BY Advocate.com Editors
February 02 2009 12:00 AM ET
4. The Okavango Delta of Botswana
The Eco-Adventure: This 9,000 square-mile inland river delta (the world’s largest) is where the Okavango River seeps into the Kalahari’s roasting sands. More than 250 bird species teem in the delta’s massive maze of inlets and islands, not to mention unwieldy hippos, furtive crocodiles, trumpeting elephants, and lily pads that appear to stretch on forever. The traditional safari through this sunny, aquatic paradise is taken via a mokoro or dugout canoe with a local guide.
Do It Gaily: Gay2Afrika (Gay2Afrika.com; 866-462-2374) is the only LGBT tour operator who can get you on a specialized weeklong safari of the region that includes gay-friendly guides, three nights in an upscale tented camp in the Okavango, three nights at the equally impressive Chobe National Park (known for its elephant herds), plus a tour of the majestic, 300-plus-foot Victoria Falls.
5. The Interior of Bali
The Eco-Adventure: Apart from the party-hearty beach scene of Kuta, Hindu-flavored Bali is an amazingly serene isle, rich in dense rainforest, active volcanoes, deep river gorges, arts and crafts villages, and ancient temples waiting to be explored. The mountainous far west of this approximately 2,000-square-mile island is little developed and mostly given over to national park land.
Do It Gaily: The tour company Spirit Journeys (SpiritJourneys.com; 800-754-1875) offers a two-week all-LGBT yoga retreat tour of Bali, which includes activities like whitewater rafting, elephant riding, and trekking in the rainforest to complement communing with the overwhelming tranquility of the isle through daily yoga and mediation sessions and visits to scared temples. You can also go au natural at two tasteful all-gay clothing-optional Balinese-style resorts on the island, Laki Uma Villa (UnseenBali.org; +62-361-736 568) and Umah Watu Villas (UmahWatu.com; + 62-361-731-006).
6. The Canadian Rockies of Alberta
The Eco-Adventure: With more than 700 peaks topping 6,000 feet, the Canadian Rockies make other ranges look like molehills. Four interconnected national parks—Banff, Kootenay, Yoho, and Jasper—cover more than 7,800 heavenly square miles that are one-stop shopping for mountain bikers, rock climbers, skiers, paragliders, and those who want to breathe in some of the purest air on earth. But the crown jewel of Canadian winter sports is heli-skiing, which was pioneered here in the 1960s.
Do It Gaily: With gay-friendly and gay-marketed Canadian Mountain Holidays (403-762-7100; CanadianMountainHolidays.com), you can heli-ski in winter or heli-hike in summer across more than 15,000 square miles of private wilderness—including glaciers covered in virgin powder in the spectacular Columbia Valley—with all meals and upscale lodging included. The oil boom city of Calgary is at the foothills of the Rockies, and is home to two gay-owned lodgings: Westways B&B (Westways.ab.ca; 403-229-1758), a 1912 Victorian home run by a friendly British gent; and the lesbian-owned Home Plate Comforts B&B (HomePlateComforts.ca; 403-263-2442), where women travelers are served gourmet meals in a cozy, upscale environment.