South Africa is one of the few countries in the world to constitutionally prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and in 2006 legalised marriages of members of the same-sex.  In this accepting environment, the closet days of the homosexual community of South Africa are well in the past, and the country is enjoying a favourable reputation for gay and lesbian holidays in South Africa.

Gay networks are strongest in the big cities, with Cape Town in particular being known for gay- and lesbian-friendly holidays in South Africa. A number of websites catering to this community list restaurants, bars, nightclubs, services and events popular among its members.

Timing a trip to include some spectacular annual events will make the prospect of gay and lesbian holidays in South Africa all the more attractive.

The Gay Pride March is held in Johannesburg in September/October from the city's Zoo Lake through the suburb of Rosebank.  The parade is followed by an open-air celebration and concert, followed by after-parties.

The Cape Town Pride Festival is held in February attracts around  5 000 marchers and spectators, ‘including drag queens, leather men and muscle Marys', says its website.

The outrageous Mother City Queer Project party in December is one of the city's most popular yearly events and attracts stylish people of all sexual orientations.

The Out in Africa film festival is held in Johannesburg and Cape Town in September, with satellite events throughout the year in smaller centres.

The Pink Loerie Mardi Gras in Knysna in May is a 4-day fest of art expos, concerts, parties, parades and competitions.

A number of local inbound tour operators offer tours of the country tailored to meet gay and lesbian interests and preferred activities.