Gabarone

Gabarone

Things to do - general

Once proudly referred to as “Africa’s fastest growing city,” Botswana’s capital, Gaborone, has been – since its inception – continually expanding, to the point that now the sprawling urban centre of some 300 000 residents has become nearly unrecognisable from the tiny, dusty administrative town it was at the country’s independence in 1966.  From the end of the nineteenth century, until 1963, tiny ‘Gaberones’ Village, as the town was then called, consisted of only a small settlement on the railway line and a small administrative centre in the area now called ‘The Village.’ The land between both settlements was Crown land, but was used by the people of the neighbouring village of Tlokweng as a cattle grazing area.  Britain’s Bechuanaland protectorate (established in 1885) had its main administrative centre in Mafeking (now Mafikeng), in South Africa, just over the current Ramatlabama border. As plans developed for the country’s independence, it was clear it would need an administrative town within its political boundaries. Bechuanaland was the only territory in the world whose administrative centre lay outside its boundaries.  Nine possible sites were suggested: Mahalapye, Shashe, Francistown, Serowe, Artesia, Lobatse, Gaborone, Maun and a point within the Tuli Block. Gaborone was chosen because of its strategic location, its proximity to the railway line and Pretoria, its already established administrative offices, its accessibility to most of the major tribes, its non-association with any particular tribe, and most importantly, its closeness to a major water source.  The city was named after Kgosi Gaborone, leader of the Batlokwa people, who migrated from their ancestral homelands in the Magaliesberg Mountains and in 1881 settled in the Tlokweng area (then called Moshaweng). Gaborone literally means ‘it does not fit badly’ or ‘it is not unbecoming.”  Once plans for the city had been drawn up, technical experts from several European countries were brought in to assist with the planning and building of the town; and architects, artisans, supervisors and labourers were brought in from surrounding areas in Botswana, and from Southern Rhodesia.  In mid-1963, construction on the Gaborone Dam began, while work on the town itself commenced in early 1964. In eighteen months, the new capital emerged from the African bush. By the time it was completed – incidentally nearly on time – it boasted National Assembly buildings, Government office blocks, a power station, a hospital, schools, a radio station, an airfield, a telephone exchange, police stations, a post office, banks, shops, a church, a hotel, a brewery, a stadium grandstand, a dam, and more than one thousand houses.  Indeed the basic infrastructure was in place for Independence Day on 30th September 1966, when Bechuanaland became the eleventh British territory in Africa to become independent. Since then the city has grown into a modern, bustling government, commercial and industrial centre, now incorporating the neighbouring villages of Tlokweng and Mogoditshane, and with housing estates, industrial estates and financial centres radiating from its centre. Gaborone gained city status in 1986.  Twenty-first century Gaborone now boasts four, large American-style malls, replete with cinema complexes, a host of hotels, guest houses and restaurants, an international airport, a cultural centre, discos and nightclubs, a national museum and art gallery, as well as two golf courses and other sports facilities.  What makes Gaborone so unique, however, is that the visitor can enjoy all the familiar modern conveniences of home, but can gain entry into rural Africa, or wildlife areas, within minutes – having then the best of both possible worlds.

Country Botswana

Sports & nature

Gaborone’s warm, sunny weather makes it an ideal venue for sports enthusiasts; and the city boasts a number of modern sports facilities. These include tennis courts, squash courts, boating, yachting, cricket, rugby, football, horse riding, golf, netball, softball, volleyball and of course swimming. There are a number of well equipped fitness centres that offer weight training, aerobics, yoga and dance. One-off visitors are welcome.Sports and nature image

Culture and history info

Evidence shows that there have been inhabitants along the Notwane River for centuries. In more recent history, Kgosi Gaborone left the Magaliesberg to settle in the area around 1880, and called the settlement Moshaweng. The word Gaborone literally means it does not fit badly or it is not unbecoming. The city was then called Gaberones by the early European settlers. Gaberones, derived from Gaborone's Village, was named after Chief Gaborone of the BaTlokwa, whose home village, now called Tlokweng, was across the river from the Government Camp, the name of the colonial government headquarters. The nickname, GC, comes from the name Government Camp. In 1890, Cecil John Rhodes picked Gaberones to house a colonial fort. The fort was where Rhodes planned the Jameson Raid. The city changed its name from Gaberones to Gaborone in 1969. In 1965, the capital of the Bechuanaland Protectorate moved from Mafeking to Gaberones. When Botswana gained its independence, Lobatse was the first choice as the nation's capital. However, Lobatse was deemed too limited, and instead, a new capital city would be created next to Gaberones.The city was chosen because of its proximity to a fresh water source, its proximity to the railway to Pretoria, its central location among the central tribes, and its lack of association with those surrounding tribes. The city was planned under Garden city principles with numerous pedestrian walkways and open spaces. Building of Gaborone started in mid-1964. During the city's construction, the chairman of Gaberones Township Authority, Geoffrey Cornish, likened the layout of the city to a “brandy glass” with the government offices in the base of the glass and businesses in the “mall”, a strip of land extending from the base. Most of the city was built within three years. Buildings in early Gaborone include Assembly buildings, government offices, a power station, a hospital, schools, a radio station, a telephone exchange, police stations, a post office, and more than 1,000 houses. Because the city was built so quickly, there was a massive influx of labourers who had built illegal settlements on the new city's southern industrial development zone. These settlements were named Naledi. Naledi literally means the star, but could also mean under the open sky or a community that stands out from all others. In 1971, because of the growth of illegal settlements, the Gaborone Town Council and the Ministry of Local Government and Lands surveyed an area called Bontleng, which would contain low-income housing. However, Naledi still grew, and the demand for housing was greater than ever. In 1973, the Botswana Housing Corporation (BHC) built a "New Naledi" across the road from the "Old Naledi". Residents from Old Naledi would be moved to New Naledi. However, the demand for housing increased yet again; moreover, the residents who relocated to New Nadeli disliked the houses. The problem was solved in 1975 when Sir Seretse Khama, the president of Botswana, rezoned Naledi from an industrial zone to a low-income housing area. On 30 September 1966, Bechuanaland became the eleventh British dependency in Africa to become independent. The first mayor of Gaborone was Reverend Derek Jones. The old Gaberones became a suburb of the new Gaborone, and is now known as "the Village". In the mid-1980s, South Africa attacked Botswana and conducted raids on Gaborone and other border towns. The Raid on Gaborone resulted in twelve deaths. After the 1994 General Elections, riots started in Gaborone because of high unemployment and other issues.[22] Today, Gaborone is growing very rapidly. In 1964, Gaborone only had 3,855 citizens; seven years later, the city had almost eighteen thousand residents. The city originally planned on 20,000 citizens, but by 1992, the city had 138,000 people. This has led to many squatter settlements on undeveloped land. Former mayor Veronica Lesole has stated that Gaborone's development problems were caused by the original city planners.Culture and history image
Cresta Lodge

Cresta Lodge

, Gabarone
Cresta Lodge Gaborone is a fully licensed hotel with a 24 hour front desk. This majestic lodge surro More info
Cresta President Hotel

Cresta President Hotel

, Gabarone
Cresta President Hotel is a fully licensed hotel with a 24 hour front desk. In the heart of Gaborone More info

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