LGBT travellers in Zimbabwe
Reading the above, Zimbabwe can seem an unwelcoming country for LGBT travellers, although for the most part we've found Mugabe's stance to be little more than an appeal to a rural, traditional base of supporters.
Even as the country was going downhill in the last decade or so of Mugabe's rule, tourists were universally welcomed by politicians of all hues. As far as we know no tourists to Zimbabwe has ever been charged under any of the country's homophobic laws.
We have been arranging trips to Zimbabwe for over 20 years, during which time none of our travellers, including those who identify as LGBT, have encountered any problems with regards to their sexuality. Travellers sexual preferences and gender identity are their own business, and nobody we've met, or heard about, in the country has ever shown any interest in prying into this aspect of our travellers lives.
While the law and private attitudes may not be supportive of same-sex couples, our clear expectation is that provided our travellers avoid public displays of affection, they should not receive any negative attention. Indeed, overt public displays of affection by any couple - gay or straight - risk causing upset and offence, particularly in more rural conservative areas, so we would extend this advice to all of our travellers.
We routinely inform safari camps and hotels whether couples require double or twin beds. To date we have had no problems with such requests, regardless of the configuration of genders. Camp staff are increasingly exposed to a diversity of people from around the world, and while some members of staff may be more conservative in their beliefs than others, it is almost unheard of for anyone to act in a way that isn't tolerant or professional.
Further sources of advice
We hope that this advice is helpful, and gives you a good background on LGBT travel in Zimbabwe, but please do call us if you would like to discuss the issue in more detail. In addition, the following may help:
- GALZ The website for Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe, a voluntary organisation established to serve the needs of the LGBT community in Zimbabwe
- The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has more general advice, not specific to Africa, on it's LGBT foreign travel advice page
- The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA) provides information on the laws of countries worldwide, focussed around a series of summary maps.
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