Planned to be the country's capital following independence in 1966, Gaborone is now a sprawling city of around 250,000 people and measures close to 15km from east to west. Generally it is a clean, safe and functioning city.
There is a definite city centre based around the train station and the government enclave of Khama Crescent. However, numerous shopping malls are dotted all over the city diluting the prominence of the centre.
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 only started being developed into overly modern hotels and offices (inc the new Lansmore hotel) in 2012.
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.
Wikimapia is the best online resource using the standard nomenclature. Knight Frank, a real estate agent with an office near the Shell Garage on the Main Mall, has a useful map of the city.
Air Botswana, in the Main Mall, Phone: 395 1921, . Recently expanded services (in 2012) to cover connections to Harare and Blantyre (Mondays, Wednesdays, Saturdays), Lilongwe , Lusaka, Johannesburg (both Lanseria (Wednesdays & Fridays) and OR Tambo (daily)), and Cape Town, as well as domestic flights to Francistown, Kasane and Maun. Air Botswana are reliable and offer good service. Note that their website does not detail all their routes, phone for the latest information. Typical fares from Gabs are in USD20 -400 range.
South African Express, Offices in the Game City Mall, Broadhurst Mall and Riverwalk Mall, Phone: 397 2397 (Game City), 309 5740 (Broadhurst). Flies in from Johannesburg. South African Express is a code-share of South African Airways and has a non-stop service from Johannesburg. There are 5 flights to/from Monday to Friday and 3 flights to/from on Saturday and Sunday. In order to fly from Cape Town, it is necessary to connect through Johannesburg.
SA Airlink also fly Johannesburg to Gaborone as of 2014. Whilst this airline has 'links' with South African Airways and SA Express they are separate entities and tickets are not transferable.
Air Namibia flies to / from Windhoek on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays (now suspended as of July 2013 due to low demand)
Kenya Airways Prime Plaza building, New CBD. +267 391 7000  flies in from Nairobi on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays providing a useful alternative to Johannesburg for connections to the rest of the world.
Flight Connect +267 3105 896. Daily coach service between OR Tambo airport (Johannesburg) and Gaborone. Modern coach with free Wi-Fi. BWP350 one way. Approx 5-6 hours.
Intercape Daily bus that connects Pretoria, South Africa with Gaborone. Tickets can be booked online at  or purchased at one of their offices. The bus departs from Pretoria Station on Paul Kruger & Scheiding Street at 13:15 and arrives at the Kudu Shell Service Station in Gaborone at 21:10 (an 8h bus ride). This bus makes a brief stop at the Johannesburg bus station to pick up passengers. From ZAR270 (saver) to ZAR350 (fully flexible). The bus is pretty nice: tourist class, reclining seats, and a working bathroom. However, be prepared for the “Christian materials on-board.” Basically, all the movies that are played on the Intercape bus have overtly religious messages in them.
The border crossing between South Africa and Botswana is pretty straight forward. Passengers get off the bus (without luggage, just their documentation) at the South African immigration check point to get their exit stamps, then they walk over to the Botswana side to get their entrance visa stamps. The bus attendant stays with the passengers for the process of the border crossing, so the bus is not going to leave anyone behind.
Many drive in from Gauteng. If coming from Johannesburg the quickest and simplest route is via Magaliesburg and Swartruggens. There is a ZAR75 toll going this route. Most drivers turn north at Zeerust and enter via the Tlokweng gate - going via the Pioneer Gate and Lobatse is slower, and there are more cows on the road. If arriving at night the Tlokweng gate is recommended. Be aware that the Tlokweng border gets very busy at 18:00-22:00 on Sundays, with waits of an hour or more possible.
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 BWP4.10. 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. If you need to go to a particular destination not on the taxi route then ask for a "special", see cab section below.
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 BWP20-30 (eg. Main Mall to Game City is around BWP30).
AB Cab, tel. 390 2147.
Home Rra - a service that aims to reduce drink-driving by safely taking you home, when you want, and in your own car. + 267 390 6415.
Combis are white vans that are like mini-buses. Combis cost BWP3.50. There are different lines which are painted on the front of the combi, 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 there - combis will honk at you as they are passing to let you know they're behind you. Map is available at 
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.
Gaborone is the car capital of Botswana. Traffic levels are manageable, however during rush hours (07:00-08:00, 16:30-18:00) traffic can come to a standstill, in particular on the bridges crossing the railway line. Driving standards are OK, however there are many traffic lights (robots) which stay red for a long time, hence many drivers run red lights - perhaps 6 or more cars will run a red before traffic comes to a stop. Some Stop signs are also optional, which means that further caution is needed.
Hare Krishna Temple, G-West Phase 2 (opp. Baobab school) (http://goo.gl/maps/2eA4i), . Very random and very impressive temple in the suburbs of Gaborone. Depending on when you visit you may get a personal guided tour. Bring a camera!
Thapong Visual Arts Centre, Maratadiba Road, the Village (on the road between News Cafe and Tlokweng), ☎ 316 1771 / 319 1815. Pleasant art gallery and studios exhibiting local artists.free.
National Museum and Art Gallery, 331 Independence Avenue (just off Main Mall), ☎ +267 374 616. Slightly run down but still interesting exhibit hall displaying cases depicting Botswana’s history and is cultural diversity. Tuesday to Friday - 09:00 to 18:00, Saturday and Sunday - 09:00 to 17:00. Closed Monday. Free.
Gaborone Cycling Club, ☎ +267 71811472, . Actually a mountain biking rather than cycling club. Afrikaaner flavoured.
Otse Village, (approx. 55 km along A1 road south of Gaborone). 30 minutes drive from Gaborone. Otse village at an altitude of 3620ft, is commonly known as "Letsekela" by its inhabitants of Balete origin. It's surrounded by hills with Manyelanong on the East and Baratani hill on the West. Manyelanong is one of the only two sites where you have 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 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 snakes head with a knife.(25 02 11.79,25 44 55.85)
Gaborone Stables, Plot 646 Crocodile Pools (opposite Lion Park on the road south to Lobatse), ☎ +267 3161539.
Alliance Française de Gaborone, Mabuto Drive (opp. the University of Botswana), ☎ +267 395 1650, . Offers language courses (French, Setswana) movie nights and the occasional cultural event.
Camelot Spa, Grand Palm Hotel, . Newly opened (2013) day spa offering all the usual treatments.Hour-long spa pedicure P350, Manicure P200.
Y Care Charitable Trust, Plot 50362, Fairgrounds, Block 3, Office no. 2, . organises walks and 'pre-walks' near Gaborone and elsewhere in Botswana. See website for upcoming events
Alliance Française, Pudulogo Crescent, Plot 2939, P.O. Box 1817 Gaborone, Botswana (Opposite University of Botswana), ☎ +2673951650, . The Alliance Française provides French, English and Setswana Classes, as well as the occasional music performance, film night or art display.
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 M-F 16:00-18:00. 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.
Mmopane Hill, (Just outside Mmpane village near the airport), . Small hill with great views, can watch planes landing at Gaborone International. Takes about 30 minutes to scramble up.
BTC hill, (south of Tlokweng), . Another hill with good views over Gaborone and South Africa. Has a driveway to the summit, only those with legs of iron can cycle to the top!
New Capital Cinema have three multiscreen theatres; one in Riverwalk Mall, one in Game City Mall and a new one in Masa Square in the CBD (underneath Cappellos). Movies typically cost 50 Pula per seat (December 2013). Films start at the stated time. It is assigned seating, so tell the cashier your preference when buying the ticket. Usually show big-name movies (as a small theatre in the US would).
Gaborone Film Club every Tuesday at 7pm in Maru-a-Pula school - showing an interesting collection of cinematic classics for only P10.
Mokolodi, . The highlight of many people's stay in Gaborone is a two-hour game drive where you might see baboons, giraffe, wart hogs, zebra, elephant, hippo, etc. The guides are always very nice. The wonderful restaurant at Mokolodi is worth a visit even without a game drive.
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 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. This, 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 +267 3913709, Plot 3491, Kaunda road. 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, an NGO). 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.
Pelegano Village Industries in Gabane (30 minute drive west of Gabs) – interesting for an afternoon – a small cluster of arty / handicraft shops under the trees.
Thamaga pottery – long established shop in Thamaga (45 minutes west of Gabs) selling good quality glazed pots and crockery. Open 7 days a week but if you visit on a weekday you may see the potters in action.
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. (-24.56304,26.03485)
Craft Market, Nakadi Street, Broadhurst Industrial. Curiously located in the middle of an industrial estate, The Craft Market 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.
Botswana Craft, (on the western by-pass, opp, Block 8), ☎ (+267) 3922 487, . Established in 1970 to develop the rural based handicraft industry Botswana Craft has blossomed in to a music venue, conference centre, restaurant and large retail outlet for locally produced crafts, all at fixed prices.
Wood carvings and colorful prints are high quality and reasonably priced; most are imported from other African countries. There are very high quality.
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.
Game store in the Game City Mall is the largest super store in Botswana and has got variety of low-cost, medium quality items.
Gaborone offers the best eating this side of Johannesburg, and there are some excellent restaurants in the city, with steaks and south Asian cuisine being particular highlights. However Gaborone does suffer a little from South African culinary hegemony and if you want to avoid bland South African chain restaurants some forward planning is required. Certainly 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 Quick and simple lunch of starch (rice, pap, sorghum or samp), vegetables (usually squash, beetroot, chakalaka or spinach) and meat. Sold on the streets near most offices, including in the Main Mall, International Finance Park and elsewhere. Between P10 and P20. Usually 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 BWP50.
Terrace Restaurant, Main Mall (in Cresta President hotel), ☎ +267 395 3631, . lunch & dinner. With a bird's eye view of Main Mall's hustle & bustle the Terrace is the nicest 'downtown' restaurant in Gabs. The lunch menu includes quick options for around BWP50. The evening menu has Botswana's only Moroccan cuisine, including a lamb tagine and Moroccan kingklip. Mains around P80.
Melody Cafe, Main Mall. Daytime only. Local place for local food. About P25 a meal.
Camel Inn, (In the garden of the National Museum). lunch only. Perhaps the most pleasant lunch place in the city centre. Set in the grounds of the National Museum and serving up tasty local fare for around P20 per plate.
Ministry of Health Staff Canteen, Ground floor, Ministry of Health (In the north-western part of the government enclave, backing on to Nelson Mandela Ave), . Open 9-4.30pm - busiest at lunch time. This staff canteen is open-to-all and serves up a range of cheap and tasty fare, including curries in addition to more traditional food. An interesting place to see Botswana's civil servants relaxing.Around P20 for a meal..
Ministry of Finance Staff Canteen, State House Drive, Govt Enclave (access between the first and second buildings on your right). 12.30 - 1.45pm. Another government canteen - this one a slightly shorter walk from the Main Mall. Clean, spacious, air conditioned. Flat screen TVs.Meals around P20.
(New) Central Business District
Gourmet Grill, Masa Centre, CBD. Lunch & Dinner. Previously known at Ribs & Rumps, this stylish outlet serves up grilled meat to Gaborone's monied classes. Oddly no starters on the menu. Quality of the food is middling, but not bad value for money. A lively choice for a Friday or Saturday.Mains around P100.
La Touche de Provence, Landsmore Hotel, Masa Square. Dinner (lunchtime is buffet). The Lansmore's flagship al a carte restaurant, overlooking Masa Square. Decent menu covering the usual bases as well as more interesting choices such as Cape gambas, flambéed scallops, roast baby chicken, or white pepper crème brûlée, plus a dedicated vegetarian menu. La Touche has a certain hushed elegance in the evenings which is hard to match elsewhere in Gaborone.P250 for 3 courses.
Liban, North ITower, 3rd Commercial Road, CDB, ☎ +267 3925783, . Lunch & Dinner. The only Lebanese cuisine this side of Johannesburg. Causal setting on the terrace of a new apartment building. American/Lebanese chef. Shesha available for BWP100.Pricey. Starters around BWP60, mains around BWP70-120, BWP30 for a Lebanese beer.
Deli's – (located in the Craft Centre in Broadhurst Industrial) 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) +267 71540466. Once a nice lunch place, however the continental menu is slowly shrinking in size, with variants on pap and stew gaining prominence. Still selling overpriced coffee, free wifi. Lots of expats. 7.30am-7.00pm Monday-Friday. 8.30am-1pm Saturdays. Closed Sundays. Mains P40-70.
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.
Falcon Crest Suites, Corner of Julius Nyerere & Chuma, ☎ (+267) 3935373, . Dinner. Intimate dining in this small guesthouse near the Gaborone Sun hotel. Tends to quite quiet, so try visit Friday or Saturday if you want some atmosphere. Try the salmon pastry crust.Mains P90-P130.
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-centered dishes – and does a pretty good job.
Par 5 Indian Restaurant(in Gaborone Golf Club next to Gaborone Sun Hotel). Tel: 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.
Red Lantern Chinese Restaurant, Broadhurst Industrial (corner of Kubu & Nakadi roads), ☎ 390 8514. lunch & dinner. Something of a Gaborone institution - the Red Lantern has been running for decades now. Varied menu with some interesting options, using good quality ingredients makes it hard to have a bad meal here.mains around P60.
Wagga Gardenex, North of Broadhurst , ☎ +267 71814314, . Lunchtimes only.. Pleasant garden centre cum cafe cum wedding reception venue set in the fields between Gaborone and Phakalane. Lots of green space, good food, in particular the bream.
Phakalane (10km north of Gaborone)
Drotsky's, (in Phakalane Golf Estate), ☎ + 267 360 4000, . lunch & dinner. Describing itself as a 'fine dining' restaurant Drotsky's serves up some interesting dishes (biltong pâté, pork baked in almonds, etc.) cooked by a professionally trained chef. However the menu (together with the wine list) is somewhat aspirational and you may find some dishes not available. Somewhere worth trying if looking for something a cut above the usual steak & chips. mains P80-P150.
Palm Grove Chinese Restaurant, Pula Spar Shopping Complex Block 6 (Nyere Drive & Mogoditshane Road), ☎ +267 3180459 / 72226765. Lunch & dinner. Authentic and good value local Chinese place. Mains from P50.
Cafe Fego, 4th Commercial, CBD (first floor of the white tower in SquareMart mall (next to Engen garage)), ☎ +267 3162424, . 08h00 and 21h00 Monday to Sunday. Great cappuccino!
Grand Palm complex
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.
Bai Sheng, In the Grand Palm hotel, . Lunch & dinner. Opened in 2013 Bai Sheng is one of Gaborone's more sanitised western-flavoured Chinese restaurants. The décor and setting are the highlight - with a tasteful contemporary east Asian theme coupled with a nice outdoor eating area overlooking the kitchen. Food is tasty but unadventurous (although octopus is on the menu). The service is so-so and they will encourage you to over-order (large portion sizes mean you only need 2 mains per 3 people). Avoid the private dining rooms - which they will try and get you to use if you are a large group - the garden is infinitely more pleasant.Mains P70-P120.
Chutney's – (Located in the Westgate Mall on the Western Bypass). Good south Indian food, including dosas and lots of Kerela type dishes - however the fish ain't that great. Not much for ambiance but great food. Mains around P45 (veg) to P80.
Cappuccinos, Airport Junction mall, ☎ (+267) 3909947, . until 10pm. Newly opened (2012) branch of the South Africa Italian chain. Menu covers the standard pastas & grills, together with wood-fired pizzas (inc. calzones, which they call stromboli). Food and service are distinctly average. Has a kiddies playground / jungle-gym, which can be annoyingly noisy / a blessing from heaven depending on whether you have kids with you. Pizzas and pastas around P65, grills etc around P100. Cocktails around P50.
Oceans Basket, Airport Junction mall, ☎ +267 3909932, . Lunch & dinner.. Would normally be considered to fall under the 'bland South African chain' category. However the Gaborone branch is worth mentioning as good seafood and sushi can be hard-to-find. The tuna is particularly good. Service can be patchy. The prices however are very reasonable, although the portion sizes are small.
Rhapsodys, Airport Junction, ☎ 392 3989, . until 10.30pm. Airport Junctions best restaurant. An interesting menu of grills, pastas, great sushi and others - and the kitchen does a good job of all of them, although waiting time can be on the long side. The funky modern décor and good service (although not always guaranteed) make this place one of the city's best eateries. Prices a bit higher than average, mains around P120.
Europa, Airport Junction mall, . breakfast, lunch and dinner. Acceptable cafe/ restaurant newly opened (2012) in Airport Junction. Dishes cover the usual euro/South African mix of pasta, salads and grills. A wood fired pizza oven ensures the best pizzas in town. Staff are still learning so a good idea to point to the thing you want on the menu. Cappuccinos next door has an almost identical menu but is perhaps a tad more upmarket.Mains P60-P120.
Toyokey, Sebele Centre ((in the mall next to Airport Junction)), ☎ +267 3185301. Lunch & dinner, Closed Mondays. Gaborone's only Japanese restaurant. Wide menu covering all the main Japanese styles, inc teppanyaki. Sushi & sashime are particularly good. Tempura is best avoided. About P100-P150 for a good meal. CLOSED DOWN!
Eastern Crescent, In Sebele mall (next to Toyokey), ☎ +267 3951712. lunch & dinner. Perhaps the most upmarket of Gaborone's independent Chinese eateries. Interesting menu, good food, and good service.Mains P70.
Saffron, Sebele Centre mall, ☎ +267 391 8464. lunch & dinner. Newly opened in October 2013, Saffron is perhaps the most upmarket Indian eatery in town. Extensive, if slightly aspirational menu (they never have the lobster curry...) with lots of vegetarian dishes. Modern decor, and even a small outdoor terrace, which, in typical shopping mall style, overlooks the car park. Good value with large portions, they even have 350g fillet steak with asain vegetables for P80. Mains P60-70.
Mom and Tots. Located in Sebele Mall on the way to Phakalane. Excellent place for parents, with staff who play with your children while you eat. The food is great too!
Eastern Sun, Fairgrounds Mall (next to Motor City), ☎ +267 3190858. 12.00 - 14.30 & 18.30 - 22:00 Monday to Sunday. Excellent and oft overlooked curryhouse. Naan bread to die for and top notch Indian (actually Pakistani) food. Recommended.Mains P50-P70.
Caravela – (Plot 421 Mokgosi Close, Ext. 4, +267 391 4284(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 -check for jazz events.Open for lunch Mon-Fri,dinner Mon-Sat, closed Sundays. Food is generally of good quality- especially the prawns. Very friendly owners and service.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 centres 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. Closed weekends.
Chatters, Cresta Lodge, Samora Machel Drive, ☎ (+267) 397 5375, . Hotel restaurant and bar. What sets it apart is the quiet garden setting, and live music on Friday and Saturday nights. Lunches are buffets, and the evening is al a carte.Mains from P80.
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.
Cafe Tempo, Africa Mall. open all day. Simple joint serving up local favourites (chicken with pap, beef with rice etc.) for about P25 a plate.
Ashoka Palace, African Mall, ☎ +267 316 5452, . One of Gaborone's oldest, and arguably best Indian restaurants. The menu is extensive (good vegetarian options) and the portion sizes large.
Primi Piatti - Stylish branch of the South African Italian restaurant chain that has gone downhill in 2013. A wide variety of meat, pizzas and pastas. Mains from BWP80 up to BWP120+ for a big chunk of beef. Service is poor, and the food quality slipping, but they can still whip up some tasty dishes. Pasta comes in "L" (little) or "F" (full); "L" would be normally considered a very large portion in itself. Located in the Riverwalk Mall. Free Wi-Fi. NOW CLOSED (June 2014)
Johnny Jalapenos, Riverwalk Mall. Lunch & dinner. Newly opened (Sept 2014) Mexican fusion bar & grill. Upstairs with an outdoor seating area (overlooking the carpark).
Embassy - North Indian food - located in the Riverwalk Mall. Portions are quite small, and prices high (BWP30 for a bowl of rice anyone?). Note: food can take up to one hour, especially if with a large group. Mains around BWP60-75, but the extras are pricey. However it is open late (kitchen closes at 22:00).
Abyssinia Ethiopian Cafe +267 318 7992] - Botswana's only Ethiopian cuisine serving up pretty good injera with all the trimmings for P99 and delicious goat stew for BWP80, together with some Botswana food, and beef lasagne. Also does great coffee and is cleaner and quieter than Equatorial Coffee around the corner. It's open until 20:30 on Fridays and Saturdays, but during the week it closes early with last orders around 19:00.
Rodizo's, Riverwalk Mall (upstairs), ☎ +267 3924428, . 7 days a week. Very South African flavoured Brazilian restaurant, that, as of 2013, is suffering from some slipping in standards. Steaks can be some of the best in the city, but depends on the night.Mains from BWP90.
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).  Classic and nice coffee shop. 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 a mix of expats and locals. Open for breakfast and lunch, closed on Sundays.
Mokolodi restaurant(in the Mokolodi Nature Reserve 10km south of Game City). +267 75153217,  Easily the most atmospheric of Gaborone's restaurants Mokolodi delivers excellent safari lodge style al a carte dining under a thatched lapa next to a waterhole, where dozens of impala gather. Menu focuses on beef, but has some nice vegetarian and pasta options, together with lamb shank and pork knuckle (on Thursdays). The only down side is need to have your own car to get there, or hire a taxi for the evening. Mains P80-P140. Lunch & dinner Tuesday - Saturday. Sunday lunch time only. Can bring your own wine and pay corkage. Closed Mondays.
Cafe Portugalia. lunch and dinner. Best place to eat in Game City. Portuguese favourites such as chorizo, and some seafood dishes.
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, Riverwalk Mall, and 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.
Barcelos - A rival to Nando's in the battle of the chicken. Particularly nice outlet in Sebele Mall.
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.
Roadrunners, ☎ 3951555. Boasts of its efficient food delivery services. Delivered on time, be it to home, office or hotel from any restaurant of your choice. From Tlokweng to Mogoditshane, Mokolodi to Phakalane.
Debonairs Pizza, . 10:00 to 22:00 (Mon-Thurs, Sun) and 10:00 to 23h00 (Fri & Sat). Offers the hottest and freshest pizzas. Free delivery within 5km radius of the Restaurant. Minimum Delivery Order is P50. PHONE NUMBERS: Broadhurst 3935555; Kgale View 3937910; Main Mall 3905024; Rail Park Mall 3973982; Riverwalk 3700171; Sebele Centre 3951757.P19,90.
The Braai Place - Low rent BBQ meat in the sauce of your choice. Eat in or take away. P50 for a meal.
Wimpy, . Burgers and chips...Breakfasts…famous coffee…mixed grills…sodas and wonderful waffles… available at Airport Junction 397 5424; Game City 391 0741; Rail Park 397 3997; Riverwalk 370 0186; Western Bypass 392 4187
In general, prices for western goods are at EU prices; local goods (corn meal) are inexpensive at grocery stores.
Woolworths Food 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.
SquareMart in the CBD is a good supermarket - just below Woolworths in quality, has a particularly good bakery.
SuperSpar and Pick'n'Pay are solid mid-range supermarket options. Depending on the branch, Spar is usually has the better quality and better service.
Choppies and OK Foods are more down-market - perhaps a little cheaper for some items. Service tends to be atrocious. Are located in all areas of Gaborone.
Choppies Westgate Mall deserves special mention - described as the 'Woolworths for the Indian Community' the Westgate mall branch stocks a huge variety of south Asian produce, including imported Indian rice, spices, lentils etc. A good place to stock your kitchen.
For a budget, buy a pie at Pie Time and then a drink at SPAR! (BWP13 for a full meal).
In all super market malls, there is a grocery store.
The Batswana like to drink. Indeed, after raising cattle, drinking could be considered the national pastime. Sadly excessive drinking and the problems this causes are not uncommon. The government has responded with public education campaigns, and slapped an alcohol levy on drink sales.
For the tourist there are not many options for a bar or pub style drink. Most drinking is done in male-dominated shebeen type places, which whilst interesting are not particularly pleasant places to spend much time. If you are looking for a sundowner picking a hotel or restaurant with outdoor seating is probably your best bet.
Absolut Bar, Lansmore Hotel, CBD, . 12 noon to late. Closes 7pm Sundays. Over a year after opening the hotel, the roof-top bar has finally opened (Sept 2013), offering drinkers a superb sundowner location to end the day. A steep P100 is charged to non-hotel residents at weekends, presumably an attempt to keep the rif-raf out. up to P100 entry on Fridays & Saturdays.
Bull and Bush - An English-style pub and a common ex-pat hangout with big-screen TVs and pool tables. Also features dancing on the weekends. The food is good, 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 and gets very busy.
O'Hagans Irish Pub, A South African chain located in Game City Mall. Standard, unimpressive pub food. Good mix of ex-pats and Batswana. Good choice to watch big screen sports.
Club Satchmo Ntimbale Rd, G-West Phase 2  - Jazz club with decent drinks and great music.
Gaborone Yacht Club, Off the old Lobaste road near the railway crossing, ☎ 71579707, . 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 but tasty food available (eg steak-burger & chips P45).P20 entrance.
Poolside Bar at the Gaborone Sun hotel is a pleasant place to relax. A few flatscreen TVs make it a good choice for watching football.
Zoom nightclub, Maru-a Pula shopping centre, . Shady club popular with students. Exercise caution.
Millenium Jazz Bar, Edward Lesetedi Rd, Mogoditshane, . until late. Long-running music venue and drinking joint out to the west of town. Most nights the music is off a CD but sometimes a live band will perform. The crowd tends to be older and more respectful than most in Gaborone. Recommended.
Sky Lounge, 19th floor, North I Tower, CDB, ☎ +267 392 5675, . 7 days a week, until late. The highest bar in the country. Sky Lounge offers great views and comfortable surroundings in which to sip your drink. Recently (2014) abandoned its 'members only' policy so you can now just turn up, although entrance is charged on Friday and Saturday nights. You can also order food from Liban downstairs and hence enjoy your hummus whilst soaking up the view.Drinks expensive.
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.
Tsodilo Lodge, just off Sefoke Road, Tlokweng (Down the road behind Oasis Motel), ☎ (+267) 328554, . One of the cheapest places in town. A budget option if you have your own vehicle and are just looking for a cheap place to crash overnight. P350 per room.
The Mogoditshane tent, (in Mogoditshane to the west of town), ☎ +267 71555221. fully equipped 2 x 3m tent pitched in well-established secure and natural quiet set up with ablutionsP200 per night.
Beams Camp, 54189 Legolo Road, Block 3 east (near Bull & Bush), ☎ +2673911912 / +26772412105, . Simple rooms with shared facilities, and camping available. Walking distance to Bull & Bush. Next to the railway line.around P300 for a twin room.
African Home, Nyerere Drive (Two streets west of Middlestar shopping centre), ☎ =267 3909440, . 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.P650/double, including cont. bkfast.
Luxury Inn, Plot 329 Sefoke Road, Tlokweng (Down the road behind Oasis Motel), ☎ +267 318111, . Fairly modern lodge in the back streets of Tlokweng. Near some other budget options so you can pick and choose what suits your budget.around P400.
StayEasy Inn, (near the Gaborone Sun hotel). Simple lodge across the road from the Gaborone Sun, and at about half the price. From P450.
Riverside Lodge, (first left after crossing the Notwane river on the Tlokweng road, signposted), ☎ +267 3928805, . Small lodge comprising about 10 rooms a few minutes from Riverside mall. The grounds are quiet, but it does feel a little like a car park. Rooms have a/c and DSTV. No internet / wifi. Some rooms only have baths (no shower). Not a bad option if looking for somewhere cheap to crash overnight. The prices on the website are long out-of-date.from P360 inc. breakfast.
Royal Apartments Lodge, (Behind Senn Foods, along Tlokweng Road), ☎ +267 3906033, . Good value recently built lodge a 1 km walk from Riverside Mall. Rooms have a/c, flatscreen DSTV, fridge, free wi/fi, and are clean and sunny. There is a small pool and pleasant garden out back, with plenty of birdlife contributing to the atmosphere. Cooked breakfasts also nice.from P400 per room.
The Cottage, in Tlokweng (south of Tyre Technics on the Tlokweng Road), . Clean 2 bed self catering cottage in a peaceful, beautiful garden with swimming pool & DSTV.P667 to P964 per night.
Oasis Motel, (2km past Riverwalk Mall along Tlokweng Road), ☎ +267 392 8396, . Opened in 1983 Oasis Motel is one of the older hotels in the city. Currently (2012) undergoing a renovation, the hotel boasts 110 rooms, good sized pool, internet, a/c and DSTV. Is a bit far from town if you don't have a car, and lots of noise from the road. The Moghul Indian restaurant is on site.From P590 room only.
Travelodge, Block 3 (near the Western by-pass), ☎ +267 3105000, . Large, corporate and modern. Wifi. Restuarant. Bar. Large lawned garden.around P650 per room.
Landsmore Masa Square, (In the CBD), ☎ +267 315 9954, . Gaborone's flashy new business hotel, opened in June 2012 and is already something of a landmark. Architecture is akin to what you find in the financial districts of European capitals. The highlight is the rooftop pool. Rack rates from US$250 (P1,750), but specials are available during quiet periods (eg P800 for bed & breakfast).
Gaborone Sun, (next to the golf course east of the city centre), ☎ +267 361 6000, . Once the premier hotel in the city, the Gabs Sun is now getting a little old and flabby, with the better staff having been poached by the Monidor and Grand Palm hotels, and hence service can be a bit grumpy and slapdash. Nevertheless it has a lovely pool and bar area (happy hour 6-7pm), and some of the rooms (in particular rooms 203 – 231 odd numbers) are nice, catching the morning sun glinting off the pool. Facilities comprise ubiquitous casino (read: slot machines), squash courts, small gym, conference facilities, buffet breakfast, pay-as-you-go internet etc. At P900+ a night its poor value, but with most guests being Government / businesspeople it can get away with these rates.From P900 per room per night.
Grand Palm - Peermont Walmont, (west of the city centre), ☎ +267 3637777, . Easily the loveliest hotel in Gaborone. Bordering 5 star status, this hotel is a modern oasis 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. 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 further 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. The Grand Palm is very much a resort hotel and is not a good choice if you don't have your own transport. Check for specials.from P1770 per room.
Grand Palm - Peermont Metcourt Inn, (west of the city centre), ☎ +267 363777, . The cheaper 3 star hotel on the Grand Palm site - but rates are still steep, in part because you can still use all the facilities of the Walmont. Breakfast is served in the F.L.A.G. Café.From P720 per room excluding breakfast..
Cresta Lodge +267 397 5375. Located on Samora Machel Drive, close to Fairgrounds business park and shopping mall.
Cresta President Hotel Tel 267 395 3631, Fax 267 395 1840, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Located in Main Mall near the government enclave. Recently renovated business hotel, a little pricey. Popular with business people. Has a quiet bar with a pleasant terrace overlooking the mall. Rack rates - single P782, double P932.
Mondior Summit Mabuto Drive.  +267 319 0600. Four-star hotel located on the edge of 'The Village'. Small outdoor swimming pool and jacuzzi. Conference facilities. Wifi Internet available in all rooms, for a charge. Back-up generator. News Cafe provides the restaurant.
In the bush to the south of Gaborone
An alternative to hotels and guesthouses in the city are the handful in Notwane and Crocodile Pools - these are a 20 minute drive in to central Gaborone (10 minutes from Game City) and are very quiet and tranquil. For eating the restaurant at the Mokolodi Game Reserve is nearby.
Mokolodi Backpackers, 10kms south of Gaborone, just off the main Lobatse – Gaborone highway. (The turning is marked with sign for the Mokolodi Game Reserve.), ☎ +267 7411 1165, . Pleasant backpackers near Mokolodi Game Reserve. Dorms, rondevals, camping.Dorm rooms: P165 pppn Private single Room (with shared bathroom): P220 per night.
Taylors Cottages, In Notwane, off Crocodile Way (a little hard to find as its not signposted, best to use a GPS Latitude: -24.7672, Longitude: 25.8454), . Overlooking the Notwane river these cottages are quiet special. One cottage has a particularly nice private picnic / braai area.P506 per night.
Phokoje Bed and Breakfast, In Crocodile pools (a little further south than Notwane), . Nice little B&B with a couple of double rooms and a separate cottage at the end of the garden. The owners enjoy cycling and can show you an excellent route through the bush.P450 single B&B.
Oppi-Koppi B&B, Crocodile Pools, . Pleasant B&B in a fairly modern house.P475 pppn.
Kleynhans Home, Plot 25, Sentlhane Conservation Area, . On the west side of the A1 highway, with excellent views. Each suite is equipped with a kitchenette, television, air conditioner and internet. A light breakfast is placed in the fridge. Swimming pool.P650 - P950 per night.
For longer stays
If you are staying in Gabs for weeks or months rather than days the following may be of interest.
Motheo Apartments, Plot 4710, Moremi Road (off Independence Avenue), ☎ +267 318 1587, . Slightly ageing compound offering serviced studio, one and two bed apartments and town houses. Daily, monthly and yearly rates available with prices from P9,500 pcm for a studio up to P13,500 pcm for a town house. Book well in advance. Internet is available at a price.
Innisfree Apartments, Plot 5004 Boteti Road, The Village (near Riverwalk Mall), ☎ +267 3953603, . Comfortable serviced studio and one-bed apartments offering monthly rentals. Wifi is included. P9,000pcm for a double room up to P13,500pcm for a one bed apartment. Pretty popular so book well in advance.
Hantom House, G-West Phase 1, ☎ Alan@Gabz.Biz, . Long running expat houseshare for multi-month long stays.
Town Lodge, Next to Airport Junction mall, ☎ +267 316 0490, . Branch of the South African City Lodge franchise. Built in 2012 with a pool and walking distance to Airport Junction and Sebele mall, so not a bad option for business visitor without a car. Air conditioning is noisy and the rooms could be larger. from P813 single room only.
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.
People in Botswana are very friendly and the crime rate is relatively low. However the recent contrast between rich and poor has seen crime on the rise. Always be aware of your surroundings. When going out at night to a restaurant take a taxi called from your hotel. Take the mobile number of your driver and call him when you want to go home. Do not walk around at night away from places with lots of people. At night, do not walk back 5 blocks to your hotel from a pub. Do walk around during the day. Basic common sense will keep you safe from criminals. You should have a safe and pleasant trip as hundreds of thousands of other people have each year. If your staying at a hotel it is safe, beware for some residential areas affected with burglars.
Stay alert when driving in cars for smash and grabs when using mobile devices near traffic lights (talking on the phone without a handsfree kit is illegal anyways).
Beware when walking at evenings/night in street corners as muggings occur, displays of wealth and property make you a target, particularly tempting objects such as mobile phones, laptops.
Crowded public areas are a heaven for pick pockets. Be cautious especially if you are a women with a handbag.Areas often affected with such crimes are near Old Naledi, Mogoditsane, Broadhurst, Phase I and II.
Police are honest and helpful but sometimes can be late to respond.
When driving to rural areas be extra careful as cows and wildlife often walk in the middle of the road. Be prepared to stop for a herd of goats. Do not drive at night unless you know what you are doing. Drunk driving on weekends and holidays is common and dangerous. Drivers do not look out for or give way to pedestrians. Be very cautious when crossing any street day or night. Do not immediate ly get out of your car if bumped/hit from behind - drive to a pubic place (service station/restaurant) to inspect for damage. Do enjoy the beauty!
Police: dial 999 for the helpline or 351161
Fire Brigade: 998
If for you are headed to the North of Botswana like the Okavango Delta, haven't pack any anti-malaria pills with you and it is possible to get a prescription and have it filled in Gaborone. Try Capital Medical Center at the Riverwalk Shopping Center, Dr. Banu Khan(narrow glass door on the left-hand side of the Pharmacy that is right behind the stairs that go up to the second floor) for a drop-in appointment. The consultation visit to get a prescription will cost you 165.00 pula (about $23 USD). As of June 2011 the cost of an anti-malarial drug called Doxycycline was 1.00 pula per pill (about $0.15 USD) and Malarone was 44.33 pula per pill (about $6.70 USD). Tel: 370-0066/7
If heading to Cape Town or Durban for the weekend it is considerably cheaper to drive to Lanseria airport in Gauteng (4 hours drive) and fly with Kulula or Mango rather than fly direct with Air Botswana (approx P1,800 + petrol versus P4,400).