Until 1966, few people heard about Botswana and its capital Gaborone – the country was a protectorate of Great Britain. The city of Gaborone was a small village near the border with South Africa, but in 1969 it was proclaimed the capital and in just three years it was completed to the scale of the city. According to wholevehicles, there is no special history in Gaborone: in the city center you can see only government buildings, the university and the national museum. The old village can be seen within the city, this area is called The Village (“village”).
Of the interesting things here are nature and national parks, there are several of them in the vicinity of Gaborone. The most famous is the lion park, in others you can see leopards, elephants and rhinos in their natural habitat. There is a river in the city, but you won’t be able to swim there, as crocodiles are already swimming there.
How to get to Gaborone
By Air Botswana from Harare, Lusaka and Johannesburg. By train: South Africa Express from Cape Town and Johannesburg (tel. 397 2397; 309 5740).
Driving in Gaborone is on the left. Taxis: Municipal transport, including taxis, have blue license plates (although there are many private companies). It is convenient to take the driver’s mobile number from the driver (if you liked his service) and in the future use only his services – it will be cheaper. The city also practiced trips “pooling” with a subsequent proportional division of payment. And try to bargain. On average, a trip costs around 20-30 P.
Bus: in Gaborone itself, buses successfully replace “combi” (something like our minibuses), the cost of the trip is 3 R.
For intercity travel by bus, it is better to come to the bus station in advance. Buses leave as soon as all seats are taken.
And take water with you – often there are no air conditioners in local buses.
The city has a lot of hotels of different levels. You can choose budget accommodation at the 2-star Tony’s Serviced Apts, located near the university, or the Super Guest House, which can be found on Tlhwane Road Broadhurst ext 20, relatively close to the city center.
Cresta President Hotel, the city’s first luxury hotel, is centrally located on Mall Road. You can stay comfortably in the Grand Palm Hotel. The hotel’s extensive grounds include a private lake, a swimming pool, a fine restaurant serving local delicacies, a tennis court and a casino. Two blocks from the Middlestar Mall, you will find the African Home, a small but very modern hotel.
Cuisine and restaurants
The local cuisine is distinguished by a mixture of styles: traditional African cuisine is combined with elements of Malaysian and even Indian culinary motifs. Meat is the basis of any dish, and traditional porridge made from cornmeal is also popular.
Fans of culinary extremes can try tree caterpillars flavored with red pepper and peanuts.
For food without a touch of the exotic, you’ll find the popular Bull & Bush Pub, which serves huge steaks and cold beer, and the Terrace Restaurant, where you can dine on curries and grilled meats.
On weekends, you can buy wood and stone products cheaply from local craftsmen at Riverwalk Mall. You should visit the Game store in Game City Mall – this is the biggest supermarket in the city where you can buy tons of souvenirs. Be sure to check out the Green Shop, an amazing rustic hut-style store that sells products handcrafted by Botswana women as part of their environmental programs.
Entertainment and attractions of Gaborone
The National Museum and Art Gallery is located northwest of Mall Road. Here you can see the original works of local artists and traditional products of the Bushmen – the natives of South Africa. The National Botanical Garden contains an amazing collection of specimens of native flora.
Climb up Kgale Hill, one of the largest hills in the city (1300 meters high), from where you can enjoy a wonderful view of the city and the surrounding area.
Be careful – you may encounter baboons along the way.
To the south of the city is the Gaborone dam, the surroundings of which are gradually turning into a recreation area. There is a yacht club, parks, recreation areas. Birdwatching, windsurfing and fishing are available in the vicinity of the dam. Unfortunately, the abundance of crocodiles makes swimming impossible.
Nature reserves around Gaborone
Gaborone is the starting point for visiting many nature reserves. Closest to the city are Mokolodi, which is two hours away by car. Cheetahs, giraffes, zebras, elephants, hippos are found in the reserve. The guides of the reserve are qualified and courteous.
If you are traveling by car, you can also drive to the Gaborone Reserve (the third largest in Botswana) on your own. Mostly birds live here, although you can also see zebras and wild boars. There are places for picnics in the reserve. In addition to baboons, ostriches also present some security problems.