Gaborone is the capital city of Botswana and is also the largest settlement in the southern African country. Close to the border with South Africa, the city is the hub of all things commercial, educational and cultural in the country, while it happens to be close to the desert where you can, from a safe distance, observe some of the local wildlife.
In Gaborone, you might find that some of the shops, bars and restaurants are spaced far apart from one another, although the downtown district is undergoing extensive redevelopment. However, the city does have plenty of nice views of the surrounding countryside, while it’s a surprisingly cheap place to stay and go sightseeing, acting as a surprise destination.
Although the main roads in the city are in good condition, for driving off the beaten track, it’s essential to have a rugged vehicle in the form of a sturdy 4x4.
Although it may seem rundown on the outside, the National Museum and Art Gallery is definitely worth a few hours of your time. It tells the story of how Botswana became independent and showcases work from artists including Lucas Sithole.
The Thapong Visual Arts Centre is an art gallery with a difference. Aside from housing hundreds of paintings, it also has several studios occupied by local artists who are constantly working on their next masterpieces.
If you want to see wildlife up close, you should visit the Mokolodi Game Reserve. By taking a two-hour guided tour around the reserve, you can see elephants, giraffes, rhinos, hippos and even baboons from the safety of a 4x4.
Kgale Hill, at 100m in height, is ideal for a walk through the city if following the guided path. At the top, you can look out on the city and the outlying villages. You should keep an eye out for baboons though, as many of them live on the hill.
Mainly on weekdays, rush hours in Gaborone are between 7am-8am in the morning and 4.30pm-6pm in the evening.
Notorious traffic blackspots in the city centre include the bridges which cross the railway line, as they tend to lead to the major routes.
The A1 motorway is the best route out of the city, although the A10 going westwards is pretty handy too and quieter.
Sir Seretse Khama International Airport is nine miles north of Gaborone city centre. It‚Äôs the largest airport in Botswana and therefore the busiest. At the moment, it mainly serves major cities across southern Africa including Johannesburg, Cape Town, Harare and Luanda.
The airport is conveniently located alongside Airport Road, which goes south towards the A1. Taking the A1 southbound, you‚Äôre only a short distance away from the centre of Gaborone.