*'''South African Express''', Offices in the Game City Mall, Broadhurst Mall and Riverwalk Mall, Phone: 397 2397 (Game City), 309 5740 (Broadhurst), [http://www.saexpress.co.za]. Flies in from [[Johannesburg]]. SAA has non-stop service from JNB. In order to fly from Cape Town, it is necessary to connect through JNB.
*'''South African Express''', Offices in the Game City Mall, Broadhurst Mall and Riverwalk Mall, Phone: 397 2397 (Game City), 309 5740 (Broadhurst), [http://www.saexpress.co.za]. Flies in from [[Johannesburg]]. SAA has non-stop service from JNB. In order to fly from Cape Town, it is necessary to connect through JNB.
*'''Air Namibia''' [http://www.airnamibia.com.na/] flies to / from [[Windhoek]] on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays.
*'''Air Namibia''' [http://www.airnamibia.com.na/] flies to / from [[Windhoek]] on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Air Kenya''' [http://www.kenya-airways.com/] flies in from [[Nairobi]] on Mondays, Wednesdays and Sundays providing a useful alternative to Johannesburg for connections to the rest of the world. |+|
*'''Kenya ''' [http://www.kenya-airways.com/] flies in from [[Nairobi]] on Mondays, Wednesdays and Sundays providing a useful alternative to Johannesburg for connections to the rest of the world.
| || |
Revision as of 20:16, 6 May 2013
Gaborone is the capital of Botswana and located in the south of the country, near the border to South Africa.
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 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.
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.
Customs is a more formality and is quite efficiently organised. Make sure you have an address that you can state you will be staying at.
- 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. Typical fares from Gabs are in USD 200 - 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. SAA has non-stop service from JNB. In order to fly from Cape Town, it is necessary to connect through JNB.
- Air Namibia  flies to / from Windhoek on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays.
- Kenya Airways  flies in from Nairobi on Mondays, Wednesdays and Sundays providing a useful alternative to Johannesburg for connections to the rest of the world.
There is a daily bus that connects Pretoria, South Africa with Gaborone, Botswana. The bus is operated by Intercape and the 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 8 hrs bus ride). This bus makes a brief stop at the Johannesburg bus station to pick up passengers. As of June 2011 the bus fare was R 195.00 rand per person (about $29 USD).
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 overly religious messages in them.
The border crossing between South Africa and Botswana is pretty straight forward. The passengers get off the bus (without the luggage, just the documentation) at the South African immigration check point to get their exit stamps, than 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.
- Travelers not used to left side of the road driving should exercise caution while driving and crossing the street, as most of Southern Africa (Gaborone, Botswana included) drives on the left.
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 P4.10. 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 P 20-30 (eg. Main Mall to Game City is around P30).
Combis are white vans that are like mini-buses. Combis cost P3.50. There are no route maps but 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.
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 (7-8am, 4.30-6pm) 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.
The last daily passenger train service was withdrawn in April 2009.
- 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.
- Otse Village (3620ft), (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. (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.
- New Capital Cinema have two multiscreen theatres; one in Riverwalk Mall and one in Game City Mall. Movies typically cost 40 Pula per seat (December 2012). Films start at the stated time, with only movie trailers and no advertisements. 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 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 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.
See Dumela Gaborone for a comprehensive list of Botswana shopping malls.
Gaborone offers the best eating this side of Johannesburg - however the city suffers more than most 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 10 and 20 P. 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 P50.
- 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 P50. The evening menu has Botswana's only Moroccan cuisine, including a lamb tagine and Moroccan kingklip. Mains around P80.
- 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.
- 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) 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). 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 (http://binged.it/K9Di41), ☎ +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.
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.
- Rhapsodys, Airport Junction, ☎ 392 3989, . until 10.30pm. Airport Junctions best restaurant. An interesting menu of grills, pastas, sushi and others - and the kitchen does a good job of all of them. The funky modern décor and good service 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 also. 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.
- 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.
- Cafe Mint. Located in Sebele Mall on the way to Phakalane. Decent coffee.
- 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 – (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 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.
- 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 Indian restaurants.
- 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. 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 wifi.
- 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 +267 3187992  - Botswana's only Ethiopian cuisine serving up pretty good injera with all the trimmings for P80, together with some Botswana food, and beef lasagne. Also does great coffee and is cleaner and quieter than Equatorial Coffee around the corner. In cafe style it closes early with last orders around 7.30pm (6.30pm on weekends).
- 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 dissapointing. 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. 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.
- 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.
- Apache Spur, (Riverwalk). Uninspiring South African chain. Kinda like a McDonalds but serving cheap steaks. Popular with families. The one in Riverwalk has a bouncy castle.
- 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. A popular pizza restaurant that also does deliveries P55 cheapest pizza.
- The Braai Place - Low rent BBQ meat in the sauce of your choice. Eat in or take away. P50 for a meal.
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.
- 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 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 there and well worth a visit!
- Sundowner Bar at the Lansmore Hotel provides excellent views of the city.
- O'Hagans Irish Pub, A South African chain located in Game City Mall. Standard, unimpressive pub food. Good 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, ☎ 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). 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 for more information.
- Bull and Bush See above.
- Boulevard (Phakalane) Busy club that plays top-40 hits and has a nice outdoor patio.
- Cigar Lounge (Phakalane) A cigar lounge that turns into a busy club on weekends.
- "Notwane Club" - used mainly to host private or special dj events
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 ablutions P200 per night.
- African Home, Nyerere Drive (Two streets west of Middlestar shopping centre). 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. P400/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.
- Linville, Plot 59865, Block 7, ☎ +267 3185622 / +267 71498622. Boutique bed & breakfast
- 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).
- 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 modern front entrance, 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 furtehr 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. 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
- The President's Hotel (Located in the Heart of the city center)
- Mondior Summit, known locally as the best hotel in town. Four-star service with small outdoor swimming pool and jacuzzi. Wifi Internet available in all rooms, for a charge.
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.
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
Gaborone Private Hospital
Emergency number: 997
Bokamoso Private Hospital
Tel: 369 4000
Princess Marina Hospital
Tel: 362 1400
Med Rescue ambulance (+267) 3901601
Emergency number: 992
Mascom Cell phone Emergency: 147
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
Consulates and Embassies
- Consulate of Canada, .
- Embassy of China, .
- Embassy of the United States, .
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).