Chances are, if you're reading this from outside the U.S. and have even a smidgen of a Y chromosome, you've already got South Africa on the mind. After all, the FIFA World Cup 2010 is only 126 days away (and counting)! But even if soccer mania, née football, doesn't course through your veins, the Rainbow Nation is gussying itself up for its grand debut, with adjacent events reaping the benefits, such as Cape Town's 8th annual Pride Festival, Uniting the Cultures of Cape Town, from February 26March 7. Expect smoother infrastructure and more restaurants, nightlife,and shopping, such as the gorgeous recent expansion to the De Waterkant Cape Quarter, to compliment its thriving, constitutionally enshrined, and perpetually evolving slice of gay life.
Now, thanks to South African Airways Vacations, share your pride with a nine-day luxury escape for only $1,999 plus tax. Book by May 16 for round-trip economy airfare from New York City, Washington, D.C. or Los Angeles (add approx. $150) plus six breakfasts, two dinners, ground transfers, a wine estate tour and five-star accommodations both in the Mother City (the hyper mod 15 on Orange Hotel, near the National Gallery and Company Gardens) and the Western Cape winelands (Rijk's Country House, newly restored Cape Dutch digs on a sedate, quaint vineyard). Prices are based on double occupancy and include fuel surcharges. Best of all, SAA Vacations' president assures us there is plenty of availability around Pride festival dates.
For those who prefer a more a la mode experience, stand-alone fares on FlySAA.com are $680 round trip but do not include taxes or fuel surcharge of approximately $412. Beware of price gouging when choosing amongst the city's bevy of hotels and B&Bs. A safe bet is the gay-owned and run Glen Boutique Hotel in Sea Point, featuring slickly appointed rooms, a convivial atmosphere, and a busy happy hour that sees locals flocking to the pool.
Visit Cape Town Pride's website for festival specifics. This year sees a Miss & Mr. Cape Town Pageant, a sports day, beach braai, Pink Ball party cruise, citywide club night, raucous parade, community seminars, and the long-running and ever-popular Out in Africa Film Festival.