Hotels in and around the Gaborone suburb
Gaborone is the capital city of the beautiful Botswana in southern Africa and has become well known for its vibrancy, modernity and natural beauty. Conveniently, it is only 15 km from the border of South Africa, making access particularly easy for those living in or visiting either of these countries. This city lies between the hills of Kgade and Oodi, and along the banks of the gorgeous Notwane River.
Gaborone is home to many sights and sounds for the busy tourist to enjoy. Shopping centres, restaurants, nightclubs, pubs and bars promise an interesting social calendar during your stay in Botswana while the plant- and animal life in their spectacular surrounds will give you ample opportunity to squeeze in some natural appreciation.
The Notwane River sustained civilisation for a very long time before the European ‘discovery’ of Gaborone. In the late 1800’s, Chief Gaborone moved into this area, then known as Bechuanaland, from the Magaliesberg Mountains and named his settlement Moshaweng. When the Europeans arrived shortly thereafter, they dubbed this settlement Gaborone, after its leader. His village later became the site of a colonial fort from where the Jameson Raid was planned.
Over 100 years later, in 1965, Gaberones became the capital of the Bechuanaland Protectorate. When Lobaste could not be the capital city of the country (due to various limitations), a capital was established next to Gaberones. This was ideal as this region was close to clean water, Pretoria’s railway service and various tribes. In addition, this area had not affiliated itself with any other tribes. In 1966, Bechuanaland gained independence from British rule.
Because of Botswana’s close proximity to South Africa and its commercial capital, Johannesburg, it is particularly accessible via road or air. Gaborone is equipped with an international airport, as is OR Tambo in Johannesburg. Its roads are safe and signage is efficient. Many visitors have opted to fly to South Africa, and then drive across the Botswana border. Most of the roads are tarred, particularly in places like Gaborone.
In Gaborone, licensed taxis are evident by their blue number plates. Minibus taxis are available, but visitors are cautioned about the road-worthiness of these vehicles and advised not to use them unless they are au fait with local customs.
Gaborone is a modern, bustling metropolis. As such, it boasts many malls, shops and boutiques that prove to be most satisfying for shopaholics from around the world. These include The Main Mall, South Ring, African Mall, Riverwalk and Game City (the largest in Gaborone).
Nature lovers will enjoy the Gaborone Dam and Gaborone Game Reserve. The dam is the source of water for the entire city but is also home to the local yacht club, a fishing club (The Kalahari) and a recreational area called City Scapes. Visitors to the dam are not permitted to swim in it due to bilharzia and crocodiles, but windsurfing and fishing are popular and safer alternatives. The game reserve boasts many animals, including a wide array of bird life.
The Somarelang Tikologo Ecological Park is a non-governmental initiative that educates visitors and locals alike regarding environmental planning, care and recycling to ensure sustainability. While children play on the playground, parents are encouraged to visit the community garden, growing only organic foods, as well as the shop that sells products made only of recycled materials.
Gaborone experiences a lot of sunshine throughout the year. Summers extend from December to February and winters from June to August. Summers are hot (over 32 degrees Celsius), and winters are warm (the mid-20's) with chilly nights and early mornings. It is hottest in January, February and October. Winters are humid and spring is the windy season.
Botswana and Gaborone are areas that are affected by Malaria. It is vital that prospective visitors consult a doctor or travel clinic and obtain anti-malarial prophylaxes before arrival. Consider further precautions such as applying insect repellent to clothes and any exposed skin, sleeping under a mosquito net, and wearing clothing that covers arms, legs and necks. While the city centre of Gaborone is less affected, it is important not to neglect these important precautions.
Tick-bite fever, which is usually caught as a result of being bitten by a tick in the bush, is not common within the confines of Gaborone, but may be contracted when visiting reserves or parks around the city. Cover your feet, ankles and legs with light fabrics so that ticks cannot penetrate the clothing and bite you.
Sun damage is prevalent all over the world, but Africa is a particularly dry, hot environment. As such, it is essential that sunscreen, sun hats, sunglasses and protective clothing be worn during daylight hours.
Bilharzia is widespread in the water bodies of Africa, including moving streams and rivers. Stay out of any such water. Tap water is safe for drinking.
As with any other country in the world, Gaborone has some areas in which it is unsafe for travellers to walk at certain times of the day or night. Consult your tour guide and / or hotel to ensure that you are aware of these areas and that you are vigilant about avoiding them. Do not carry large amounts of money or expensive equipment on your person when you leave your hotel room. Do not stray from groups of people to walk on your own, and do not accept help from anybody, especially not if it involves handing over your credit cards or cameras.
When driving in the less urban areas around Gaborone, keep an eye out for animals and people that stray across the road. Drive slowly and carefully at all times, and never drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
When on a game drive, it is vital that you heed the instructions of your guide and never approach or feed a wild animal.