The simple answer is no, being gay cannot stop you from climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. We have guided many gay men and women to Mount Kilimanjaro and none of them have fallen foul of the homophobic laws of East Africa, Tanzania to be particular.
Your sexual orientation and gender identity as a tourist to Tanzania should be kept confidential. They should be of no interest or concern to anyone else if they stay this way.
You should be informed that LGBT acts are considered “un-African” by many traditional, conservative cultures across Africa, including Tanzania. Also, openly sexual behavior in public is nearly always inappropriate for any relationship, heterosexual or LGBT, and many Tanzanians will “stretch” this to take offense at public shows of affection.
Only a few times have we heard of the law affecting travelers in Tanzania. In one case, we hear that immigration questioned a married homosexual couple (not Tranquil Kilimanjaro travelers) who were traveling under the same surname about the nature of their relationship. They gave accurate answers and were denied entrance to the nation before being deported.
Staff in the tourist business like the mountain guides and the porters, on the other hand, are used to dealing with a diverse range of guests from various backgrounds from all over the world. From metropolitan hotels to distant safari lodges, we’ve seen employees that are comfortable and accommodating, and who act professionally regardless of their visitors’ sexual orientation.
We frequently request that rooms be arranged as doubles for LGBT couples and have never been denied or had trouble doing so.
To prevent offending locals, we ask all of our visitors for climbing Mount Kilimanjaro or safaris to be mindful of their surroundings and avoid public shows of affection. This strategy should ensure that all visitors to Tanzania, LGBT or not, have a safe and enjoyable experience.
How to behave in Tanzania
When visiting the region, though, it pays to be cautious and discreet. If you follow the following basic principles, your journey will go much more easily and you will avoid any potential problems:
- Don’t flaunt your sexuality.
- Avoid showing affection to your partner or anybody else of the same sex in public.
- Sexual liaisons with natives of the same sex should be avoided.
- Expect to be placed in a twin room (one with two single beds) rather than a double room if you’re traveling with your spouse (ie with one big bed for two people). This will occur regardless of the sort of accommodation you ordered.
- Be cautious about who you tell about your sexuality or with whom you debate sexual politics.
- If you follow these guidelines, you’ll be treated with the same warmth and friendliness as every other tourist to Tanzania.
LGBT Travel in Tanzania
Tanzania is one of Africa’s most well-established safari destinations, having welcomed visitors for decades. However, we are frequently asked, “Is LGBT Travel in Tanzania Safe?” or “How is LGBT Travel in Tanzania?” We’ll try to address these questions and explain what we know in this section.
Further sources of advice
If you would like to travel to Tanzania and climb Mount Kilimanjaro and would like to get more information or advice, do feel free to contact us anytime. In addition, a few of the most obvious sources of advice for LGBT travellers to Tanzania are:
- The UK Foreign & Commonwealth (FCO) website, which provides general advice on local laws and customs. This is worthwhile reading for all travellers, and more specific advice for LGBT travel abroad.
- The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Intersex Association (ILGA), which highlights the laws governing sexual orientation of countries worldwide.
- The Wikipedia entry on LGBT rights in Tanzania (and Zanzibar), which has plenty of information on the laws and customs.
- The BBC article, dated 31 Oct 2018, reported a crackdown in Dar es Salaam against same-sex couples instituted by the city’s governor.
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