Being aware of local laws is essential for the safety of LGBTQ+ travelers, especially when so many countries in the African continent criminalize same-sex relationships. In many African countries, there is very little understanding of the diverse identities that make up the queer spectrum, and finding gay-friendly hotels on the continent can feel like finding a needle in a haystack.

Homosexuality is illegal in 31 of 54 African nations. In some countries, this is little more than a technicality, and in practice, same-sex displays of affection rarely result in any kind of punishment. In others, however, gay (and often, but not always) lesbian relationships are punishable by fines, jail time, and, in extreme circumstances, death.

Fortunately, more African countries have legalized same-sex activity, and some of them are among the most desirable destinations on the continent.

One country, however, stands out for its open-minded attitude towards the queer community, offering several gay-friendly hotels. That country is South Africa, which has served as a beacon for LGBTQ+ rights for many years and has established active gay communities in many of its major cities.

But there are also others that are starting to become more open and offer hotel options for the LGBTQ+ community on the African continent, allowing members of this community to enjoy what Africa can best offer in safety and comfort.

Below are some gay-friendly hotels in Africa.

1. Zanzibar White Sand Luxury Villas & Spa- Tanzania

Although Zanzibar White Sand Luxury Villas & Spa is not a gay exclusive hotel, but it is seen as a very gay-friendly location, according to World Rainbow Hotels.

Located 50 km from Zanzibar International Airport, this luxury resort has a view of the pristine beach of Paje. It features a spa, three beach bars, rooftop champagne bar and lounge, restaurant and seasonal kite surfing center.

2. LUX*Saint Gilles Resorts Hotels- Reunion Island

Considered the Hawaii of French territories, Reunion Island is a former French colony that became an overseas department in 1960. It is a speck of volcanic rock about 650 km from Madagascar.

It’s a natural paradise with huge waterfalls and world-famous surfing spots. In addition, Reunion Island has emerged as one of the liveliest and safest gay-friendly destinations in the world, according to the Spartacus Gay Travel Index, with emphasis on the West Coast region, which offers bars, restaurants and clubs geared towards the LGBTQ+ audience.

And that’s where LUX*Saint Gilles Resorts Hotels is located. The hotel is very close to one of the best beaches on the West Coast, the lagoon of L’Hermitage. Still, visitors can explore the island to discover all the tropical beauty that the place offers.

3. Pink Rose Guesthouse & Spa- Cape Town

In 2006, South Africa became the first African country to legalize same-sex marriage. With this legislation, Cape Town has become the most popular destination in South Africa for LGBTQ+ tourists. It became known as the “pink city” or the gay capital of Africa.

The Pink Rose Guesthouse & Spa is the first pink and gay guesthouse in Cape Town. It was opened in November 2009 following the goal to offer a one-of-a-kind Bed & Breakfast to the travelling gay-community.

4. The Cape Royale Luxury Suites- Cape Town

Located in central Green Point, close to Cape Town Stadium and V&A Waterfront, the Cape Royale Luxury Suites is another great place for LGBTQ+ travelers in Cape Town.

It has a spa and a gym, a well-equipped kitchen, as well as a large living and dining area. The suites have views of Cape Town Harbor and Table Mountain. All rooms have a flat-screen TV with satellite channels.

5. The Glen Boutique Hotel & Spa- Cape Town

The Glen Boutique Hotel & Spa is situated in a residential district close to Cape Town’s center. Although it is known as a gay-friendly hotel, it welcomes all types of guests. It offers a range of facilities including pools, saunas, and hot tubs. Rooms are plush and contemporary, all with outdoor areas and some with sea views.