Gaborone, Botswana - Stein Travel
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Gaborone

Gaborone, the capital city of Botswana, may not be big on tourist attractions but it is a vibrant, if small, sprawling modern city that provides several international hotels (two with casinos) and all the souvenir shops, restaurants and services that visitors, drawn to the country for the abundant wildlife, will need. There are also a few sights to see and excursions to enjoy for those who only have a day or two in which to experience the country.

Pride and joy of Gaborone is its University and National Museum, which features some outstanding exhibits. One of the most striking of the modern tall buildings is Orapa House, where Botswana's diamonds are sorted and dispatched to markets around the world.

The old part of the city, known as the 'Village', is where one finds remnants of Botswana's colonial history, such as the remains of the old Government Rest House, where the infamous Jameson Raid was believed to have been planned and where Cecil John Rhodes sometimes stayed.

Information & Facts

Climate

The climate of Gaborone is semi-arid, meaning it is hot and dry for most of the year. There is little distinction between average summer and winter temperatures, although in winter months it can be chilly at night. Rain is erratic, but falls mostly in summer in heavy localised downpours that are followed quickly by a return of strong sunshine. Summers are extremely hot with high humidity in the mornings. The best time to visit Gaborone is during spring or autumn when the weather is warm and dry.

Getting Around

Public transport within Gaborone is somewhat limited. Licensed taxis are identified by their number plates, which have a blue background. These are usually shared and carry up to five passengers. Minibus taxis are also available and usually travel a specific route, usually circular, and pass through the station or mall. These are easily hailed and passengers usually tell the driver to stop when they want to get off. There are also train services between Gaborone and Francistown and Gaborone and Lobatse. Four-wheel drives are a popular choice for exploring outside of the city and Gaborone has several car rental agencies. Gaborone's roads are tarred and usually in good condition, but drivers have to be on the look out for stray animals.

Language

English is the official language but Setswana is widely spoken.

Money

The unit of currency is the Botswana Pula (BWP), which is divided into 100 Thebe. The word 'Pula' means rain and 'Thebe' means shield. The shield appears on the national coat of arms. Major credit cards are widely accepted, and travellers cheques and foreign currency are accepted at most large hotels and lodges. There are banks and exchange bureaux in all the main towns, as well as ATM machines. Surcharges are often high on travellers cheques, and it is best to carry cheques in US Dollars or Pounds Sterling.

Time

GMT +2.

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