"IMG_2196a" by Daniel Chong Kah Fui דניאל 張家輝 via Flickr Creative Commons

For gay and lesbian travelers, Africa and the Middle East represents somewhat of a challenge. In some countries the way of life simply banned by laws and person charged with any homosexual act could face years in prison. That said there are many underground scenes, helping hands, and friendly people that can make travel here more than worthwhile. The rise of cosmopolitan cities like Cape Town and gay travel groups at the Big Game Reserves are just a taste of what’s to come.

  1. Cape Town, South Africa Spend your days climbing around the Cape, taking wine tours, visiting a nude beach, and checking out a big game reserve and then head to trendy Greenpoint’s Waterkant Street for the best gay nightlife on the African continent.
  2. Tel Aviv, Israel The LGBT movement is strong here and growing, with openly gay public officials and a very liberal attitude towards gays and lesbians. Tel Aviv, the country’s most cosmo and diverse city has a small gay scene dominated by a few bars and clubs.
  3. Johannesburg, South Africa Jo’burg’s thriving gay scene centers around the Heartland, a revitalized district in the center with loads of gay friendly hotels, bars, clubs, and cafes.
  4. Jordan Jordan is one of the most progressive and open countries in the Middle East. While it still isn’t wise to flaunt your homosexuality, gay tour groups are frequently stopping at major tourist sites like Petra.
  5. Seychelles Islands These posh resort islands don’t care who you are to enjoy them, just as long as you can afford the airfare and luxury resorts.
  6. Dubai, United Arab Emirates The influx of western tourists in this posh Gulf hangout has lead to a much more liberal attitude than neighboring countries, although official laws may not agree.
  7. Cairo, Egypt When not visiting the Pyramids, gay tour groups are exploring the markets and nightlife of Cairo, which has a small gay scene dominated by a steady flow of tourists. Homosexuality here is a criminal offence, however.
  8. Istanbul, Turkey As it straddles both Europe and the Middle East, attitudes towards sexuality lean in two directions. On one end homosexuality is not illegal, but on the other end it isn’t out in the open. Still, gay tour groups flock here on Mediterranean cruises and to tour the numerous ancient sites across the country.
  9. Serengeti National Park, Tanzania Two world heritage sites and a biosphere reserve are found within this system of parks that hold the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Maswa Game Reserve, and the Loliondo, Grumeti and Ikorongo Controlled Areas. One of the oldest ecosystems on earth and where more than a million wildebeests and 200,000 zebras migrate each year, also a major stop for gay tours in Africa.
  10. Masai Mara Wildlife Reserve, Kenya One of the most popular big game reserves is visited by every sort of traveler, including numerous gay tour groups. The Masai Mara is Kenya’s largest game reserve and best known for its lions, black rhinos, cheetahs, and hippos.

Click here for the Top 10 LGBT Vacations in Asia and the South Pacific