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Gaborone is the capital of Botswana. It is located near the South African border, in the southeast of the country. Thanks to the government's focus on developing the city, Gaborone is one of the fastest growing cities in the world and an icon of African modernisation. The city itself is not much of an attraction and most visitors to Botswana won't start or end their trip here, but rather in the north, where most parks are located. Still, a few places in or just around Gaborone are worth the effort and as it is relatively low key you won't face mass tourism here, thus giving some insight in the local African style of living. Probably one of the most relaxing and safest capitals anywhere on the continent!
Mokolodi Nature Reserve is located very close to the capital of Botswana, Gaborone, and although it is not as impressive or big like many other parks, offers a great experience if you don't have the time or money to go further into the country. Visitors can go on guided game walks and see elephants, cheetahs, leopards and various species of antelope and even some rare white rhinos roam the area.
Gaborone’s major festival takes place in March, and is a performing arts cornucopia of traditional music, dance and theater held all over the city and its suburbs. The event lasts for nine full days and sees the entire population take to the streets in carnival mode.
Botswana’s President’s Day in July is a four-day national holiday across the country and sees inhabitants returning to their home villages for celebrations including speeches, traditional dance and singing.
The Batswana are proud of the advances their country has made since independence, happily hitting the streets in celebration every year on September 30. Traditional events, street parties and parades are the order of this important day.
Gaborone has a semi arid climate with a warm and dry season from April/May to October/November. The rainy season lasts from December to March when high temperatures and humidity make conditions less bearable. Temperatures frequently hit 40º C during the day in October and November, when the first late afternoon thunderstorms occur. From May onwards temperatures are still nice and warm and usually it is dry. Frost at night is possible during the months of June to August.
|Avg Max||32.5 °C||31.5 °C||30.2 °C||27.8 °C||25.4 °C||22.5 °C||22.8 °C||25.7 °C||29.6 °C||31 °C||31.5 °C||32.3 °C|
|Avg Min||19.4 °C||19.3 °C||17.4 °C||13.4 °C||8.3 °C||4.6 °C||4.6 °C||7.6 °C||12.5 °C||16.2 °C||17.9 °C||18.8 °C|
|Rainfall||113.6 mm||88.6 mm||66.1 mm||32.5 mm||10.7 mm||4.5 mm||0.4 mm||3.4 mm||18.7 mm||44.4 mm||80.2 mm||89.1 mm|
Air Botswana is the national airline of Botswana and is based at Sir Seretse Khama International Airport (GBE), 15 kilometres north of Gaborone. International destinations with Air Botswana from Gaborone include Cape Town, Harare, Johannesburg and Windhoek. Sout African Express flies to and from Cape Town and Johannesburg as well.
Air Botswana has domestic flights between Gaborone, Kasane, Maun and Francistown. Fares are expensive.
A railway operated by Botswana Railway, runs daily between Gaborone and Francistown and Lobatse.
Tarred roads lead both north towards Francistown and Kasane and across the Kalahari to Namibia. Also, the road south towards the border with South Africa is tarred. Rental cars are available in Gaborone, both downtown as well as on the airport. You need a 4wd if you are planning to drive on roads other than those mentioned above.
There are daily connections between Gaborone and Johannesburg in South Africa, Bulawayo and Harare in Zimbabwe and several weekly buses go all the way to Lusaka in Zambia as well.
Between Gaborone and Johannesburg minibuses leave when full and take around 6 hours.
Buses and minibuses ply the main north-south route between Gaborone and Kasane via Francistown as well.
A cab is a private taxi or a "special" which takes you directly from your origin to destination. This may be a public taxi with a blue licence plate or a privately run cab. Generally you must request a cab by phone. There are several cab companies in Gabs and many display contact information on the cab itself. You can also hail public taxis on the road and request a special. 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 (e.g. Main Mall to Game City is around P30).
Public taxis are generally small white cars and can be identified by their blue license plates. These cars travel designated routes, generally going to areas/neighbourhoods that combi routes do not. The fare for a taxi is P3.50. Since taxis can only hold a maximum of 5 passengers they also tend to be quicker than a combi in completing their route. You can catch a taxi at many combi stops and ask them to drop you off anywhere along the route. For route information simply ask the driver of the taxi.
Mini-vans known as combies are the cheapest, although not exactly the most comfortable way, to get around Gaborone. There are set routes that cover most parts of town and they run frequently until about 8:00pm. Most routes pass through the bus rank or the station. One trip costs P3 (approximately US$0.45).
Gaborone is not an exciting place to eat – and the city suffers more than most from South African culinary hegemony. However if you keep your expectations low there are some interesting nooks and crannies to interest your taste buds.
Gaborone compares to South Africa in terms of accommodation choice and costs. There are a handful of large chain hotels costing P800+ offering conference facilities, curio shops, evening restaurants, gyms and bars - and dozens of smaller guesthouses, lodges and bed & breakfasts varying in quality, cleanliness and price. However it is difficult to go much below P400 per night for a room. For those staying for months rather than days there are a handful of relativity expensive serviced apartments, although these are often full. Finally if you have your own car and want to keep away from the city there are some good options out in the bush 15km to the south of Gabs that cost about the same as a guesthouse in town. There is now a Backpackers hostel in Gaborone.
See also International Telephone Calls
The country calling code to Botswana is 267. To make an international call from Botswana, the code is 00.
BotswanaPost is the national postal service of Botswana. It is operating more than 100 post offices and 70 agencies throughout the country and is fairly reliable, albeit not overly fast. All post has to go overland through Gaborone first and international mail by plane might go via Johannesburg, so count on several weeks for your postcard or letter to be delivered to places in Europe or North America. You can use them for parcels as well, though faster and more expensive services are available by companies like TNT, UPS or DHL.
We have a comprehensive list of accommodation in Gaborone searchable right here on Travellerspoint. You can use our map to quickly compare budget, mid-range or top of the range accommodation in Gaborone and areas nearby.
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