on the pricing). Safari tours in Botswana are exciting and will leave you awestruck.

guillermodanVictoria Falls is justifiably called one of the Wonders of the Natural World, and spans a little more than a mile, making it the widest show of its kind on earth. The sight of more than 2 million gallons of water per second from the Zambezi River crashing 300 feet down (twice the height of Niagara) is one not easily forgotten.

Southern Africa Trifecta

Gay Group African Luxury Safari

Cape Town + Botswana Wildlife Safari + Victoria Falls

July 27 – August 6, 2015

Trip Highlights

  • Excellent wildlife viewing in two different regions in one of Africa’s best safari destinations — Botswana!
  • Stunning Victoria Falls — the largest show of its kind on earth
  • The beautiful city of Cape Town and the gorgeous scenery around the Cape of Good Hope
  • The delightful Winelands region outside of Cape Town, including a winery visit
  • Superb — and superbly comfortable — accommodations
  • Delicious meals and wine along the way
  • Download Detailed Itinerary

INTRODUCTION

Gay African SafariHere’s the kind of adventure about which many people dream but few experience! Venture Out is pleased once again to offer a very popular tour for the fifth time. It blends a splendid sampling of African culture, incredible wildlife, other outdoor activities, great food and wine, and gorgeous scenery — beginning in Cape Town, one of the world’s most beautiful cities. We will cover a vast, majestic land, and this is sure to be the trip of a lifetime! Cape Town is certainly one of the world’s most scenic cities. We will visit the environs of the city: the lovely Winelands area that produces most of South Africa’s excellent vintages and home to some acclaimed restaurants, as well as the fantastically scenic Cape Peninsula down to the Cape of Good Hope at the “bottom of Africa.”

African Safari for Gay TravelersBeing a natural wonderland, the country of Botswana is exceedingly rich in wildlife, and its vast expanses of nature are filled with a wide variety of fauna and flora to see and experience. In fact, some safari aficionados consider Botswana to be Africa’s best country for this type of experience owing to its policy of keeping the number of visitors on the low side. Safari tours in Botswana are exciting and will leave you awestruck. We experience one of the world’s great natural phenomena, the tranquil Okavango Delta (and its Moremi Game Reserve), a 6,000-square-mile inland flood plain (larger than Connecticut) that fans out in the northwestern corner of the country, creating a paradise of palms, papyrus, crystal-clear channels, and backwaters. Set in a massive sea of Kalahari Desert sand, this fragile wonderland of waterways, islands, and forests is an oasis for wildlife, drawn to its life-giving waters from the surrounding thirsty lands. The evening air is filled with the sounds of birdcall, frogs, and antelope rustling in the reeds. Wildebeest, buffalo, and zebra roam the islands; elephants wade across channels under the watch of hippopotamus and crocodiles; and predators like lion and leopard rule the night. You will never forget our luxury safari “camp” here with its beautiful accommodation, very warm staff, and delicious cuisine.

cheetahIn northern Botswana lies the Savuti Region within Chobe National Park, a 5,000-sq.-mile home to some 100,000 elephants – the largest population of elephant in the world! But there is a lot more to this area than the elephants. It offers quite a varied and excellent wildlife viewing experience. The area is alive with birds, too — more than 460 different species, in fact.

guillermodanStraddling the western border between the countries of Zimbabwe and Zambia, Victoria Falls is justifiably called one of the Wonders of the Natural World, and spans a little more than a mile, making it the widest show of its kind on earth. The sight of more than 2 million gallons of water per second from the Zambezi River crashing 300 feet down (twice the height of Niagara) is one not easily forgotten. On a clear day, the veil of the roaring spray can be seen from up to 20 miles away, and the rain forest that clings to the cliffs opposite the falls in the Victoria Falls National Park is nourished by this constant spray. It is this phenomenon that gave the falls its local name: Mosi-Oa-Tunya — literally, “the smoke that thunders.

 

ACCOMMODATIONS

Following is a description of the superb lodgings we intend to use on this tour. We reserve the right to make changes to these accommodations.

Cape Town, South Africa — 3 nights

Our selected hotel in Cape Town is a small, classy place situated in a pleasant neighborhood with many nice shops and restaurants nearby, all with the majestic backdrop of Table Mountain. It’s got an eclectic mix of contemporary boutique and old-world charm. Colorful geometric designs, African crafts, and Africa-themed photography punctuate the ambience. We’ve booked the luxury-category rooms here, which are spacious and bright and come with nice touches like a foot spa, separate bathtub and shower, high-end toiletries, iPod docking station, plasma screen TV, and complimentary wifi. Rooms also have views of the neighboring mountains. Downstairs there’s a chic glass-roofed cocktail lounge and tapas venue; a restaurant featuring international and local dishes; an in-house gym; and a swimming pool (although at that time of year probably not much used). The hotel also provides a courtesy shuttle service to the V&A Waterfront.
Click on images below to enlarge.

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Moremi Game Reserve / Okavango Delta, Botswana — 3 nights

Opened in 2013 and independently owned and run, our selected camp presents a winning combination of excellent management, very good guiding, a secluded location, fantastic game viewing, and very comfortable accommodations. All 10 luxury tents are situated in the enviable position of the beautiful riverine treeline of the Khwai River, overlooking the famous Moremi Game Reserve. From your tent you can watch the daily parade of animals coming down to drink at the river in front of camp. Each tent has its own bathroom, complete with indoor and outdoor showers and dual washbasins. The whole camp is decorated in a very classic safari fashion, and the tents are no different. A stained-teak writing desk is found in each tent, complete with brass light fixtures and a freestanding fan next to it. There are a couple of comfortable chairs, perfect for relaxing in during the afternoons. Camping chairs and a table on the verandah provide a further place to relax and look out on the river. There’s also a masseuse’s table here as massages can be arranged during your stay. Meals are served in the main area, and there are also a couple of lovely seating areas/lounges; walls with detailed maps of the local region; and tables and well-stocked bookshelves hosting reference material on the local geography, geology, flora, and fauna. Past the main area is the circular swimming pool with river view. The camp’s energy requirements are met using 48 solar panels with a backup generator only when necessary.
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Savuti / Chobe National Park, Botswana — 2 nights

An exclusive and intimate ambience permeates this understated luxury lodge. Perched high in the hills overlooking the Savuti region in Botswana’s Chobe National Park lies our very comfortable lodge. This camp offers guests privacy and exclusivity, away from the crowds that frequent the busier sectors within Chobe. Opened in 2012, our camp’s unique hillside setting provides fantastic views of the legendary Savuti region. It has been designed to take full advantage of these views so that whether you’re dining in the common area, taking a dip in the rock pool, or sitting on the deck of your own canvas-sided suite, you’re going to be spoiled with scenery. As with the preceding camp this one is also independently owned and run. The secluded lodge runs purely on green energy: solar panels harvest the sunlight. Another nice feature of the camp is the private watering hole below it, visited by a good variety of animals. Being just a little bit closer to the heavens affords some superb star gazing when you look up. (Or you can use their telescope.) The camp’s 11 canvas suites are raised on wooden decks and come with their own bathrooms with eco-friendly toiletries, white-teak floors, nicely appointed furniture and fittings, fluffy towels, oversized pillows, down duvets, and private viewing deck. Come nightfall noises from the bush below drift up to your room. The main area of the lodge has a thatched roof, which helps it blend nicely into the surrounding hillside. The torch-lit boma (circular gathering place) is a lovely spot for pre-dinner drinks. Meals are wholesome and thoughtfully prepared. Home baked biscuits, bread rolls, pastries, cakes and scones are on offer at tea time. There’s even wifi in the main area.
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Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe — 2 nights

Our last accommodation is a private luxury lodge within the Zambezi National Park – a newly built tented lodge set among the trees right on the banks of the mighty Zambezi River. From the lodge the massive spray of Victoria Falls is visible in the distance downstream. Each tent has been tastefully decorated in earthy hues and offers a king size bed, comfortable sitting area, freestanding bath, twin sinks, indoor/outdoor showers, and a private viewing deck where you can sit and take in the river scenery and whatever might be happening at the moment. Standard in each tent are mosquito nets, a mini bar, ceiling fan, air conditioning, tea/coffee setup, mobile LED lamp light, robes/slippers. The only thing that really resembles a tent is the canvas on the outside. The main lodge has an open-plan lounge and dining area and is positioned just back from the river in view of wildlife that often passes in front (possibly elephant and hippo, for example). The cuisine here is top-notch with a choice wine list, and the kitchen was designed by the chef/owner of the Blue Ribbon restaurant group in the U.S. There’s also a pool, bonfire area, a tree hide overlooking a watering hole, and wifi. Taking advantage of its position on the Zambezi River the lodge includes a cruise on their own small boats as part of the available activities. The lodge also enjoys private concession access to Kandahar Island in the river – a good spot for bird watching.
Click on images below to enlarge.

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Uganda court strikes down anti-gay law

Gay rights activists in Uganda are cheering the decision by the country’s constitutional court to void a severe anti-gay law that had been passed earlier this year. But we still don’t think the time is right for gay travelers to go there — for example on one of the popular mountain gorilla safaris the country is known for. Anti-gay sentiment is huge there, and the law was only struck down on a technicality (rather than its horrific content) and, coincidentally, just before the Uganda president came to the U.S. for the African summit.

Members of Uganda's gay community reacts as the anti-gay law is declared null and void

East Africa Wildlife Safari

Gay Group African Luxury Safari

A Luxury Circuit in Kenya & Tanzania

October 17-26, 2014

Trip Highlights

  • Excellent game viewing and bird watching
  • Possibility to witness the Great Wildebeest Migration in the famed Serengeti National Park (◊)
  • Off-road game viewing in most locations
  • Good chance of checking off all of the “Big Five”
  • Great views of Mt. Kilimanjaro
  • Superb accommodations and gorgeous scenery
  • Opportunities for cultural interaction with the Maasai people
  • Game walks available with Maasai guides
  • The Ngorongoro Crater – the world’s largest unflooded volcanic caldera, with abundant wildlife
  • Lake Manyara in the Great Rift Valley
  • Download Detailed Itinerary

INTRODUCTION

Here’s the kind of adventure about which many people dream but few experience! The word “safari” is Swahili for “a journey,” and what a journey indeed we have in store for you here in East Africa where it all began – in Kenya and Tanzania. The writings of Karen Blixen, and the adaptation of her classic book Out of Africa into a major motion picture, helped established Kenya as a great safari destination in the modern era, and Tanzania soon followed. These are the best countries on the African continent for seeing large amounts of wildlife. And, not to be overlooked, some of the locations we experience are private reserves where we can roam the terrain away from others. Bird watching enthusiasts will also appreciate these countries with over a thousand species recorded within their borders.

Gay African Safari in Kenya and TanzaniaSet on the Tanzanian border, Kenya’s Amboseli National Reserve is a greatly scenic wildlife reserve. There are few better-known landscapes in the world than that of Amboseli. Many vistas here are dominated by the grandeur of the majestic, snow-capped peak of Kilimanjaro – Africa’s highest at over 19,000 feet! The image of elephant and giraffe crossing vast open plains against a backdrop of the snows of Kilimanjaro is one familiar to us all. Amboseli is perhaps best known for its abundant and approachable elephants, which are among the largest in Africa as they have been protected here for generations, and the guides from our camp know the families and their histories intimately. Our beautiful lodge sits adjacent to the Reserve on its own private concession which, importantly, means we have access to private, off-road game viewing and walks here as well as in Amboseli itself.

Gay Escorted African SafariLake Manyara National Park is where we enjoy a beautiful sunset excursion to hippopotamus pools and which has the Great Rift Valley Escarpment as its dramatic backdrop. Some 450 species of birds – including an astonishing 40 varieties of birds of prey – have been recorded here, making this one of Tanzania’s best bird-watching localities. Large flocks of flamingo congregate on the lake. Vegetation here includes wild fig, tamarind, mahogany, and sausage trees. If we’re very lucky we might have the bonus of spotting some of the tree-climbing lions of Manyara.

Gay African SafariSometimes known as the “Eighth Wonder of the World,” sometimes as the proverbial “Garden of Eden,” but definitely as a World Heritage Site, the Ngorongoro Crater is the largest  unflooded volcano caldera in the world with a vastness and beauty that are overwhelming. The conservation area contains perhaps the largest concentration of permanent wildlife in Africa, with an estimated 30,000 large mammals. It also happens to be one of the best reserves to see the very endangered black rhino — fingers crossed!

Gay African SafariThe Serengeti National Park – another World Heritage Site and larger than Connecticut — is Tanzania’s largest and most famous park and has the largest concentration of migratory game animals in the world. It’s also famous for its huge lion population and is one of the best places to see them. “Serengeti” is derived from the Maasai language and means “endless plain,” and the park lies within the primary migration route of the wildebeest. The population figures are staggering: 1.5 million wildebeest, half a million zebra, a plethora of other animals, and nearly 500 species of birds. Many wildebeest will meet their end as they cross the Mara River due to drowning or the patiently awaiting crocodiles. The part of the Serengeti we experience is a mix of open plains, bush, woodlands, and magnificent kopjes (rocky outcrops). Forests of large mahogany and fig trees are found along the rivers. (◊) Please Note: It’s impossible to predict the exact timing of the famous Serengeti migration which covers a circuit of about 500 miles. Usually, though, the migration will be happening during this time period in the part of the Serengeti where we’ll be staying.

ACCOMMODATIONS

Following is a description of the superb lodgings we intend to use on this tour. We reserve the right to make changes to these accommodations. In addition to the beautiful places here we also have our first night in an upscale, historic Nairobi hotel before heading out to the bush.

Amboseli National Reserve — Kenya — 2 nights

Our selected accommodation is a wonderfully conceived site — the only luxury tented camp in Amboseli — and offers the most exceptional views of Kilimanjaro. Situated in a forest of umbrella thorn trees, it’s located just outside the Reserve on a private concession so we can enjoy game drives in open-sided 4×4 vehicles in both areas as well as guided walks with expert Masaai guides, cultural visits, bush meals, and ‘sundowners’ at the top of a hill as the setting sun colors the snows of Kilimanjaro pink. Relax in an indulgent massage. Take a refreshing dip in the swimming pool. This camp has 16 luxury safari tents, all spacious and nicely appointed. Each tent is raised up on a wooden deck and consists of a main bedroom, bathroom, and spacious veranda all under a big thatched roof. At the lounge and dining area guests are close to the camp’s own watering hole and have views of Kilimanjaro. With an invitingly lush and healthy vegetable garden, the camp prides itself in serving up fresh salads and vegetables with every meal. From impressive bush breakfasts out in the middle of the plains to fresh homemade pastas and breads at the camp, the chefs excel with every meal. The friendly staff mostly come from the local Maasai community. This camp has been the recipient of myriad accolades and has been placed on many prestigious lists: the Good Safari Guide, the World Travel Awards, Travel + Leisure, Condé Nast Traveler, etc.
Click on images below to enlarge.

Ngorongoro Crater / Lake Manyara Area — Tanzania — 3 nights

Our accommodation during this leg of the journey is one of those places where most guests spend just a night passing through and then regret it the next morning. Not an actual safari camp but more akin to an African version of a European Relais & Chateaux property, this is a luxury inn situated on a historic, working coffee plantation with very close ties to the surrounding communities. A stay here provides a unique experience based upon East African traditions and hospitality. The 1929 original farmhouse has managed to retain its old-fashioned charm with a wide veranda, intimate lounges, inviting reading nooks, and a bar and dining room that look much as they must have done almost a hundred years ago. The gardens are exquisitely verdant and fragrant, the views out onto the rolling hills outstanding. Nestled near the forested slopes of the Ngorongoro Crater, we will use this multi-award-winning property as a base for three nights as we do day trips to the Crater and Lake Manyara National Park. The 17 guest rooms are actually richly appointed cottages with eucalyptus floors, hand-crafted furniture, a private veranda, wrap-around windows, a fireplace, and artwork commissioned from the farm’s artist-in-residence program. There are many cultural activities on offer as well, which provide a nice break from the safari routine, as well as rejuvenating spa treatments and various themed walks. The Chef de Cuisine and her culinary team are renowned for creating rich, farm-to-table organic cuisine, utilizing fresh, local and seasonal foods whenever possible, served in a dining room with upscale, down-home décor and soaring windows that frame the coffee fields and majestic distant views.
Click on images below to enlarge.

Serengeti — Tanzania — 3 nights

Recently the Tanzanian government granted permission to only a handful of permanent tented camps to operate in the remote far northern Serengeti, and ours was offered the prime site! While Kenya’s Masaai Mara is world-renowned, it can be very crowded, especially at this time of year. But here — just on the other side of the border — Tanzania’s Serengeti Mara is the same ecosystem with just a small fraction of the human visitors and all the same wildlife. Our gorgeous camp opened in 2011 and is operated by a top-notch safari operator. Travel + Leisure placed it on their 2012 “IT List” – a compilation of their favorite new accommodations. Twelve thatched chalets, a natural rock swimming pool, library, bar, and dining lodge are all set nearly invisibly amid the giant boulders of a kopje — a volcanic rock outcropping — with panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. The property is designed such that to the casual eye it melts into its hillside background. The chalets, a clever blend of canvas, plaster, wood-beam and thatched roof, have spacious bedrooms, bathrooms with double basin, outdoor decks, and Zanzibar style day beds, all hidden down a path between the boulders, creating a feeling of privacy, and all sited to afford spectacular views.
Click on images below to enlarge.