Although not well-known gay destinations, Johannesburg and Pretoria have a large gay community between them.
Most gay businesses are located in areas between Johannesburg and Pretoria, and tens of thousands have turned out in past years in October for Johannesburg Gay Pride.
However, Africa’s oldest LGBT event looked in doubt this year when previous organizers pulled out.
New groups have stepped in and now two events are planned for 2013: Soweto/Johannesburg Pride on Sept 28, with a Pride march from Mary Fitzgerald Square, along with a Pride festival with entertainment; and Pretoria Pride, on Oct 5.
Same-sex marriage became legal in South Africa on November 30, 2006, with the Civil Unions Bill — the fifth country in the world where this was done and the first in Africa.
Gauteng is the wealthiest of South Africa’s provinces. Gold was the reason at first, discovered here in the 1880s, but even today this region is the nation’s economic engine, with Johannesburg and Pretoria two of the nation’s most important cities.
With a population of eight million, Johannesburg is by far the largest city in South Africa. It has all the attending problems faced by big cities, such as pollution, traffic and crime. But the city invested heavily in its infrastructure in preparation for the 2010 World Cup, and it’s looking better than ever.
Among the urban sprawl you’ll find some beautiful parks and interesting modern architecture. Melville is a nightlife hub, full of coffeeshops, restaurants and clubs. Seventh Street here is lined with used bookstores, antique dealers and body-piercing salons. Outside the city are national parks where you can see lions, cheetahs and other animals.
Pretoria, located just to the north of Jo’burg, is one of the country’s three capital cities, serving as the executive centre, and de facto national capital. This major centre of Afrikaner culture has roughly 400,000 Afrikaners among approximately 1.2 million people in the metro area, giving this city the largest population with European ancestry in all of Africa.
Read more in our Gay Johannesburg & Pretoria City Guide.