Photo: Gaborone, Botswana.
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The 6 safest African countries for LGBTIQA+ life and tourism

Being a queer person in Africa comes with its share of challenges, with the majority forced to live a discreet life as a defence against the prevalent queerphobia of a conservative society.

Over the years, the African LGBTIQA+ community has continued to push for equal rights from society and governments.

Some African states have progressed towards recognising, guaranteeing, and respecting the rights of the community.

For fear of being attackedarrested, and persecuted, queer people have been finding safe havens in the few African countries that have decriminalised homosexuality.

Most African states are still holding onto laws that criminalise same-sex relationships, making it hard for the community to exist peacefully.

Here are six countries whose more progressive laws make them the best LGBTIQA+ destinations.

South Africa

Cape Town, South Africa.

South Africa was the first country on the continent to boldly come out to protect and guarantee the rights of the LGBTIQA+ community. 

It is the only African country where same-sex marriages are conducted openly and allowed by the government. 

South Africa has become the best destination for queer tourism and weddings.

Lesotho

This southern African nation has been among the top tourist destinations in Africa since it abolished its punitive homophobic laws in 2012.

Lesotho allows both male and female same-sex relationships.

Angola

Angola joined the league of queer-friendly African countries after it decriminalised same-sex relationships through an amendment of its law in 2021.

The new law removed a punishment of two years’ imprisonment for those found guilty of engaging in same-sex relationships. 

Since then, Angola has become a safe place for queer people to visit.

Luanda, Angola.

Botswana

In November 2021, the Court of Appeal in Botswana upheld a ruling by the High Court that decriminalised same-sex relationships.

Two years earlier, the High Court had issued a landmark ruling following a petition by a student.

The law previously imposed a seven-year imprisonment penalty for homosexuality.

With the recent ruling, Botswana entered the group of African safe havens for the LGBTIQA+ community.

Mozambique 

Another southern African nation, Mozambique became a hotspot for LGBTIQA+ tourism after it decriminalised same-sex relationships in 2015.

Mozambique is rated among the most tolerant nations in Africa.

Republic of Seychelles

A leading African tourist destination, Seychelles decriminalised same-sex relationships in 2016.

Homosexuality had been punishable by up to 14 years in prison.

Seychelles.

These countries have seen increasing numbers of LGBTIQA+ tourists, as well as those seeking refuge after fleeing persecution in their home countries.

They are also the African nations with the highest numbers of open same-sex relationships.

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