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From top to bottom: skyline view of Gaborone, statue of Seretse Khama, the city centre of Gaborone, bird's-eye view of Gaborone
From top to bottom: skyline view of Gaborone, statue of Seretse Khama, the city centre of Gaborone, bird's-eye view of Gaborone
Nickname(s): Gabs, GC, Gabz, G-City
Satellite image of Gaborone
Satellite image of Gaborone
Gaborone is located in Botswana
Location of Gaborone in Botswana
Country  Botswana
District Gaborone
Sub-district Gaborone
Founded 1964[1]
Named for Kgosi Gaborone
 • Type City commission government
 • Body Gaborone City Council
 • Mayor Haskins Nkaigwa (BMD)[2]
 • Deputy Mayor Florence Shagwa (BCP)[2]
 • City 169 km2 (65 sq mi)
Elevation[4] 1,014 m (3,327 ft)
Population (2011)[5]
 • City 231,626
 • Density 1,400/km2 (3,500/sq mi)
 • Metro 421,907
Time zone Central Africa Time (UTC+2)
 • Summer (DST) not observed (UTC+2)
Geographical area code[6][7] 3XX
ISO 3166 code BW-SE
Twin cities
 • Burbank  United States
 • Zhejiang Province  China
 • Västerås  Sweden
Website Gaborone City Council Website

Gaborone (Tswana IPA: ; English ) is the capital and largest city of Botswana with a population of 231,626 based on the 2011 census,[5] about 10% of the total population of Botswana.[8] Its agglomeration is home to 421,907 inhabitants at the 2011 census.

Gaborone is situated between Kgale and Oodi Hills, on the Notwane River in the southeastern corner of Botswana, and 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) from the South African border.[9] The city is served by the Sir Seretse Khama International Airport. It is an administrative district in its own right, but is the capital of the surrounding South-East District.[10] Locals often refer to the city as Gabs.[11]

Many languages are spoken there. Setswana (Tswana) being the main language though. English, Kalanga and the native language of the Kgalagadi.

Because the city had no tribal affiliation and was close to fresh water, the city was planned to be the capital in the mid-1960s when the Bechuanaland Protectorate became an independent nation. The center of the city is a long strip of commercial businesses, called the Mall, with a semicircle-shaped area of government offices to the west of the Mall. The city is one of the fastest-growing cities in the world, and this has created problems with housing and illegal settlements. The city has also dealt with conflicts spilling into the country from Zimbabwe and South Africa during the 1980s.

The city is the government capital as well as the economic capital; the city is headquarters to numerous companies and the Botswana Stock Exchange. Gaborone is also home to the Southern African Development Community (SADC); a supranational organization, hoping to increase economic unity.


  • History 1
  • Geography 2
    • Climate 2.1
  • Demographics 3
    • Religion 3.1
  • Arts and culture 4
  • Economy 5
  • Sports 6
  • Parks and recreation 7
  • Government 8
    • Local government 8.1
    • National government 8.2
  • Education 9
    • Universities 9.1
  • Media 10
  • Infrastructure 11
    • Utilities 11.1
    • Health Care 11.2
      • AIDS 11.2.1
    • Transportation 11.3
  • Notable natives and residents 12
  • Sister cities 13
  • Gallery 14
  • References 15
  • External links 16


A postage stamp circa 1943, the postmark reading "Gaborone's Village"
Rev. Derek Jones, the first mayor of Gaborone

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.[12] The city was then called Gaberones by the early European settlers.[13] Gaberones, derived from Gaborone's Village, was named after Chief Gaborone of the BaTlokwa,[9] 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.[11] In 1890, Cecil John Rhodes picked Gaberones to house a colonial fort.[14] The fort was where Rhodes planned the Jameson Raid.[13] The city changed its name from Gaberones to Gaborone in 1969.[15]

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.[11] 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.[16]

The city was planned under Garden city principles with numerous pedestrian walkways and open spaces.[17] 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.[18]

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.[19] 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.[20]

On 30 September 1966, Bechuanaland became the eleventh British dependency in Africa to become independent. The first mayor of Gaborone was Reverend Derek Jones.[21] The old Gaberones became a suburb of the new Gaborone, and is now known as "the Village".[11]

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;[23] seven years later, the city had almost eighteen thousand residents.[24] 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.[25] Former mayor Veronica Lesole has stated that Gaborone's development problems were caused by the original city planners.[26]


Satellite View of Gaborone

Gaborone is situated at between Kgale and Oodi Hills, on the Notwane River in the southeastern corner of Botswana, and 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) from the South African border[9] The city lies at an elevation of 1,010 metres (3,310 ft) above sea level. Gaborone is surrounded by the following cities: Ramotswa to the southeast, Mogoditshane to the northwest, and Mochudi to the east, and Tlokweng across the river. Most of them are commuter towns for Gaborone. Suburbs in Gaborone include Broadhurst, Gaborone West, The Village, Naledi,[9] and New Canada. Phakalane, an affluent suburb, lies north of the city limits.[27]

In the center of the city lies the Mall, the financial and tourism center of Gaborone. The Mall houses numerous banks and shopping centres. At the eastern end of the Mall, one can find the Civic Centre along with the Pula Arch that commemorates Botswana's independence. The Botswana Stock Exchange, National Museum and Art Gallery, and the main campus of the University of Botswana also lie near the Mall. To the west of the Mall is the Government Enclave. This area contains the governmental buildings such as the National Assembly of Botswana and Ntlo ya Dikgosi buildings. The National Archives building is also found here.


Climate chart ()
Average max. and min. temperatures in °C
Precipitation totals in mm
Source: [28]

Gaborone has a hot semi-arid climate (Köppen climate classification BSh). Most of the year, Gaborone is very sunny. The summers are usually hot. The nights are cool. Usually, the summers with little rainfall are warmer than summers with regular rainfall. If there is a drought, the hottest temperatures of the year are usually in January or February. If there is normal rainfall, the hottest temperatures are usually in October, right before the rain starts. During the winter, days are still warm, and the nights are cold.[29]

There are on average seventy-four days per year with temperatures above 32 °C (90 °F). There are on average 196 days per year with temperatures above 26 °C (79 °F). There are on average fifty-one days per year with temperatures below 7 °C (45 °F). There is on average one day per year with temperatures below 0 °C (32 °F).[30] The average dew point peaks around January and February at 16 °C (61 °F) and hits the lowest levels in July at 2 °C (36 °F). The average dew point in a given year is 10 °C (50 °F).[30]

Precipitation in Gaborone is scanty and erratic. Most of the rainfall in Gaborone falls during the summer months, between October and April.[29] There are on average forty days of thunderstorms per year, most of them happening during the summer months, and four days of fog, usually happening during the winter months.[30] Gaborone has been affected by three floods based on records going back to 1995, one in 2000, one in 2001 that caused an estimated 5,000,000 Botswana pula worth of damage, and one in 2006.[28]

The highest humidity occurs in June at 90% while the lowest humidity is in September at 28%.[29]

Solar radiation levels range from 14.6 MJ/m2 in June to 26.2 MJ/m2 in December.[29]

It is windier from September to November at 14 kilometres per hour (8.7 mph), and it is calmer from May to August at 8 kilometres per hour (5.0 mph). The average wind speed in a given year is 12 kilometres per hour (7.5 mph).[30]

Climate data for Gaborone
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 39
Average high °C (°F) 31
Daily mean °C (°F) 27
Average low °C (°F) 22
Record low °C (°F) 14
Precipitation mm (inches) 97
Avg. precipitation days 7 5 4 3 1 0 0 1 1 4 6 8 40
Source: Weatherbase[30]


The population, based on the 2011 census, is 231,626. There are 113,603 males and 118,023 females in the city.[5] There are 58,476 households in Gaborone.[31] In 2001, the average household size was 3.11 people. The city of Gaborone is home to over 10% of the population of Botswana.[8][22] Almost half of Botswana citizens live within 100 kilometres (62 mi) of Gaborone.[32]

The population growth rate of Gaborone is 3.4%, the highest in the country. This is most likely because the city has a more developed infrastructure, making it more livable.[33] Gaborone is one of the fastest-growing cities in the world.[9] Much of the growth is based on net in migration from the rest of Botswana.[34]

The sex ratio of Gaborone is 96.3, meaning that there are 963 men for every 1,000 women.[5] Most of the marriages in Botswana are registered in Gaborone; about 15% of all marriages in Botswana were registered in Gaborone in 2007.[35] On average, there are 3.3 persons per househould in Gaborone. This is a low number compared to the rest of Botswana.[8]


The Roman Catholic Diocese of Gaborone, which is under the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Pretoria, is located in the city. The diocese contains the southern half of Botswana, and the bishop for the diocese is Bishop Valentine Tsamma Seane who was consecrated on 25 April 2009. The previous bishop was Boniface Tshosa Setlalekgosi. The mother church for the diocese is the Christ the King Cathedral.[36][37]

There is a Hindu temple in Gaborone, nicknamed Hindu Hall, as well as a gurudwara and several mosques.[38] Construction started in May 2001 on a Venkateswara temple in Gaborone West for a local community of Telugu people by the Botswana Hindu Charities Trust[39] and was complete in September 2007. The Indian High Commissioner, and the former President Festus Mogae visited the temple upon its completion.[40]

There are several mosques in Gaborone serving a very diverse Muslim population.

Arts and culture

The National Museum and Art Gallery is located just northwest of the Mall along Independence Road.[41] The museum opened in 1968. It holds many things from traditional crafts to works of art by local artists. The museum houses original paintings by Thomas Baines and Lucas Sithole. Exhibits include Artists in Botswana, Children's Art Competition and Thapong International. Outside the museum, there are various forms of transportation such as wagons, sledges, and bakkies (pickup trucks). There is also an exhibit on the San, the earliest inhabitants of southern Africa.[42] The museum opened a 3.6-hectare (9-acre)[43] botanical gardencalled the National Botanical Garden on 2 November 2007.[44] The garden was built to protect Botswana's indigenous plant life, and 90% of its total plant species are native plants from Botswana.[43]

The Maitisong Festival was started in 1987 and is held every year for seven days on either the last week of March or the first week of April. The festival holds outdoor concerts, plays, and movies in various venues around the city.[13]

“My African Dream” is a performing-arts competition that is held every year at the Gaborone International Convention Center. The show features many kwaito dancers and musicians.[22]

The book series, The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, is set in Gaborone. The series is written by Alexander McCall Smith. The books follow Precious Ramotswe, the first female private detective in Botswana, and the mysteries that she solves.


Debswana offices in the downtown area

Gaborone is the center of the national economy. The headquarters of important financial institutions such as the

  • Gaborone City Council Website
  • Gaborone Satellite view at WikiMapia (not affiliated with WorldHeritage/Wikimedia Foundation)
  • Gaborone Encyclopædia Britannica entry
  • Map of Gaborone

External links

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A road with a Bank Gaborone building to the left and a taller building with curved truss structures on the windows to the right
Street scene near the Main Mall 
Another aerial view of the city 
Bird's-eye view of residential neighborhoods. The houses at the bottom third of the picture have much larger yards and more trees. The neighborhood in the center of the picture has a very defined road shaped like a backwards 6, and the houses have orange and grey roofs and are very close to each other. The neighborhood at the top right has multicolor roofs. There is a road cutting through the middle of the picture.
Rhodesia Railways car at the national museum 
A brown train, viewed from the side, is at rest under a small open station. “1035 Rhodesia Railways” is written in gold letters over the train's windows. There is a white fence and a brick walkway in front of the train.
Aerial view of the city looking east—downtown is in the right-center of the image, with the reservoir just beyond 
A broad view of the city facing east, the picture taken from a plane. In the middle is a large residential neighborhood. The downtown area and the Gaborone Dam are in the far right towards the horizon. At the bottom of the picture to the left is a large undeveloped area, and to the right is another neighborhood.
Statue of Khama outside the Botswana Parliament building 
A bronze-colored, life-size statue of a prominent black man in a suit, his hands in front of his stomach. The statue is on top of a pedestal which is on top of a large brown rock, surrounded by smaller rocks. The statue has trees behind it, and it is in a small brick-paved square.
Overlooking Mokolodi Nature Reserve, just outside of Gaborone, Botswana 
A broad expanse of dry savanna with hills in the background. The foreground contains large rocks on the ground with two trees flanking the sides of the picture.
University of Botswana Administration Building 
Dormitories for the University of Botswana 
Courtyard and University of Botswana buildings 
University of Botswana intramural football game 


Gaborone has been twinned with three cities and one province:

Sister cities

Notable natives and residents

Public transport in the city is generally reliable, when compared with major African cities. Kombis (small vans) and taxis ply the routes within the city while buses serve surrounding villages and other towns in Botswana.[9]


Including the district of Gaborone West, Gaborone had 9,415 vehicle accidents with 74 human fatalities in 2008. Most of the traffic collisions in that year, 3,146 collisions, were side collisions. 263 accidents involved animals. The city has also seen 679 pedestrian casualties in 2008; 24 pedestrians were killed. The biggest majority of vehicle accident casualties involved pedestrians, and most traffic accidents occur between 16:00 and 18:00.[83]

Gaborone has several vehicle licensing stations. 15,538 new private motor vehicles, accounting for 46.5% of Botswana's total new vehicle registrations, were registered in Gaborone in 2008, of which 8,440 were passenger cars, 440 were minibuses, 204 were motorcycles, and 181 were tractors. The total has increased from 12,690 new vehicle registrations in 2007. Gaborone also has the highest number of vehicle registration renewals at 73,206 in 2008.[83]

Highways in and around Gaborone include the Trans-Kalahari Highway, A1 Highway, and the Cairo-Cape Town Highway. There are five major roads in Gaborone that go to Lobatse, Kanye, Molepolole, Francistown via Mochudi, and Tlokweng.[85]

Road map of Gaborone

Gaborone gained media attention in October 1999 because of the death of Chris Phatswe. Phatswe was a pilot for Air Botswana who committed suicide by crashing his plane into the runway at Sir Seretse Khama International Airport. Before his death, Phatswe was grounded because he was unable to pass the physical. Also, it was later found that he had AIDS. Although he never stated it, these obstacles may have caused him to choose to kill himself. He crashed his plane into two other planes on the tarmac. This almost crushed Air Botswana as they had only one plane left after the incident.[84] has photos of the aftermath.

In 2008, Sir Seretse Khama International Airport handled 15,844 aircraft movements, second only to ICAO code: FMBN[82] IATA code: MUB[82]) Air traffic in Gaborone has decreased since 2006. However, Gaborone has the most air passenger traffic, accounting for 51.6% of all passenger movement in Botswana. International passengers total 244,073 passengers while domestic air passenger movement comes up to 333,390 passengers.[83] Gaborone International Airport terminal was rebuilt into a modern terminal in 2010.

ICAO code: FBSK[79] IATA code: GBE[79]) lies 25 kilometres (16 mi)[22] north of the city[41] and has flights to Johannesburg, Harare, Francistown, and Maun with connections to Kasane and Livingstone.[80] It is the headquarters of Air Botswana, the national airline of Botswana. Starting August 2010, Air Botswana has direct flights to Lusaka International Airport in Lusaka, Zambia and flights to Lusaka via Kasane. The airline plans to create a route from Gaborone to Luanda, Angola in the future.[81]

The railway that served the founding purpose of the city remains important, bisecting the city in a north-south direction.[9] Botswana Railways runs a line that goes from Cape Town to Harare via Bulawayo. The railway station in Gaborone is located south of the Parliament House in the city's center.[41] The line stops at the following cities in and near Botswana: Ramatlabama on the South African border, Lobatse, Gaborone, Palapye, Serule, Francistown, Ramokgwebana, and Plumtree, Zimbabwe.[77] The line became a cargo-only line starting 1 April 2009.[78]


HIV/AIDS education is somewhat limited in Gaborone. 14.5% of Gaborone residents between 10–64 who have heard of HIV/AIDS believe that HIV can be spread through witchcraft, and 31.3% of the residents believe HIV can be spread through mosquito bites.[46]

AIDS is a very serious problem in Gaborone. 17,773 Gaborone citizens, 17.1% of the total population of Gaborone, have tested positive for HIV. There is a higher prevalence of HIV among women; 20.5% of women have tested positive compared to 13.6% of men. The population between 45–49 years of age are most likely to have AIDS with 35.4% of the residents in that age group testing positive.[46]


The Cancer Association of Botswana is a voluntary non-governmental organization established as a trust in 1998. The Association is a leading service provider in supplementing existing services through provision of cancer prevention and health promotion programmes, facilitating access to health services for cancer patients and offering support and counseling to those affected. Its headquarters is at Diktlhakore Way, Extension 12, Gaborone.

The Botswana Red Cross Society, established in 1968, is headquartered in Gaborone. The Princess Marina Hospital is the main referral hospital in Gaborone and currently houses 500 beds.[76]

The Princess Marina Hospital

Health Care

The average pH of the water in the Gaborone Dam is 7.95 as of February 2006. The concentration of calcium in the reservoir was 14.87milligrams per litre from April 2001 to August 2006. During the same period, the concentration of calcium carbonate (CaCO3) was 57.73 milligrams per litre, slightly over Botswana's ideal concentration which means the water is hard. Also during the same period, the chloride concentration was 6.44 mg/l, the fluoride concentration was 0.54 mg/l, the potassium concentration was 6.72 mg/l, and the sodium concentration was 10.76 mg/l.[51]

Gaborone has some of the highest water tariffs in the country because of high transportation costs and high water consumption. The high tariffs may also be due to the fact that some of Gaborone's water supply is imported from the Letsibogo Dam.[51]

From 2007 to 2008, 23,963,000 cubic metres (31,342,000 cu yd) of water was sold in Gaborone. The government sector bought the most water, 11,359,000 cubic metres (14,857,000 cu yd). 8,564,000 cubic metres (11,200,000 cu yd) of water was bought for domestic use, and 4,040,000 cubic metres (5,280,000 cu yd) of water was bought by the commercial and industrial sectors. In 2008, the city of Gaborone consumed 25,657,363 kilolitres (33,558,564 cu yd) of water, and the water consumption per capita was 0.184 cubic metres (0.241 cu yd) per person per year, the lowest rate since 1999.[51]

The city gets most of its water from the reservoir formed from the Gaborone Dam on the southeast side of the city, which has facilitated growth.[11] The city of Gaborone was originally constructed as a small town, so the Gaborone Dam needed to be built to provide water for all its citizens.[27]


Gaborone's CBD is home to the new Square Mall, The Tower, the new SADC headquarters, the Industrial Court,[70] a court specifically for settling trade disputes,[71] and the Three Dikgosi Monument, a landmark featuring the statues of Khama III, Sebele I, and Bathoen I,[72] three dikgosi, or chiefs, who traveled to Great Britain to establish the Bechuanaland Protectorate separate from Southern Rhodesia (present-day Zimbabwe) or the Cape Colony (present-day South Africa). The monument was inaugurated on 29 September 2005.[73] While the statues represent famous historical figures, there has been some controversy over the cost of the construction, P12,000,000 (approx. US$1.7M, €1.4M, or £1.1M as of June 2010), and over the construction company, North Korean Mansudae Overseas Projects, putting the wrong inscription date.[74] Other buildings under construction in the CBD include the Holiday Inn Gaborone, retail space, and office space.[75]

The city centre was planned to be functionalist,[17] with major buildings designed and built in the style of Modern architecture. The city is surrounded by smaller buildings.[68] The city's central business district (CBD) is still under construction so when one says downtown, they actually mean the Main Mall and Government Enclave areas where tall buildings are usually found.[68][69] The Main Mall, a car-free shopping and commercial area, runs in an east-west direction with the Government Enclave and National Assembly on the west end and the Gaborone City Town Council complex on the east.[12]

Gaborone is one of the fastest growing cities in Africa. The growth of Gaborone, especially suburban growth, has caused much of the farmland surrounding the city to be absorbed into the city. Much of the food for Gaborone comes from north of the city with some smaller-scale farms on the southern end.[67]


93.7% of the households in Gaborone have a cell phone.[46]

Before 2000, residents of Gaborone received television programming from BOP TV in Mahikeng via a repeating transmitter on the summit of Kgale Hill.[66] Today, the Gaborone Broadcasting Company and Botswana TV provide television programming for Gaborone. 78.7% of the households in Gaborone have a working television.[46]

Radio station Yarona FM broadcasts from Gaborone; its frequency in Gaborone is 106.6 FM. Another small, local radio station in Gaborone is Gabz FM.[66] 86.6% of Gaborone households own a working radio.[46]

A number of newspapers published in Gaborone. They include Mmegi, The Botswana Gazette, and The Voice.


The main campus of the University of Botswana, established in 1982,[9] is on the eastern side of the city.[41] Other universities include the Limkokwing University Of Creative Technology, which also has a campus in Gaborone. The Botswana Accountancy College, which caters for both accounting and IT students, Gaborone Technical College, Boitekanelo College, and Botswana College of Agriculture (located about 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) from the city centre) are also located at Gaborone. The Gaborone Universal College of Law, opened in 2006, has its main campus in Gaborone.[64] The university held its first graduation in 2010 for its first graduating class.[65]


Gaborone has many primary and secondary schools, both public and private. These include Westwood International School, Maru-a-Pula School, Legae Academy, Northside Primary School and Thornhill Primary School. Seventeen of the sixty private schools in Botswana are located in Gaborone.[63]

There are more people who have earned a degree or postgraduate qualifications in Gaborone than anywhere else in Botswana. 70.9% of the population of Gaborone have earned at least a secondary-level education[8] 2.6% of the population of Gaborone has never attended school.[46]

University of Botswana Faculty of Business
Environmental Science Building at the University of Botswana


There are 21 diplomatic missions in Gaborone.

An International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA) was established on 24 July 2000 in Gaborone. The academy would provide training for middle managers for the countries in the Southern African Development Community (SADC).[62]

Before 1982, Gaborone held one parliamentary constituency, one seat in the Parliament of Botswana. From 1982 to 1993, Botswana was divided into two constituencies, Gaborone North and Gaborone South. A third seat in Parliament was given to a member elected for the whole city of Gaborone. In January 1993, two new constituencies were created: Gaborone West and Gaborone Central. For local government elections, the four constituencies were divided into wards. Gaborone North had seven, Gaborone West had seven. Gaborone Central had six, and Gaborone South had five.[34] In 2002, the city had five constituencies: Gaborone North, Gaborone Central, Gaborone South, Gaborone West North, and Gabororone West South.[61]

Gaborone is the political center of Botswana. Most government buildings are located west of the Main Mall in an area called the Government Enclave.[41] The National Assembly of Botswana, the Ntlo ya Dikgosi, the National Archives,[17] the Department of Taxes and Attorney General's Chambers Building, and the Ministry of Health. Near the entrance of the parliament building, there is a statue of Sir Seretse Khama, Botswana's first president as well as a memorial dedicated to the three hundred Batswana who were killed from 1939 to 1945.[60] Another monument pays tribute to the Botswana Defence Force soldiers who died in the Rhodesian Bush War.[12]

National government

The city council has been criticised by the Botswana Association of Local Authorities for its closed elections and minimal authority.[23] In 2010, the council had problems with waste management: Frenic, the waste management company hired by the city, sued the Gaborone City Council for unpaid compensation.[57] This has led to a buildup of uncollected garbage.[58] Haskins Nkaigwa, mayor of Gaborone from 2011, has stressed the importance of more local autonomy. He advocates for a stronger city council with the power to determine budgets and hire and fire clerks and officers.[59]

An income tax called the Local Government Tax used to be the main source of income of the city council, but it was abolished. Today, the city council derives most of its revenue from property rates. City councillors feel that because of recurrent obligations, they have little room to institute new solutions.[56]

The city commission-style council is run by the city clerk and the deputy city clerk. The city is governed by the mayor, deputy mayor, and several committees run by councillors: the financial and general purposes committee; the public health, social welfare and housing committee; the Self-Help Housing Agency (SHAA) management committee; the town planning committee; the trade licensing committee; and the education committee.[34] The councillors elect the mayor in a first-past-the-post system and place each other in the committees yearly.[23] The council has 2,515 employees.[34]

Gaborone is controlled by the Gaborone City Council, the wealthiest council in Botswana.[55] It is composed of 35 councillors representing the wards of Gaborone. The Townships Act mandates the structure of local governments in Botswana. Because Botswana is a unitary state, the power of the local councils are delegated from the national level. The Ministry of Local Government, Land and Housing has a major influence in terms of personnel hiring and training, budgeting, and development planning.[56]

Local government



Somarelang Tikologo Community Playground

The Mokolodi Nature Reserve is a 30-square-kilometre (12 sq mi) reserve that was created in 1994.[53] It is located 12 kilometres (7.5 mi) south of Gaborone.[13] There are many different species of animals found in the park such as common warthogs, steenbok, kudu, zebras, giraffes, common eland, ostriches, hippos and rhinos. The park helps with wildlife projects in Botswana that include: the reintroduction of the white rhino and the relocation of “problem” cheetahs. Mokolodi also holds the Education Centre, which teaches children about the conservation projects.[53]

Kgale Hill is located a few hundred metres from the city. The hill is nicknamed the Sleeping Giant and is 1,287 metres (4,222 ft). There are three different paths to reach the top, usually taking two hours.[13]

The Gaborone Game Reserve is a 600-hectare (1,500-acre) park east of the city on Limpopo Drive.[41] The reserve was built in 1988 and is now the third-busiest in Botswana. Examples of animals in the park are impala, kudu, ostriches, wildebeest, zebras, gemsbok, bushbuck, springbok, duiker, common eland, and common warthogs.[13] The park is famous for its birdwatching.[42] Birds in the marshy section of the park include snake eagles, boubou, gallinule, kingfishers, and hornbills.[13]

The Gaborone Dam is located south of Gaborone along the Gaborone-Lobatse road, and provides water for both Gaborone and Lobatse. The dam is the biggest in Botswana, able to hold 141,400,000 cubic metres (184,900,000 cu yd).[51] It is also starting to be marketed as a recreational area. The northern end of the reservoir is planned to become an entertainment venue called The Waterfront. There is a yacht club, called Gaborone Yacht Club, also on the northern side of the lake. The southern end houses the Kalahari Fishing Club and a new public facility called City Scapes. City Scapes contains parks, playgrounds, and boating facilities.[52] The dam is popular with birdwatchers, windsurfers, and anglers.[13] However, there is no swimming due to crocodiles and parasitic bilharzias.[45]

Satellite image of the city; the large lake is Gaborone Dam

Parks and recreation

The Steinmetz Gaborone Marathon, the second marathon in Botswana, was held 18 April 2010. The route started at the Phakalane Golf Estate in Phakalane, north of the city, and went through Gaborone, passing the National Assembly Building. The marathon is expected to be held annually and through one of its sponsors, Botswana Tourism, hopes to be a tourism attraction for the global masses.[50]

The Botswana Cricket Association, the governing body of cricket in Botswana, is headquartered in Gaborone.

There are several football stadiums located in and around Gaborone. These include SSKB Stadium, Mochudi Stadium, and Botswana National Stadium. There are also several football teams representing Gaborone, which include, amongst others, Botswana Defence Force XI, Gaborone United, Notwane FC, Police XI, Township Rollers and Uniao Flamengo Santos FC, which is based in nearby Gabane; all of them play in the Botswana Premier League. The Botswana national football team play in the National Stadium, but have never qualified for the FIFA World Cup, even though they recently qualified for the Africa Cup of Nations, to be held in Gabon in January 2012.

Stadiums in Gaborone[48][49]
Venue Sport Capacity Club(s)
Botswana National Stadium Football, Athletics, Rugby, Tennis 50,000 Gaborone United, Notwane F.C.,
Police XI, Township Rollers F.C.
Mochudi Stadium Football 10,000 Mochudi Centre Chiefs
SSKB Stadium Football 5,000 Botswana Defence Force XI
University of Botswana Stadium Football 5,000 Uniao Flamengo Santos F.C.
Botswana National Stadium in August 2010


According to Mercer's 2011 Worldwide Cost of Living Survey, Gaborone has the 195th highest cost of living for expatriates in the world, up from 203rd in 2010. Gaborone comes between Chennai, India and Quito, Ecuador. Gaborone is the fourth least expensive city for expatriates in Africa, coming in above Addis Ababa, Ethiopia at 211th, Kampala, Uganda at 202nd and Windhoek, Namibia at 198th.[47]

The unemployment rate in Gaborone is 11.7% as of 2008.[46] 19.7% of the population in Gaborone is employed in the financial sector.[46]

Several international companies have invested in the city: Hyundai, IBM, Daewoo, Volvo, Owens-Corning, and Siemens.[34] Orapa House, owned by Debswana, is where the diamonds mined from Debswana are sorted and valued. Orapa House, located at the intersection of Khama Crescent and Nelson Mandela Drive,[41] has a unique style of architecture that allows the perfect amount of indirect sunlight to shine through the windows in order to accurately sort diamonds.[45] The Botswana Resource Conference is held annually at the Gaborone International Conference Centre.


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