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OutUK correspondent Rex Wockner has been visiting South Africa checking it out as a gay holiday destination, and thinks it offers a whole lot more than traditional popular gay destinations like Mykonos or Key West. Here's his holiday diary.

CAPE TOWN: BEAUTIFUL, CHEAP, GAY

Cape Town is a stunning oceanside city as beautiful as any in the world with First World gay life, a Mediterranean climate, nice hotel rooms for very little and and good restaurant meals for even less, so what's the catch? Flights are more expensive than to Southern Europe or the States and, in present-day South Africa, one needs to be more concerned about crime than even in the U.S. There are no other catches. The extra money you spend on air fare, you will more than recoup in savings once in South Africa. The rand changes around 17 to the pound these days.

As for crime, take the same precautions as you would in Mexico or the Caribbean and don't go places that guidebooks and acquaintances advise against. Which is not to suggest South Africa is a Third World country. What it is, oddly, is a First World country inside a Third World country. But to find that Third World, as a visitor, you have to go looking for it, an outing I'll detail below.

DAY 1

I arrived courtesy of South African Airways and was collected at the airport by Henry of Cape Town Tourism and his lover Alastair, and deposited at Newlands Guest House. The guest house was very charming, though the location is a little far from the centre of the action.

After settling in I bopped over to the Cape Town Tourism office to catch up on my e-mail then set off for a walking tour of downtown.

DAY 2

The next morning, feeling a little jet-lagged yet frisky, I set off with the gay company Classic Cape Tours to the Cape Peninsula, The Cape of Good Hope and Cape Point.
We went via the picturesque villages of Fish Hoek and Simon's Town the main naval port. Cape Point is stunning and feels like the complete bottom of the world, but I was even more intrigued by the wild ostriches running around and the wild baboons that jumped on top of the car in front of us.
Baboons stop traffic in Western Cape Province.
Photo by Rex Wockner
Dinner was in the seaside village of Hout Bay at the Chapman's Peak Hotel - be sure to try the calamari!

DAY 3

Today saw me move to the more centralised Richborough Villa gay guest house run by Tim Curson. The room was pleasant and the breakfasts were huge. I set off early for a tour of the local wine-region. The mountains and valleys of this area are as beautiful as any anywhere, and some of the wines would be worth the hassle of shipping them home.

Day 4

 

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