Gay Cape Town Cape Town City Guide

Cape Town is—in one word—ravishing. For starters, the city is flanked in natural wonders, from the crown-jewel that is Table Mountain National Park to the arresting coastline and its powdery white sand beaches. Then there's the noteworthy art and design scene, a testament to the innovative spirit of Capetonians—and a reflection of the melting pot of cultures coexisting within the city. Cape Town's culinary scene follows suit, with top-rated restaurants fusing global influences with home-grown South African flavours. That's not to say Cape Town isn’t without problems. Yes, the crime rate is high, and the economic disparity noticeable. But as this pulsating city continues to reinvent itself, discerning gay travellers can expect an urban getaway that brilliantly blends design-savvy businesses with stunning panoramas. Gay marriage is legal in South Africa, and gay travellers are unlikely to experience discrimination while travelling throughout the Mother City. De Waterkant is Cape Town's buzzing gay neighbourhood, an oasis of sleek gay bars and clubs—of which we've highlighted the best below. Now, let’s dive into your ultimate gay Cape Town travel guide.

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The best hotels in Cape Town

Located inside the reimagined grain elevator of a historic silo complex, everything about The Silo Hotel exudes personality and style. Renowned design firm Heatherwick Studio remodelled the facade of the building, which included the creation of the ingenious multi-faceted geometric glass windows (especially extraordinary when seen piercing the night sky with their warm glow.) Inside, owner and art enthusiast Liz Biden personally curated the decor and artwork to showcase some of Africa’s most exciting contemporary artists—all while respecting the time-honoured past of the historic building. The result is a brilliant blend of old and new, evident in details like the bright, whimsical paintings that lie alongside original grain hoppers and lavish bespoke furniture that juxtaposes the more rigid industrialist architecture. Another locale playing a starring role in Cape Town’s contemporary design hotel scene is Compass House. The style is decidedly refined with minimalist decor inspired by a melange of Mediterranean, African, and Asian influences. The colour palette skews towards neutrals, a smart move that allows the scintillating blue of Bantry Bay to take centre stage. From its prized cliffside vantage point, enjoy uninterrupted sea views from the refreshing infinity pool as well as many of the spacious suites. The shared balcony is an added bonus and makes for an ideal spot to end the day with a sundowner.

The Silo Hotel | Photo: Mark Williams

The Silo Hotel | Photo: Mark Williams

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The colour palette at The Compass House skews towards neutrals, a smart move that allows the scintillating blue of Bantry Bay to take centre stage

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