Gaborone: Wikis


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—  City  —
Gaborone skyline
Nickname(s): Gabs, GC, Gabz, G-City
Gaborone is located in Botswana
Location of Gaborone in Botswana
Coordinates: 24°39′29″S 25°54′44″E / 24.65806°S 25.91222°E / -24.65806; 25.91222Coordinates: 24°39′29″S 25°54′44″E / 24.65806°S 25.91222°E / -24.65806; 25.91222
Country  Botswana
District South-East
Sub-district Gaborone
Founded 1964[1]
Named for Chief Kgosi Gaborone
 - Mayor Harry Mothei[2]
Area [3]
 - Total 19.6 km2 (7.6 sq mi)
Elevation [4] 983 m (3,225 ft)
Population (2001)[5][6]
 - Total 186,007
 Density 1,101/km2 (2,851.6/sq mi)
Time zone Central Africa Time (UTC+2)
 - Summer (DST) not observed (UTC+2)
Geographical area code[7][8] 3XX

Gaborone (Tswana /χa.bʊˈrʊ.nɪ/; English pronunciation: /ˌɡæbəˈroʊniː/ or /ˌxɑːbəˈroʊneɪ/, named after Chief Kgosi Gaborone) is the capital and largest city of Botswana with a population of 186,007 based on the 2001 census[5]. It is the administrative capital of the South-East District as well as the sub-district of Gaborone. Locals often refer to the city as Gabs[9].

Gaborone is situated at 24°39′29″S 25°54′44″E / 24.65806°S 25.91222°E / -24.65806; 25.91222 between Kgale and Oodi Hills, on the Notwane River in the southeastern corner of Botswana, and 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) from the South African border[10]. The city is served by the Sir Seretse Khama International Airport.



A postage stamp c.1943, the postmark reading "Gaborone's Village"
Rev. Derek Jones, the first mayor of Gaborone

Evidence shows that there have been inhabitants along the Notwane River for centuries. In more recent history, Chief Kgosi Gaborone left the Magaliesberg to settle in the area around 1880, and called the settlement Moshaweng. The city was then called Gaberones by the early European settlers[11]. Gaberones, derived from Gaborone's Village, was named after Chief Gaborone of the BaTlokwa[10], whose home village, now called Tlokweng, was across the river from the Government Camp, the name of the colonial government headquarters. The nickname, GC, comes from the name Government Camp.[9] In 1890, Cecil John Rhodes picked Gaberones to house a colonial fort[12]. The fort was where Rhodes planned the Jameson Raid[11].

In 1965, the capital of the Bechuanaland Protectorate moved from Mafeking to Gaberones. When Botswana gained its independence, Lobatse was the first choice as the nation's capital. However, Lobatse was deemed too limited, and instead, a new capital city would be created next to Gaberones[9]. The city was chosen because of its proximity to a fresh water source, its proximity to the railway to Pretoria, its central location among the central tribes, and its lack of association with those surrounding tribes[10].

The city was planned under Garden city principles with numerous pedestrian walkways and open spaces[3]. Most of the city was built within three years. Buildings in early Gaborone include Assembly buildings, government offices, a power station, a hospital, schools, a radio station, a telephone exchange, police stations, a post office, and more than 1,000 houses[13]. Because the city was built so quickly, there was a massive influx of labourers who had built illegal settlements on the new city's southern industrial development zone. These settlements were named Naledi. Naledi literally means the star, but could also mean under the open sky or a community that stands out from all others. In 1971, because of the growth of illegal settlements, the Gaborone Town Council and the Ministry of Local Government and Lands surveyed an area called Bontleng, which would contain low-income housing. However, Naledi still grew, and the demand for housing was greater than ever. In 1973, the Botswana Housing Corporation (BHC) built a "New Naledi" across the road from the "Old Naledi". Residents from Old Naledi would be moved to New Naledi. However, the demand for housing increased yet again; moreover, the residents who relocated to New Nadeli disliked the houses. The problem was solved in 1975 when Sir Seretse Khama, the president of Botswana, rezoned Naledi from an industrial zone to a low-income housing area[14].

On 30 September 1966, Bechuanaland became the eleventh British dependency in Africa to become independent. The first mayor of Gaborone was Reverend Derek Jones[15]. The old Gaberones became a suburb of the new Gaborone, and is now known as "the Village"[9].

In the mid-1980s, South Africa attacked Botswana and conducted raids on Gaborone and other border towns. The raids resulted in fifteen civilian deaths[16].

After the 1994 General Elections, riots started in Gaborone because of high unemployment and other issues[16].

Today, Gaborone is growing very rapidly. The city originally planned on 20,000 citizens, but by 1992, the city had 138,000 people. This has led to many squatter settlements on undeveloped land[17].


Gaborone is situated at 24°39′29″S 25°54′44″E / 24.65806°S 25.91222°E / -24.65806; 25.91222 between Kgale and Oodi Hills, on the Notwane River in the southeastern corner of Botswana, and 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) from the South African border[10] Gaborone is surrounded by the following cities: Ramotswa to the southeast, Mogoditshane to the northwest, and Mochudi to the east, and Tlokweng across the river. Most of them are commuter towns for Gaborone. Suburbs in Gaborone include Broadhurst, Gaborone West, The Village, Naledi[10], and New Canada]. Phakalane, an affluent suburb, lies outside the city limits[18].


Climate chart (explanation)
average max. and min. temperatures in °C
precipitation totals in mm

Under the Köppen climate classification system, Gaborone is classified as semi-arid (BSh). Most of the year, Gaborone is very sunny. The summers are usually hot. The nights are cool. Usually, the summers with little rainfall are warmer than summers with regular rainfall. If there is a drought, the hottest temperatures of the year are usually in January of February. If there is normal rainfall, the hottest temperatures are usually in October, right before the rain starts. During the winter, days are still warm, and the nights are cold[19].

There are on average seventy-four days per year with temperatures above 32 °C (90 °F). There is on average 196 days per year with temperatures above 26 °C (79 °F). There is on average fifty-one days per year with temperatures below 7 °C (45 °F). There is on average one day per year with temperatures below 0 °C (32 °F)[20]. The average dew point peaks around January and February at 16 °C (61 °F) and hits the lowest levels in July at 2 °C (36 °F). The average dew point in a given year is 10 °C (50 °F)[20].

Precipitation in Gaborone is sparse and variable. Most of the rainfall in Gaborone falls during the summer months, between October and April[19]. There is on average forty days of thunderstorms per year, most of the happening during the summer months, and four days of fog, usually happening during the winter months[20].

The highest humidity occurs in June at 90% while the lowest humidity is in September at 28%[19].

Solar radiation levels range from 14.6 MJ/m² in June to 26.2 MJ/m² in December[19].

It is windier from August to November at 14 kilometres per hour (8.7 mph), and it is calmer from May to July at 8 kilometres per hour (5.0 mph). The average wind speed in a given year is 12 kilometres per hour (7.5 mph)[20].


Historical populations
Year Pop.  %±
1971 17,700
1981 59,100 233.9%
1991 133,500 125.9%
2001 186,000 39.3%

The population, based on the 2001 census, is 186,007. There are 91,823 males and 94,184 females in the city[22]. There are 58,476 households in Gaborone[5]. The city of Gaborone is home to 10% of the population of Botswana[16].

The population growth rate of Gaborone is 3.4%, the highest in the country. This is most likely because the city has a more developed infrastructure, making it more livable[23]. Gaborone is one of the fastest-growing cities in the world[10].

The sex ratio of Gaborone is 97.6, meaning that there are 976 men for every 1,000 women[23].

It is estimated that over one-third of the people living in Gaborone, 38.8%, have AIDS—the highest prevalence in the world. The rate is even higher for people between the ages of 15 and 49 at 44%[3].

Map of the Diocese of Gaborone

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Gaborone, which is under the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Pretoria, is located in the city. The diocese contains the southern half of Botswana, and the bishop for the diocese is Bishop Valentine Tsamma Seane who was consecrated on 25 April 2009. The previous bishop was Boniface Tshosa Setlalekgosi. There is a catholic cathedral called Christ the King Cathedral[24][25].

There is a Hindu temple in Gaborone, nicknamed Hindu Hall as well as a gurudwara and a mosque[26]. Construction started in May 2001 on a Venkateswara temple in Gaborone West] for a local community of Telugu people by the Botswana Hindu Charities Trust[27] and was complete in September 2007. The Indian High Commissioner, and the President Festus Mogae visited the temple upon its completion[28].


Debswana offices in downtown Gaborone

Gaborone is the center of the national economy. The headquarters of important financial institutions such as the Bank of Botswana, Bank Gaborone, BancABC, and the Botswana Stock Exchange are located downtown, as well as the headquarters for Air Botswana, Consumer Watchdog, Botswana Telecommunications Corporation, and Debswana, the joint diamond mining venture between De Beers and the Botswana government. The Southern African Development Community (SADC) has its headquarters in Gaborone; the organization was formed in 1980 to increase economic cooperation among its members and reduce dependence on South Africa[10].

Orapa House, owned by Debswana through the Botswana Diamond Valuing Company (BDVC), is where the diamonds mined from Debswana are sorted and valued[29]. Orapa House, located at the intersection of Khama Crescent and Nelson Mandela Drive[30], has a unique style of architecture that allows the perfect amount of indirect sunlight to shine through the windows in order to accurately sort diamonds[31].

Arts and culture

The National Museum and Art Gallery is located just northwest of the Mall along Independence Road[30]. The museum opened in 1968. It holds many things from traditional crafts to works of art by local artists. The museum houses original paintings by Thomas Baines and Lucas Sithole. Exhibits include Artists in Botswana, Children's Art Competition and Thapong International. Outside the museum, there are various forms of transportation such as wagons, sledges, and bakkies (pickup trucks)[32]. There is also an exhibit on the Bushmen, the earliest inhabitants of southern Africa[33]. The museum opened a 3.6-hectare (9-acre)[34] botanical garden called the National Botanical Garden on 2 November 2007[35]. The garden was built to protect Botswana's indigenous plant life, and 90% of its total plant species are native plants from Botswana[34].

The Maitisong Festival was started in 1987 and is held every year for seven days on either the last week of March or the first week of April. The festival holds outdoor concerts, plays, and movies in various venues around the city[11].

“My African Dream” is a performing-arts competition that is held every year at the Gaborone International Convention Center. The show features many kwaito dancers and musicians[16].

The book series, The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, is set in Gaborone. The series is written by Alexander McCall Smith. The books follow Precious Ramotswe, the first female private detective in Botswana, and the mysteries that she solves.


There are several football stadiums located in and around Gaborone. They are SSKB Stadium, Mochudi Stadium, and Botswana National Stadium. There are also many football teams representing Gaborone. They include Botswana Defence Force XI, Gaborone United, Notwane FC, Police XI, and Uniao Flamengo Santos FC; all of them play in the Botswana Premier League. The Botswana national football team play in the National Stadium, but have never qualified for the FIFA World Cup nor the Africa Cup of Nations.

The Botswana Cricket Association, the governing body of cricket in Botswana, is headquartered in Gaborone.

Parks and recreation


Satellite picture of Gaborone with the large lake being the Gaborone Dam

Gaborone Dam

The Gaborone Dam is located south of Gaborone along the Gaborone-Lobatse road, and while providing water for the city, it is also starting to be marketed as a recreational area. The northern end of the reservoir is planned to become an entertainment venue called The Waterfront. There is a yacht club, called Gaborone Yacht Club, also on the northern side of the lake. The southern end houses the Kalahari Fishing Club and a new public facility called City Scapes]. City Scapes contains parks, playgrounds, and boating facilities[36]. The dam is popular with birdwatchers, windsurfers, and anglers[11]. However, there is no swimming due to crocodiles and parasitic bilharzias[31].

Gaborone Game Reserve

The Gaborone Game Reserve is a 600-hectare (1,500-acre) park west of the city on Limpopo Drive[30]. The reserve was built in 1988 and is now the third-busiest in Botswana. Examples of animals in the park are impala, kudu, ostriches, wildebeest, zebras, gemsbok, bushbuck, springbok, duiker, Common Eland[37], and warthogs[11]. The park is famous for its birdwatching[33]. Birds in the marshy section of the park include snake eagles, boubou, gallinule[37], kingfishers, and hornbills[11].

Kgale Hill

Kgale Hill is located a few hundred metres from the city. The hill is nicknamed the Sleeping Giant and is 1,287 metres (4,222 ft). There are three different paths to reach the top, usually taking two hours[11].

Mokolodi Nature Reserve

The Mokolodi Nature Reserve is a 30-square-kilometre (12 sq mi) reserve that was created in 1994[38]. It is located 12 kilometres (7.5 mi) south of Gaborone[11]. There are many different species of animals found in the park such as warthogs, steenbok, kudu, zebras, giraffes, Common Eland, ostriches, hippos and rhinos. The park helps with wildlife projects in Botswana that include: the reintroduction of the White Rhino and the relocation of “problem” cheetahs. Mokolodi also holds the Education Centre, which teaches children about the conservation projects[38].

Somarelang Tikologo Ecological Park

Community Playground

Somarelang Tikologo (Environment Watch Botswana) is a member-based environmental NGO housed inside an ecological park at the heart of Gabarone. The aim of the organization is to promote sustainable environmental protection by educating, demonstrating and encouraging best practices in environmental planning, resource conservation and waste management in Botswana. The park was officially opened by the Botswana Minister of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism, Hon. Onkokame kitso Mokaila on 27 February 2009. The park contains a playground for children to play on throughout the day, a community organic garden, a recycling drop-off center, and a shop where visitors can purchase products made of recycled material.[39].


Entrance to the National Assembly of Botswana in Gaborone

Gaborone is the political center of Botswana. Most government buildings are located west of the Mall in an area called the Government Enclave[30]. The National Assembly of Botswana, the House of Chiefs of Botswana, the National Archives[3], and the Ministry of Health]. Near the entrance of the parliament building, there is a statue of Sir Seretse Khama, Botswana's first president.

An International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA) was established on 24 July 2001 in Gaborone. The academy would provide training for middle managers for the countries in the Southern African Development Community (SADC)[40].


  • Derek Jones][15]
  • Serara T. Ketlogetswe[41]
  • Nelson Ramaotwana[42]
  • Paul Rantao][43]
  • Harry Mothei[2]


The city is also home to several embassies and consuls[44][45][46].


Environmental Science Building at the University of Botswana

Gaborone has many primary and secondary schools, both public and private. These include Westwood International School, Maru-a-Pula School, Legae and Thornhill Primary School.


The main campus of the University of Botswana, established in 1982[10], is on the western side of the city[30].Other universities include the Limkokwing University Of Creative Technology, which also has a campus in Gaborone. Botswana Accountancy College, Gaborone Technical College, and Botswana College of Agriculture (located about 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) from the city centre) are also located at Gaborone.


There are a few newspapers that are published in Gaborone. These include The Botswana Gazette and The Voice.

The radio station, Yarona FM, is broadcasted from Gaborone; the frequency for the station in Gaborone is 106.6FM. Another small, localised radio station in Gaborone is Gabz FM[47].

Before 2000, residents of Gaborone used to receive television programming from a repeating transmitter on the top of Kgale Hill from BOP TV in Mafikeng[47]. Today, Gaborone Broadcasting Company and Botswana TV provide television programming for Gaborone.


SADC headquarters in Gaborone

Gaborone's is one of the fastest growing cities in Africa. The growth of Gaborone, especially suburban growth, has caused much of the farmland surrounding the city to be absorbed into the city. Much of the food for Gaborone comes from north of the city with some smaller-scale farms on the southern end.[48]

The city centre was planned to be functionalist[3], with buildings built in the Modern architecture. The city is surrounded by smaller buildings[49]. Interestingly, the city's central business district (CBD) is still under construction so when one says downtown, they actually mean the Main Mall and Government Enclave areas where tall buildings are usually found[49][50].

Gaborone's CBD is home to the new Square Mall, The Tower, the new SADC headquarters, and the Industrial Court,[51] a court specifically for settling trade disputes,[52]. Other buildings under construction in the CBD include the Holiday Inn Gaborone retail space, and office space.[53]


The city gets its water from the reservoir formed from the Gaborone Dam] on the southeast side of the city, which has facilitated growth[9]. The city of Gaborone was originally constructed as a small town, so the Gaborone Dam needed to be built to provide water for all its citizens.[18].

Health Care

The Botswana Red Cross Society, established in 1968, is headquartered in Gaborone. The Princess Marina Hospital is the main referral hospital in Gaborone and currently houses 500 beds[54].


The Cancer Association of Botswana is a voluntary non-governmental organization established as a trust in 1998. The Association is a leading service provider in supplementing existing services through provision of cancer prevention and health promotion programmes, facilitating access to health services for cancer patients and offering support and counseling to those affected. Its headquarters is at Diktlhakore Way, Extension 12, Gaborone.



The railway that served the founding purpose of the city remains important, bisecting the city in a north-south direction[10]. Botswana Railways runs a line that goes from Cape Town to Harare via Bulawayo. The railway station in Gaborone is located south of the Parliament House in the city's center[30]. The line stops at the following cities in and near Botswana: Ramatlabama on the South African border, Lobatse, Gaborone, Palapye, Serule, Francistown, Ramokgwebana, and Plumtree, Zimbabwe[55]. The line became a cargo-only line starting 1 April 2009[56].


Sir Seretse Khama International Airport (ICAO code: FBSK[57] IATA code: GBE[58]) lies 25 kilometres (16 mi)[16] north of the city[30] and has flights to Johannesburg, Harare, Francistown, and Maun with connections to Kasane and Livingstone[59]. It is the headquarters of Air Botswana, the national airline of Botswana.

Gaborone gained media attention in October 1999 because of the death of Chris Phatswe. Phatswe was a pilot for Air Botswana who committed suicide by crashing his plane into the runway at Sir Seretse Khama International Airport. Before his death, Phatswe was grounded because he was unable to pass the physical. Also, it was later found that he had AIDS. Although he never stated it, these obstacles may have caused him to choose to kill himself. He crashed his plane into two other planes on the tarmac. This almost crushed Air Botswana as they had only one plane left after the incident[60]. has photos of the aftermath.


HIghways in and around Gaborone include the Trans-Kalahari Highway, A1 Highway, and the Cairo-Cape Town Highway. There are five major roads in Gaborone that go to Lobatse, Kanye, Molepolole, Francistown via Mochudi, and Tlokweng[61].

Public transport

Public transport in the city is generally reliable, when compared with major African cities. Kombis, small vans, and taxis ply the routes within the city while buses serve surrounding villages and other towns in Botswana[10].

Notable natives and residents

Sister cities


Various images of Gaborone
A road with a Bank Gaborone building to the left and a taller building with curved truss structures on the windows to the right
Street scene near the Main Mall 
Two tall buildings. The right building is white and circular with about ten floors and with a grey trailer in front. The taller building on the left is cut off in the top right corner. It seems to be made up of smaller interconnected buildings with tinted windows
Modern buildings in Gaborone 
Bird's-eye view of residential neighborhoods. The houses at the bottom third of the picture have much larger yards and more trees. The neighborhood in the center of the picture has a very defined road shaped like a backwards 6, and the houses have orange and grey roofs and are very close to each other. The neighborhood at the top right has multicolor roofs. There is a road cutting through the middle of the picture.
Another aerial view of the city 
A brown train, viewed from the side, is at rest under a small open station. “1035 Rhodesia Railways” is written in gold letters over the train's windows. There is a white fence and a brick walkway in front of the train.
Rhodesia Railways car at the national museum 
A broad view of the city facing east, the picture taken from a plane. In the middle is a large residential neighborhood. The downtown area and the Gaborone Dam are in the far right towards the horizon. At the bottom of the picture to the left is a large undeveloped area, and to the right is another neighborhood.
Aerial view of the city looking east—downtown is in the right-center of the image, with the reservoir just beyond 
A bronze-colored, life-size statue of a prominent black man in a suit, his hands in front of his stomach. The statue is on top of a pedestal which is on top of a large brown rock, surrounded by smaller rocks. The statue has trees behind it, and it is in a small brick-paved square.
Statue of Khama outside the Botswana Parliament building 
A broad expanse of dry savanna with hills in the background. The foreground contains large rocks on the ground with two trees flanking the sides of the picture.
Overlooking Mokolodi Nature Reserve, just outside of Gaborone, Botswana 


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  43. ^ Molefhe, Rampholo (2005-05-23). The Paul Rantao That I Knew. 22. Gaborone, Botswana: Mmegi. Retrieved 2009-08-06. 
  44. ^ "Gaborone Embassy Contacts and Tourist Office". Retrieved 2009-08-04. 
  45. ^ "FOREIGN DIPLOMATIC MISSIONS IN BOTSWANA". 2007-02-26. Retrieved 2009-08-05. 
  46. ^ "Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation – Missions Accredited to Botswana". 2009-04-17. Retrieved 2009-08-05. 
  47. ^ a b Denbow, James Raymond; Thebe, Phenyo C. (2006). "Literature and Media". Culture and customs of Botswana. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 72–73. ISBN 9780313331787. Retrieved 2009-08-06. 
  48. ^ Cavric, Branko I.; Mosha, Aloysius C. (July 2001). "Incorporating Urban Agriculture In Gaborone City Planning" (PDF). Urban Agriculture Magazine (RUAF Foundation) 4: 25–27. Retrieved 2009-08-04. 
  49. ^ a b "Gaborone: a capital city w/ a strange design". 2008-02-25. Retrieved 2009-08-04. 
  50. ^ "Home – all about Gaborone". Gaborone, Botswana. Retrieved 2009-08-04. 
  51. ^ Mosinyi, Wanetsha (2009-05-08). New CBD threatens office space market. Gaborone, Botswana: Mmegi Online. Retrieved 2009-08-06. 
  52. ^ Ministry of Labour and Home Affairs. "The Industrial Court of Botswana". Gaborone, Botswana: Republic of Botswana. Retrieved 2009-08-06. 
  53. ^ Benza, Brian (2008-08-11). Masa Towers To Cost P275 Million – Giachetti. 25. Gaborone, Botswana: Mmegi Online. Retrieved 2009-08-06. 
  54. ^ Princess Marina Hospital improvements - VelaVKE
  55. ^ Botswana Tourism Board. Botswana Railway Network [map], 1 : 8,000,000, Botswana Maps. Retrieved on 2009-08-04.
  56. ^ Malikongwa, Lewis (2009-02-27). Termination of Botswana Railways' Passenger Service. Botswana: Ministry of Works and Transport. Retrieved 2009-08-04. 
  57. ^ Great Circle Mapper
  58. ^ Great Circle Mapper
  59. ^ Botswana Tourism Board. Domestic & international airline routes map [map], Botswana Maps. Retrieved on 2009-08-04.
  60. ^ BBC News Online (1999-10-11). Suicide pilot destroys Air Botswana fleet. BBC News Online. Retrieved 2009-08-06. 
  61. ^ Botswana Tourism Board. Road network map [map], 1 : 6,000,000, Botswana Maps. lower right inset. Retrieved on 2009-08-04.

External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Downtown Gaborone
Downtown Gaborone

Gaborone is the capital of Botswana and located in the south of the country, near the border to South Africa.

Get in

Customs is very slow, but easy to get through (as appears to be the case for most of Africa). Have an address on hand for where you will be staying and they hardly give you a hassle. If you are worried about customs, a useful place to visit is the Botswana Embassy [1] in Washington, DC.

  • Air Botswana, in the Main Mall, Phone: 395 1921, [2]. Provides services to Francistown, Harare, Johannesburg, Kasane and Maun. Typical fares from Gabs are in USD 200 - 400 range.
  • South African Express, Offices in the Game City Mall, Broadhurst Mall and Riverwalk Mall, Phone: 397 2397 (Game City), 309 5740 (Broadhurst), [3]. Flies in from Cape Town and Johannesburg.
  • Travelers not used to left side of the road driving should exercise caution while driving and crossing the street, as most of Southern Africa (Gaborone, Botswana included) drives on the left.

By taxi

Public transportation can be identified by their blue license plates. Many unoffical taxis do exist. To give directions, its usually better to give Plot numbers or easily identified places rather than street names (which aren't commonly used). If a driver gives you a good rate, ask him for his cell phone number and remind him of the place where you are staying. Using one driver the whole time you are in Gaborone can end up saving you money. Don't worry if you hail a cab with someone inside. Offer to split the fare for the destination and save each other some cash. Don't be afraid to try and discuss lower fares. Most trips should be P 20-30 (eg. Main Mall to Game City is around P30).

  • AB Cab, tel. 390 2147.

By combi

Combis are white vans that are like mini-buses. Combis cost P 2.70. There are no route maps but there are different lines, so just ask the driver if that line passes where you need to go. If you know the direction you need to go, start walking ther-- combis will honk at you as they are passing to let you know they're behind you.

By bus

You can get to most big cities by bus. However, do arrive at the bus station early, as the buses can fill up very quickly, and sometimes just leave as soon as they are full. Bring water, as the buses are often not air conditioned, and if you do not manage to get a seat, it is likely you will have to stand until at least halfway to your destination, particularly on week-ends.

By train

The last daily passenger train service was withdrawn in April 2009.

  • Kgale Hill - Do not forget to make the pleasant climb up Kgale Hill, one of Botswana's largest hills (at about 100m). It provides a magnificent view over the city and surrounding areas. Be careful of the baboons, though, and do not stray off the path. There are no guides, and there is no entrance fee to worry about.


Movies typically cost 25 Pula per seat. October 2008 - Cinema tickets P33 per person It is assigned seating, so tell the cashier your preference when buying the ticket. Theaters usually show big-name movies (as a small theater in the US would). There are two cinemas in Gabs, one in Riverwalk Mall and one in Game City Mall.

  • Mokolodi, [4]. The highlight of many people's time is a cheetah visit where you can actually pet a cheetah. On a two-hour game drive you might see baboons, giraffe, wart hogs, zebra, elephant, hippo, etc. The guides are always very nice.
  • Gaborone Game Reserve, [5]. One of the smaller game reserves, if you have a car you can just drive yourself around. Mostly birds, but some monkeys, wart hogs and ostrich. Recently zebras, wild boars, kudus have been added. It has got picnic spots, but be careful of monkeys and ostriches.
  • Wood work, artefacts, stone work are available in the Main Mall. You get cheap prices on weekends at pavement stalls at the Riverwalk Mall.
  • You must visit Game store in Game City Mall. It is the biggest super stone in Botswana and has got variety of items.
  • While visiting Gaborone make sure to stop by the Green Shop for a unique shopping experience as it is housed in a traditional hut, a rare sight to see within the bustling city of Gaborone. The shop is located in the Eco-Park of Somarelang Tikologo (Environment Watch Botswana) which is an NGO dedicated to creating awareness about environmental planning, resource conservation and waste management through community projects and demonstrations. All merchandise sold in the Green Shop is made from recycled or natural products crafted from local women and out of school youth groups and range from skin care products and accessories to home furnishings. Shopping at the Green Shop will show your support for Botswana’s environment and contribute to the economic development of our suppliers. Learn more about the Green Shop by visiting our website at, contacting us at 3913709 or visit our location at Plot 3491, Kaunda road.
  • Cafe Dijo, Game City, next to Woolworth's Simply Food. Free wireless, great coffee, delicious and healthy food. A great place for catching up on e-mail or chatting with friends on a lazy Saturday morning. Frequented by expats.
  • Nando's Chicken - Nando's is a bit spicy, and much better chicken than that found a KFC. Costs about 30 Pula for a meal (chicken, soda, chips). Located in the African Mall, Game City Mall, BBS Mall and Riverwalk Mall. For a better taste than the commercial Nandos why not try Barcelos which is just across from Nandos in African mall.You won't be disappointed.
  • Pie Time - Pies are flaky dough filled with meat or vegetables (called Patties in some other parts of the world). Costs about 5.50 Pula for a pie, 6.75 Pula for a soda. Wide variety of fillings. Located in the Main Mall and the African Mall.
  • News Café, Village district (At the Mondior Summit Hotel). 6:30-22:30. Conveniently located for those staying at the Mondior Summit, News Café is popular even with outside guests. The menu centers on "European style" dishes, but with some interesting twists. The place really shines in the cocktail department, though. On Friday and Saturday nights, the music is often cranked up loud even though there is no dance floor, so sit outside if you want to make conversation. Staff is young and sometimes inexperienced, but most of the time the service is quite good. Prices are somewhat above the regular fare in Gaborone, but then so is the quality.  edit
  • Mugg & Bean. Inside the Game City food court. Free wifi, and good eats.  edit
  • Prices are very reasonable at many grocery stores.
  • Choppies, OK Foods offer grocery are cheapest prices and are located in all areas of Gaborone.
  • Woolworths is in several of the main malls and has much higher quality produce and more European food selections. If you want exotic fruits or vegetables or good cheese, definitely the store to go to.
  • Pick and pay has the best wine selection of the grocery stores.
  • SPAR in the Main Mall seems to be the cheapest for juices (about 5.25 Pula for 1 Litre of 100% fruit juice).
  • For a budget, buy a pie at Pie Time and then a drink at SPAR! (8.25 Pula for a full meal).
  • In all super market malls, there is a grocery store.
  • Bull and Bush - English pub in north part of [Gaborone]. A common ex-pat hangout big-screen TV and pool tables. Friday night is usually for the younger kids, Saturday night for the adults. The food is excellent, especially the pizza and ribs. The last Wednesday of the month is quiz night (or quizzo) where teams compete on trivia for prizes.
  • Irish Pub, in Game City Mall. Decent food, mix of ex-pats and Batswana
  • Club Satchmo - Jazz club with decent drinks and great music.


Covers range from 30 to 50 Pula. Many have dress codes. And like most places, the popular nights at each place vary. Check with local Batswana (people from Botswana) for time relevant information.

  • Ozone
  • Fashion Lounge
  • Lizzard Lounge

NB Lizard lounge is generally mainly for locals, and mainly for teenagers. It is normal that there are large crowds of teenagers outside the club rather than inside, and there are an enormous number of broken glass bottles in the parking lot the next morning.

  • Boulevard
  • Grand Palm Hotel - Easily the loveliest of hotels in Gaborone. Bordering 5 star status, this hotel is a modern oasis within Gaborone. The front has the tallest palm trees in Gaborone and well-kept grass, looking gorgeously tropical as you enter the site. You are then met with The Grand Palm Hotel (which has recently changed its name to the Walmont Ambassador, meaning the whole site is now The Grand Palm). It has modern front entrance, with a casino to the left and a gigantic and impressive conference centre (The GICC) to the right, marked by an eagle figure flying over a fountain. The Gaborone International Conference Centre is amazing, featuring wildlife artwork inside and massive conference halls with moveable walls to adjust the size. The Walmont Ambassador in the centre is an awesome venue and has well-stocked curio shop in the reception. The restaurant does lovely food, but if you can afford it go to The Beef Baron next to the restaurant, where you can get some of the tastiest steak you'll ever have. They also do cuts of wildlife, and you can even order oddities like escargot. Out back the hotel has a large swimming pool and a moderately sized lakes that birds frequent. There is also a pool bar that serves food, a childrens playground and furtehr afield their is a boma that does barbecue (braai) events and parties. There is also a tennis court and plenty of lush green grass. Inside there is a squash court and a leisure centre. On the same site, if the price of the Walmont is not up your street, there is a second, more reasonably priced hotel on site, closer to the entrance. The Metcourt Inn, immediately noticeable by it's orange lick of paint, is a quaint little hotel that gives you all the basics for an affordable price, and you can still use all the facilities of the Walmont. The rooms have their unique brand of style and are good value for money.
  • Gaborone Sun Hotel
  • Cresta Lodge
  • The President's Hotel (Located in the Heart of the city center)
  • Mondior Summit, known locally as the best hotel in town. Four-star service with small outdoor swimming pool and jacuzzi. Wifi Internet available in all rooms, for a charge.
  • African Home, Nyerere Drive (Two streets west of Middlestar shopping centre). Small hotel with a larger wing being constructed out back. Basic but charming design. Staff and amenities are still working out some glitches, for instance assuring that plugs on appliances match outlets. P400/double, including cont. bkfast.  edit


There are internet cafes all over the city, in practically every shopping centre. Prices range from P10-P20 per hour. Many cafes have memberships of 5-20 hours which provide cheaper rates. Network speeds are moderate to good. Many cafes also offer photocopying services.

  • Embassy of the United States, [8].  edit
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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

Wikipedia has an article on:




Proper noun




  1. The capital of Botswana.



  • IPA: /χa.bʊ.rʊ.nɪ/

Proper noun


  1. Gaborone

Simple English

Coordinates: 24°45′S 25°55′E / 24.75°S 25.917°E / -24.75; 25.917
Country Botswana
Population (2005)
 - Total 208,411
Time zone CAT (UTC+2)

Gaborone is the capital city of Botswana. It has a population of 208,411 people. Gaborone is one of the fastest-growing cities in Africa. Gaborone is located on the Notwane River in the south eastern corner of Botswana. It is 15 km (9 mi) from the South African border.

The main campus of the University of Botswana is in the city. Gaborone's airport, Sir Seretse Khama International Airport, is Botswana's main international airport.


Before 1969, the city was known as Gaberones. Gaberones replaced Mafeking as the capital of the Bechuanaland Protectorate in 1965. Mafeking was outside the Bechuanaland Protectorate. It was located in an area of South Africa. When the Protectorate became independent, Botswana needed a capital city that was located inside the country. It had been thought that Lobatse would be the capital. It was later decided that they would create a new capital next to Gaberones, a small colonial administrative settlement.

The original name, Gaberones, is from Gaborone's Village. It was named after Chief Kgosi Gaborone of the BaTlokwa tribe. His village, now called Tlokweng, was just across a river from the "Government Camp" (colonial government headquarters). "Gabs" is still a common nickname for Gaborone. A newer nickname for Gaborone is G-City.

The centre of the city was constructed in three years. It includes Assembly buildings, government offices, a power station, a hospital, schools, a radio station, a telephone exchange, police stations, a post office, and more than 1,000 houses. Much of the city was in place for Independence Day on September 30 1966, when the county became independent of the United Kingdom. The first mayor of Gaborone was Rev J. D. Jones. The old Gaberones became a suburb of the new Gaborone, and is now known as "the Village".

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