15 hotels in this place
Gaborone is the capital of Botswana and located in the south of the country, near the border to South Africa.
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Points of Interest in Gaborone
Popular events in Gaborone in the near future
From a dusty one horse town in the 1960s Gaborone is now a substantial city of 400,000. Generally it is a clean, safe and functioning city that is spreading ever further outwards in to a suburban sprawl that today measures about 15km from east to west.
There is a definite city centre based around the train station and the government enclave of Kharma Crescent. However numerous shopping malls are dotted all over the city diluting the prominence of the downtown area.
Gaborone's nomenclature confuses most new arrivals. Different parts of town are called Blocks, Extensions, Phases etc. and there can be multiple names for the same place. Below is a rough guide:
- The Extensions - to the east of the railway line radiating out from the Government Enclave. Extensions 9 and 11 are probably the wealthiest parts of Gaborone. Extension 15, out near Riverwalk Mall is known as 'the Village'
- Gabs West - the inner blocks to the west of the railway line, inside the Western Bypass. Gabs West is sub-divided into Phases 1, 2, 4 and industrial.
- The Blocks - to the west of the railway line, outside the Western Bypass. The blocks number 5 - 10 running south to north (although Block 9 is an outlier being the southern most of the blocks, and there is a Block 3 directly north of the downtown area). Some maps (inc Google Maps) label the Blocks as high numbered Extensions (eg Block 8 is made up of Extensions 35 & 36) but everyone will refer to an area by its Block number.
- The Central Business District refers to a patch of undeveloped land slap in the centre of the city that is only now (2012) being developed in to overly modern hotels and offices (inc the new Lansmore hotel)
- Phakalane a new-build suburb 12km north of the centre of Gaborone - based around a golf estate - on the east side of the A1 Francistown road. South-west of Phakalane is the still to be developed Glen Valley
- Gaborone North - a developing suburb out towards the airport to the west of Phakalane.
- Broadhurst is an older suburb to the northeast of the centre. On the southern edge of Broadhurst are Partial and Maru-a-Pula
- Tlokweng a poorer suburb to the east of the Notwane river, home to several nice guesthouses.
Knight Frank, a real estate agent with an office near the Shell Garage on the Main Mall, has a useful map of the city.
- 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. DO GO - BUT ONLY when there are other cars in the parking lot. The best time is 4:00 PM - 6:00 PM M-F. The middle of a weekend day is not a good time. Going up without other cars in the lot near the quarry risks being robbed by knife.
- Gaborone Cycling Club, ☎ +267 71811472. Actually a mountain biking rather than cycling club. Afrikaaner flavoured.
- 02 11.79&lon=25 44 55.85&zoom=17&layer=O&lang=en&name=Gaborone Otse Village (approx. 55 km along A1 road south of Gaborone). 30 minutes drive from Gaborone. Otse village commonly known as "Letsekela" by its inhabitants of Balete origin is surrounded by hills with Manyelanong on the East and Baratani hill on the West.Manyelanong is one of the only two sites that one has the opportunity to see Cape vultures. Because of its height, difficulty to navigate and cliffs, it provides a perfect breeding ground for vultures. Hence the Mannyelanong Game reserve , established solely for the purpose of protecting these endangered vultures. Baratani hill is popularly known for its one of the most outstanding stories of young lovers who were in a forbidden relationship. They decided to elope and hid in a nearby hill but never came back.Residents ever since then have never climbed this hill for fear of not returning.
The village has many stories about its people, one outstanding story is of the brave woman "Bosetlha" who killed a 3m Python which had wrapped itself around her body. Though she is now old but still active, Nkuku Bosetlha confirms she got attacked by the snake on her way coming from the lands, the snake wrapped itself around her body. After unsuccessful shouts for help, she desperately fought for her life by tightly opening the python's mouth wider for approximately 30minutes until good samaritans passed by and cut the snake head with a knife.
Movies typically cost 40 Pula per seat (February 2012). 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. 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. 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.
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.
The restaurants below are organised by compass point from the city centre.
- White box food (sold all over the government district on weekdays). Quick and simple lunch of rice and veg (P10) or rice, veg and meat (P20). Tasty and filling.
- Cafe Khwest (in the main mall, above Spar). Nice option for slow lunch where you can overlook the bustle of the street whilst tucking in to a pasta, burger or a salad. Is more of a bar in the evenings. Mains around P50.
- Deli's – (located in the Craft Center in Broadhurst Mall) One of the best lunch places in down. Real Italian food. Imported products. Amazing pastas and pizzas. Beef lasagne especially - P55 for huge portion.
- Fresh Cafe – (Middlestar Mall) Nice lunch place, overpriced coffee, free wifi. Lots of expats.
- Funyama Holdings Chinese Restaurant (in Marua Pula mall). Authentic and good value Chinese with an extensive menu, including such delights as Crispy Pork Intestines with Hot Dry Chili. Also covers more standard 'beef in black bean sauce' type dishes. The Devil Soup at P10 and the noodle dishes at P30 are particularly good value. +267 3957254.
- Bull & Bush – (down a track north of Sebone Road, just east of the railway line – GPS 24.6395S 25.9105E). Bar & restaurant serves up a range of meat-centred dishes – and does a pretty good job.
- Par 5 Indian Restaurant (in Gaborone Golf Club next to Gaborone Sun Hotel), ☎ 3912299. Unfussy south Asian cuisine serving a range of meat and veg dishes, including several daals. Nice setting overlooking the golf course, with indoor and outdoor seating. Closed Mondays. Mains P40-60.
- Beef Baron, in the Grand Palm Walmont hotel. Lunch and dinner. Perhaps Gaborone's most expensive restaurant - the Beef Baron serves up excellent and huge meat dishes - including some game - but cow meat is in the ascendancy. Desserts are good also (inc. the lovely malva pudding). Atmosphere is pretty nice for a hotel restaurant, although there are no windows. Mains from P120.
- Chutney's – (Located next to OK Foods on the Western Bypass, also called the OK Foods Mall). Excellent Indian food also - southern Indian, like dosas. Not much for ambiance but great food.
- Caravela – (off Kgasa Road (GPS 24.6618S 25.9209E)). One of the few suburban house restaurants in the city. Nominally Portuguese menu including a good selection of seafood, and Mozambican beer. The outdoor patio area has a very nice ambiance. Open for dinner 7 nights a week. Food is a little hit and miss, and the prices are in expat territory, but worth giving a try.
- Sanitas – (located about 2 KM southeast of Fairgrounds Mall. Turn beside Naledi Motors (beside mall) and follow signs) A hidden gem. Actually a garden center but with a large cafe for breakfast/lunch/brunch 6 days/week (Closed Monday). Has a children's playground also.
- 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 are 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.
They have Happy Hour from 5pm-6pm. Buy 1 get 1 free on all cocktails.
- Pavilion Restaurant (In Fairgrounds business park), ☎ +267 365 1600. Pleasant, if rather corporate place for a civilised lunch.
- Gold Coin (in Africa Mall). lunch & dinner. The only Thai restaurant in the country? Well almost. The Mandarin on the sign lets slip that this is a Chinese resto with a smattering of Thai dishes on the menu and Bangkok posters on the wall. Still if you are craving coconut milk with your curry its the only option in town. P30 for a simple noodle dish. P70 for a green curry & rice.
Inside Riverwalk Mall
- Primi Piatti. Stylish branch of the South African Italian restaurant chain. A wide variety of meat, pizzas and pastas. Mains from P80 up to P120+ for a big chunk of beef - but quality is among the best in the city. Located in the Riverwalk Mall. Free wifi.
- Spurs (Riverwalk). A grade beef, try the one by Riverwalk
- Embassy - Excellent Indian food - located in the Riverwalk Mall. Note: food can take up to one hour, especially if with large group. Mains around P60.
- Abyssinia Ethiopian Cafe - Botswana's only Ethiopian cuisine. On Fridays through Sundays this cafe serves up pretty good injera with all the trimmings for P80. Also does great coffee and is cleaner and quieter than Equatorial Coffee around the corner. Closed evenings Sunday-Thursday.
- Obama Restaurant (in Tlokweng), ☎ 73 222 300. lunch & dinner. Pleasant and excellent value local restaurant. This place is also used as a wedding venue, and has a little kiddies playground and garden. The rump steak and chips for P45 is probably the best value in town. However no alcohol is served, but they are happy if you bring your own.
- The Moghul, 171 Tlokweng Road (inside Oasis Motel), ☎ +267 397 5346. Set under a thatched roof at the back of the Oasis Motel this place serves up flavoursome Indian & Pakistani cooking. However, perhaps because of its hotel location, prices are a little steep and portion sizes disappointing. Takeaway and delivery possible. P50 for a veg curry up to P80 for a Rogan Josh.
- Cafe Dijo, (in Kgale Mall, the small mall next to Game City). 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.
Inside Game City
- Mugg & Bean. South African chain coffee and lunch place. Located upstairs in Game City Mall, makes for a noisy indoor shopping mall vibe with adequate coffee.
Chain restaurants with multiple outlets
- Nando's Chicken - Nando's is a bit spicy, and much better chicken than that found a KFC. Costs about 50 Pula for a meal (chicken, soda, chips). Located in the African Mall, Game City Mall, BBS Mall and Riverwalk Mall, one is currently under construction in the Main Mall, at the east end adjacent to Orange. 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.
- Debonairs. A popular pizza restaurant that also does deliveries P55 cheapest pizza.
- Cherry Pepper, 6 Nakedi Road (in Botswana Craft), ☎ +267 7631 4797. breakfast & lunch. Setswana cuisine for the European pallete. Excellent lunch option. They serve 3 different dishes each day for P25 - P35 and hence is great value. Try the sauteed goat on Wednesdays of the fried breem on Fridays.
- Prices for western goods are at EU prices; local goods (corn meal) are inexpensive at grocery stores.
- Choppies and OK Foods are local chains - they have the 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, South African Chain, has better quality and is more expensive than Choppies.
- 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. Monday night is Rib night there and well worth a visit!
- O'Hagans Irish Pub, in Game City Mall. Decent food, mix of ex-pats and Batswana
- Club Satchmo - Jazz club with decent drinks and great music.
- Gaborone Yacht Club, Off the old Lobaste road near the railway crossing, ☎ 72471977. Evenings Wednesday & Fridays, lunch Saturdays & Sundays. Hidden away down a dusty track to the side of Gaborone dam the Yacht Club bar makes a great sun-downer location. Opening hours are limited, simple food available (eg steak-burger & chips P45). P10 entrance.
Covers range from 20 to 100 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.
- Bull and Bush
- Fusion Lounge in Phakalane
- "Notwane Club" - used mainly to host private or special dj events
Gaborone abounds with shopping malls, and pretty much every South African chain store has at least one branch somewhere in the city. Unfortunately this crowds out local independent shops. Coupled with seemingly rampant collusion and price fixing among retailers makes Gabs a disappointing and quite expensive place to shop, despite the 12% VAT rate undercutting the 14% in South Africa.
That said there are a smattering of arts villages and local workshops that buck the trend, and a visit can make a pleasant diversion for an afternoon.
- Green Shop, Plot 3491, Kaunda road, ☎ 3913709. 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.
- Oodi Weavers (about 5km east of Phakalane on the road to Modipane). 10am - 4.30pm Monday - Friday (closed weekends). Established in 1972 by Swedish apartheid refugee Peder Gowenius this small enterprise produces pleasing tapestries of village scenes and the like (P1,000 Pula for a good sized piece). Any visitor will be encouraged to see the workshop and chat with the weavers.
- Wood carvings and colorful prints are high quality and reasonably priced; most are imported from other African countries. There are very high quality.
- Game store in the Game City Mall is the largest super store in Botswana and has got variety of low-cost, medium quality items.
- Botswana Craft, Nakadi Street, Broadhurst Industrial. Curiously located in the middle of an industrial estate, Botswana Craft is a little oasis comprising a handful of little cafes and art shops. It's a little too Arikaaner flavoured for some, but an interesting place to browse if you are passing. If you want to buy a bhuddist statue or some scented candles this is the place to go.
- The Bike Shop, Halle Selassie Road (look for lots of yellow trucks belonging to a neighbouring freight company), ☎ +267 71306146. Great little bike shop selling refurbished cycles shipped over from the US, together with fancy new mountain bikes and accessories. Considerably more professional than nearby Gaborone Garage and Cycles.
This article is based on Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike 3.0 Licensed text from the article Gaborone on Wikivoyage.