Top 5 Places to Visit in Gaborone, Botswana
What can be said about Gaborone to an outsider that might bring you excitement to go… I have been trying to think of the right tagline or statement that makes you say “YES, I need to go to Gaborone” but honestly if I had known what I know now about it prior to going I don’t think I would have given so much of my time to the “city”.
It’s dry, boring and uninspiring; and I hate to say that about anywhere in the world because everything has its own sense of beauty but honestly thats exactly what the residence say as well. Whenever we would ask someone what there is to do they would laugh and say nothing.. not the most encouraging answer when you’re looking to find some excitement.
BUT should you find yourself going to Gaborone and you’re looking for something to do; here are the few things that we found interesting enough to compile a list about.
Likely the best view in the city this hotel has a pretty 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. With a rooftop bar and restaurant it was one of the places we had to check out during our stay. The view of the sunset was spectacular and I’d easily say that the sunset it one of the best features of Botswana. We had two large and colourful drinks that were quite strong and lots of fun to receive and some food that was not listed as vegan but happily was! 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 but that was a nice change of pace; specially since the next place we went to was a lot more lively and loud. We didn’t stay in the hotel but online the rooms look really nice so this would easily be a great place to get both sleep and eat!
Where the young and the restless go to get lose!
We stopped by Main Deck several times as it 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 to see if someone was listening and they played fun music and the atmosphere was just more chilled out. I wouldn’t say their service was exceptionally great or memorable but don’t expect your order to come in five minutes or your waiter to check in and find out if there is anything else they can get you. 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 not a lot of variety in the shops. When I say mall I use the term lightly because I thought Main Mall was going to be the spot to get whatever I needed and on the second day in Gaborone my MacBook charger broke and I needed to purchase a new one. I took a very long walk to the mall only to find out it was a few street vendors all selling the same thing, a few electronic shops and food shops. It took about 5 electronic shops to find one that had what I needed and the next day I found out I should have gone to Riverwalk mall instead. I went there a few days later and wasn’t much more impressed but 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. We stayed in the area for a few days and frequented the mall for a number of necessities.
Bull & Bush is another popular hangout spot for drinks and vibes and on the weekends they have a farmers market!
This was the only farmers market that we got to in Gaborone, and to be fair it was the only one that we heard about or found online as well. It was cute, a bunch of different marmalades were being sold (locally produced) along with some
I actually don’t think I would have seen this place had I not been filming with a crew that brought me there
And that is a shame because it was really cool. The gallery is open to the public and has a few different components to it including a cafe called “No. One Ladies Coffee House” a gallery that was specially opened for us and the film crew when we arrived and some outdoor space that has a few vendors creating art on the spot. 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 think we passed any other art galleries, in the malls or on the streets; none of the merchants on the streets sold art and there was virtually no murals anywhere! The most we saw was some pretty interesting architecture in the developing CBD. The art in the Thapong Gallery is all done by locals which was refreshing to know that there are actually creatives in the country aside from the ones that we met while filming WOA! Botswana. 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 aren’t a heap of fun places to go 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 some of the beauty of the country because without a doubt it is stunning once you hit the reserves and national parks! We had a chance to go to the Tuli Block and it was quite the unforgettable experience. Make sure you check out our review on the Tuli Safari Lodge
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!