Nice 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.
We’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!
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 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!
- 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
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.”
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.
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.
Cape Town + Botswana Wildlife Safari + Victoria Falls
- 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
Here’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.”
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. 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.
In 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.
Straddling 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.
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.
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.
Click on images below to enlarge.
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.
Click on images below to enlarge.
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.