What can I say that might make you excited to visit Gaborone… I have been trying to think of the right tagline or statement that makes you say “YES, I need to go to Gaborone”. However, I did not like the city and if I could do it again, I would have spent a lot less time there.
It’s dry, boring and uninspiring; I hate saying this about anywhere in the world but it seemed to be the general consensus from locals as well. Whenever I’d ask someone what there is to do they would laugh and say nothing…
Nevertheless, should you find yourself in Gaborone and you’re looking for something to do; here are the few things that I found interesting enough.
Best view in the city this hotel has a nice restaurant at the top with a tasty menu
If you’re looking for the views you’ve got to head to Room50two which is situated 28 storeys high in the CBD. Its hard to miss as it is one of the few tall buildings in the city. The view of the sunset was spectacular and I’d say that sunsets are one of the best features of Botswana. The atmosphere felt upperclass and somber. With no music or loud tables it felt a bit like I had to be on my best behaviour.
Where the young and the restless go to get lose!
Main Deck seemed to be one of the only places in the CBD that was fun, loud and less conservative. We were able to laugh and joke out loud without looking over our shoulders, they played fun music and the atmosphere was just more chilled out. I wouldn’t say their service was exceptionally great or memorable so don’t expect your order to come in five minutes or your waiter to check in. At night the spot is pretty exciting with a lot of people coming and going. Cheap drinks but nobody dancing! I actually don’t think I danced once in Gaborone except for in the house a time or two.. shame.
If you’re looking for a spot to get some goods you’ll want to stop by here
There are about 7 or 10 “malls” in Gaborone and I use the term lightly because they really aren’t malls at all. On the second day in Gaborone my MacBook charger broke and I needed to purchase a new one so I took a very long walk to Main Mall only to find out it was a few street vendors all selling the same thing. It took about 5 electronic shops to find one that had what I needed. Airport Junction certainly has quite a few stores, hotels and restaurants. It also appears to be expanding and is right near the airport so also conveniently located.
Bull & Bush is a popular hangout spot for drinks and vibes and on the weekends there’s a farmers market!
This was the only farmers market that I got to in Gaborone. It was cute, a bunch of different marmalades were being sold (locally produced). There was live music and people having genuine conversation. I remember having a coffee and browsing some vintage clothing.
I don’t think I would have seen this place had I not been filming with a crew that brought me
The gallery is open to the public and has a few different components to it including a cafe called “No. One Ladies Coffee House”. It was a really lovely place with a super chill and cool vibe.. probably one of the only spots in Gaborone that actually promotes art! I don’t remember passing any other art galleries, in the malls or on the streets; and there was virtually no murals anywhere! The most I saw was some pretty interesting architecture in the developing CBD. Everything at Thapong is all done by locals which was refreshing to know that there are actually creatives in the country. I would highly suggest stopping by there and you might as well grab a coffee while you’re at it because there isn’t many coffee shops to stop at.
Now this may come off as harsh, but don’t visit Gaborone expecting to have a culture overload or life altering experience. The city is more like a developing town and it’s happening slowly. There isn’t a heap of fun places and there isn’t a strong emphasis on art or culture. If you are going to Botswana perhaps make this a pitstop before heading to see wildlife and nature! The Tuli Block is quite spectacular and I highly recommend it.
Tips for Gabs
Find a taxi driver you can rely on if you aren’t staying in the CBD. They are hard to spot otherwise and unless you’re in the CBD it is going to be pretty difficult to hail one to get somewhere.
Use facebook as a search engine rather than google. It seems like thats where most of the word of mouth is spreading and you won’t want to miss out on something fun!Here is a complete travel guide to visiting Botswana