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WWhile there are exclusively lesbian and gay clubs and bars in South Africa’s cities, there are also many establishments that, along with members of the LGTBQ+ communities, welcome anyone who wants to party the night away.
South Africa is known as a gay-friendly destination and Johannesburg is no exception. Its bars, cafe culture and trendy restaurants maintain an upbeat tempo all-year round. From township venues to dance spots, Johannesburg’s rhythm never lets up on its exciting atmosphere.
H-Bar is a popular part of the gay and lesbian party scene. Also in Johannesburg, Simply Blue has a reputation as a leading gay bar. There’s also an exclusive bar at the REC Room and Factory is another men-only bar next to Ellis Park Sports grounds.
SSouth 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.
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 held yearly, whilst its annual Joburg Pride March first hit the Joburg streets in 1990, before the current constitution came into force.
Today, the Joburg 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. It takes place in Melrose Arch and is a fun, vibrant day out.
Gay and lesbian communities happily live in all of South Africa’s major cities, including Johannesburg, but what you’ll find is that Joburg 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.
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 themed parties, township venues or just dance the night away. There’s also a great sidewalk cafe 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.