Imagine convincing fourteen moffies, mostly from Cape Town, to go to Namibia and then getting them to row their own canoes down the Orange River for 71km. It sounds unthinkable, right?
Well, Orange Pride Safari managed to do just that with their recent, first gay-exclusive excursion targeting the pink market.
The secret was to lure us there with hedonistic and luxurious treats, super hot staff and exquisite cuisine – all under African skies.
The adventure started on a luxury coach leaving Cape Town, where members of the press were present as well as the Gay Flag of SA “flagboys” who were still being followed by movie cameras, filming their South African documentary on their recent “Pricilla” bus tour.
Guests were treated to Pierre Jourdan, Haute CabriÃ¨re and canapÃ©s before the departure to Noordoewer, Namibia where the mighty Orange River runs through the pristine Richtersveld.
Our first morning in Namibia started with a stretch and functional training by Chris, the hottie trainer.
There were a few guys who could hardly touch their toes, but kudos to them for making the effort to check out the trainer in his short shorts.
This was followed by a sumptuous breakfast and energy drinks to get the boys ready for paddling downstream into grade two rapids for the next few days.
The Orange River is the longest river in South Africa. It rises in the Drakensberg mountains in Lesotho, and flows westwards through South Africa to the Atlantic Ocean and forms part of the international border between South Africa and Namibia.
And what a river it is! We marvelled at ancient rocky landscapes, goats, queens falling out of their boats, and the spectacular Namibian zephyrs.
The part of the river we experienced runs through The Richtersveld, a mountainous desert landscape known for its rugged kloofs, high mountains and changing scenery.
It’s a special place for nature travellers and although the area appears barren and desolate at first glance, it reveals on closer inspection to be rich in desert life.
At each designated rest-spot, gourmet ice tea cocktails and beach umbrellas, along with gourmet lunches, were waiting for us. On arrival at the evening campsites, the boys put their feet up and enjoyed sundowners whilst the (young and very handsome) river guides ensured that our every comfort was met.
The campsite massage therapist, Pierre set up his massage bed (yes, on the river bank) and guests were treated to luxurious massages, all included in the trip’s fare.
Colonial-style safari sit-down dinners, with banquet tables and leather director’s chairs, were decked out to the nines with wired stilettos, crystal chandeliers and silverware accompanied by wine tasting, once again from the Haute CabriÃ¨re wine estate.
A resident chef made sure the boys were fed like queens, and even Tamo, the gluten-free princess and his dietary requirements were not a predicament at all – even in the middle of nowhere.
The food was hearty and flavourful. It baffles the mind that a mere open campfire can produce such high quality dishes as prawn paella, tender racks of lamb with roast potatoes as well Mediterranean skewers of beef and chicken with pita bread and tappas.
There were no corners cut. Each meal contained a delicate balance of spices, fresh herbs and a nightly wine pairing with excellent wines, followed by equally impressive freshly-prepared deserts.
The regal feel to the campsite, complete with freeform tents and lounge music, saw everyone suffering from delusions of grandeur as they relaxed on large cushions and soaked in the sensational Orange River sunsets.
‘Glamping’ can’t possibly get better than this. Even Dolce & Gabanna would be jealous of the style and opulence on the Orange River.
Orange was most certainly the new pink after this trip. If you had ever thought of going on an outdoor trip, canoeing down rivers, having fun with guys-only and being spoiled rotten along the journey, then this is it.
Visit www.orangepridesafari.co.za for more info on upcoming gay-exclusive and lesbian-exclusive Orange Pride safaris to Namibia.
Editor’s note: Henry Bantjez’s trip was complimentary of Orange Pride Safari.