"Gaborone: a capital city w/ a strange design" Top 5 Page for this destination Gaborone by Kid-A

Gaborone Travel Guide: 52 reviews and 122 photos

Learning to pronounce 'Gaborone'

The 'G' is more like an 'H' sound, but with a bit of a throaty thing added in, and the 'e' at the end is pronounced as a long e sound. So phonetically, it is spelled something more like Hahboronee.

According to Wikipedia, for many years, Gaborone was the fastest growing city in the world. Even today, it is still considered the fastest growing city in Africa.

But I found it to be designed in a very strange manner. It is very spread out. A resident told me it was designed by 2 Swedish guys on drugs! I don't know if it's true, but I could understand it if it is. :) I drove around that city for a week and never fully understood how or why things were placed the way they were!

Gaborone is located in the south of Botswana (only a short 15 kilometers from the border of South Africa).

The center of the city

When you say 'downtown' or the 'city center' in Gaborone, you would be referring to the government enclave. It's easy to find. They are the newer, more modern-looking buildings in the city. This is the center, so they tell me. There is a small walking area and a few monuments (you'll see a few in my Things To Do tips).

The modernist city center is surrounded by lower-rise development (organized as 'blocks,') and that has not been subject to the same planning as the enclave. But the city is surrounded by villages: Ramotswa to the south east, Mogoditshane to the north west, and Mochudi to the east and Tlokweng. A lot of people live in these villages and work in Gaborone.

A railway line divides the city into two.

Just FYI: Botswana's Independence Day is September 30, 1966.

Batswana live in Botswana

Just like citizens of New York are New Yorkers, citizens of Botswana are Batswana. So now you know. I was reading a newspaper on my first morning in Botswana and couldn't understand why some people spelled it with an 'o' and some with an 'a'. I just couldn't accept that it was being misspelled in a nation-wide newspaper! :)

AIDS and southern Africa

Botswana, like many nations in southern Africa, suffers from a high AIDS infection rate, which was 38.8% for adults in 2002. In 2003, the government began a comprehensive program involving free or cheap generic anti-retroviral drugs as well as an information campaign designed to stop the spread of the virus.

From what I have seen and heard during my time in Botswana, I'd have to say it's going to be a slow-going process to change the culture and stop the spread of HIV. One word comes to mind when I think of Batswana: promiscuous. It is common for men to have many girlfriends as well as a wife and children. And it is accepted for a wife to have a boyfriend on the side. And this is one of the biggest factors in the continued spread of HIV in the country. Someone told me, "The culture is literally killing itself."

I saw it myself. I went out one night with a few guys from the course I was teaching. We stopped by one guy's house and I met his wife, son and brother-in-law. We then went out to the Bee 6 Bar (Bee means 'block' and the city is divided into blocks). He didn't return with us. He went off with a girl he met at the bar.

//more to come//

  • Last visit to Gaborone: Feb 2008
  • Intro Updated Feb 25, 2008
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Reviews (12)

Comments (6)

  • MikeBird's Profile Photo
    May 7, 2010 at 12:55 PM

    Good to learn that the Museum in Mochudi is still going strong. Enjoyed reading your pages about Botswana. Thanks, Mike

  • Manara's Profile Photo
    Aug 15, 2009 at 10:27 AM

    I would like to see the city of Mma Ramotswe.

  • DAO's Profile Photo
    May 12, 2008 at 1:31 AM

    Congratualtions. Another Top 5 page for you!

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    Apr 24, 2008 at 4:54 AM

    I never knew Gaborone was ever the fastest growing city in the world. Were you teaching tennis there? Interesting description of the Phuthadikobo Museum.

  • Kid-A's Profile Photo
    Mar 18, 2008 at 1:27 AM

    Yes, I did not take Malaria pills when I was in Gaborone. I had some mosquito bites and am fine. But yeah, if you go to Chobe Park, for example, they recommend taking the pills.

  • Mar 15, 2008 at 5:42 PM

    According to US State Dept you do not need malaria pills in Gabarone just some upcountry spots. Just because there are mosquitos doesn't mean there is malaria. We have plenty of mosquitos in New Jersey but malaria is not endemic there, yet.

Kid-A

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