In a continent not known for its queer-friendliness, South Africa is the most accepting country with a vibrant queer scene of Johannesburg gay bars, clubs, events, and LGBTQ+ nightlife.

This city, a phoenix reborn from the apartheid era, now thrives as a vibrant hub of art, fashion, and gastronomy, making it an irresistible destination for the LGBTQ+ community and allies alike. Queer nightlife is bigger than ever here, particularly in the Greenside and Melville areas, offering some of the best gay bars in Johannesburg (and for the most part, gay and straight mix and mingle throughout the city). Safety-wise, check in with locals for a heads up on what to avoid—as the seat of South Africa’s wealth, Joburg has serious income inequality issues and some areas contend with lots of street crime.

No visit to Johannesburg is complete without a stop at Constitution Hill. More than just a former prison, it's a powerful symbol of South Africa's journey to democracy. The site tells heart-wrenching stories of the past while showcasing the country's commitment to human rights. The LGBTQ+ community, in particular, will find resonance in the narratives of struggle, resilience, and triumph over adversity.

Next up Soweto! An emblem of courage and resistance, this is where the fight against apartheid came alive. The Hector Pieterson Museum and Mandela House offer profound insights into South Africa's turbulent history. But Soweto is not just about the past; it's a vibrant, living city with a throbbing nightlife, welcoming taverns, and a spirit of endurance that's palpable in its streets and its people.

Johannesburg may be a bustling urban giant, but it also boasts breathtaking natural escapes. When you’re ready to venture out by day, you’ll find plenty to do. Nature lovers can enjoy the world’s largest man-made forest, play with lion cubs at the Lion Park, take a thrill ride at Gold Reef City or even head out from the city for an African safari. The Walter Sisulu National Botanical Garden is a haven of tranquility, offering lush landscapes and the mesmerizing Witpoortjie waterfall. It's the perfect spot for a romantic picnic or a contemplative stroll. You’ll also find great street shopping and food on nearly every corner of the city afterward.

Just outside the city, the Cradle of Humankind awaits. This UNESCO World Heritage site offers a fascinating glimpse into our ancestors' world. Maropeng and the Sterkfontein Caves take you on a journey through time, where the story of humanity is told through ancient fossils and awe-inspiring exhibits. It's a reminder of our shared origins, regardless of race, gender, or sexual orientation.

Finally, if you really want to really see the city’s vibrant LGBTQ+ community on display, visit for Johannesburg Pride. This is one of the major highlights for our community, so if you want to go out and show your pride in Jozi, then this is your chance!

Diverse, intoxicating, sultry...everyone walks away from Johannesburg with a different take. But we can promise this: post-visit, you’re sure to leave with lasting impressions of a city you won’t forget. So, don’t miss out on some of the best gay bars in Johannesburg and all they have to offer while you visit in beautiful South Africa!

View the index of more than just the best LGBTQ events + gay bars in Johannesburg, South Africa

YOUR FILTERS     Asexual

Join our list and get more!

We'll send you upcoming events, free city guides, offers from partners, first access to new features and more.

Sign up now
A lesbian, gay, queer, and transgender crowd at a gay club dancing the night way after finding the club on Rainbow Index

Add your passion to this project!

Did you know that Rainbow Index is a passion project fueled by volunteer time and personal funds?

We love what we do and are currently spending lots of time talking to people like you, to continue creating LGBTQ+ travel solutions while having an absolute blast together.

You can be part of the fun by booking an online chat with a Rainbow Index team member about your travel and entertainment needs. You could even join our super user group and try new features ahead of the pack with other (opinionated) community members!

Book time
A lesbian, gay, queer, and transgender crowd at a gay club dancing the night way after finding the club on Rainbow Index