Johannesburg celebrates gay culture in style during its annual Gay Pride March in September, but in the meantime, its gay-friendly bars, café-culture and trendy restaurants maintain the tempo year round. From township venues to dance spots, Jo'burg's gay rhythm never lets up its exciting beat.

Did you know?

Johannesburg has gay-friendly clinics that provide PEP, ARVs, HIV testing as well as counselling.

South Africa is known as a gay-friendly destination and Johannesburg is no exception.

South Africa has one of the most progressive constitutions in the world: homosexuality is legal; same-sex adoptions were legalised in 2003; and, only two years later in 2005, gay civil marriages became legal.

Gay Johannesburg epitomises this forward-thinking approach, and although it just lost out by a whisker to Cologne for the 2010 Gay Games, it hosts The Out in Africa International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival in March, whilst its annual Jo'burg Pride march began as long ago as 1990, before the 1994 new constitution came into force.

Back then a 1 000 courageous activists marched through the city centre – some wearing protective masks or paper bags as homosexuality was then still illegal. Today, the Jo'burg Pride event has grown into Africa’s oldest and biggest celebration of gay and lesbian Pride, and attracts thousands of people, not only from South Africa, but from all over the world.

Gay and lesbian communities happily live in all of South Africa’s major cities, including Johannesburg, but what you’ll find is that Jo'burg is an integrated city with little or no discrimination against gay people who frequent most restaurants, bars and clubs. You’ll be welcome most places you go, as well as in known gay establishments. It’s often a young, friendly gay crowd who go jolling – the quintessential South African equivalent of partying and having a good time.

There’s no shortage of nightlife that brims with cinemas, theatres, bars, nightclubs, casinos and a lively gay club life where you can go to theme parties, township venues or just dance the night away. There’s also a great sidewalk café-culture and great restaurants, where you can dine formally or informally on everything from fast food to fine dining, from Indian to Indonesian, classic Ethiopian to traditional West African.

Travel tips & Planning info

Who to contact

Johannesburg Tourism Association
Tel: +27 (0)11 214 0700

What's happening

Jo'burg Pride March annually in late September/early October. The Out in Africa International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival happens at at various times of the year in Johannesburg and Cape Town. See their website for details.

Related articles