The peaceable and safe city of Gaborone is Botswana’s capital city and economic core. Headquartered here are the country’s key financial institutions, its major utilities and its stock exchange. Here too, are the country’s major universities and leading schools.
At the heart of this progressive sub-Saharan city, a pedestrianized central business district and several major shopping precincts give way to an ecological park with organic gardens, recycling centers, cafes and playgrounds. Beyond the city’s borders lie the Limpopo Game Reserve, the Gaborone Dam, the Mokolodi Nature Reserve and Kgale Hill.
This almost pristine natural environment, coupled with Gaborone’s low crime rate and inexpensive, yet relatively high standard of living, make the city an agreeable expat destination.
What is special or unique about your city?
Welcome to the very best part of Africa, a destination of myriad beauties, rich cultures, wonderful scenery and, most importantly, a very peaceful and stable country. Botswana is a country better known for peace, tranquility, diamonds and beef. It is a land of rich heritage, diverse cultures and the place where the wonderful waterways of the world-renowned Okavango Delta meet the Kalahari thirstland. You have to see it for yourself.
What are a newcomer's first impressions of your city?
Newcomers will find Botswana and its people to be warm and friendly. It is a fast-growing, busy and modern city, but one that might, at first, seem so spread out that you can't identify the city center. It's diverse and tranquil, and safe.
Are these impressions likely to change?
Some impressions will change. Time and adaptation to the culture and local customs will give a true perspective on the country.
What is the local language?
The two most widely spoken languages are Setswana, the national language of Botswana, and English.
How easily could I live in this city without knowing this language?
English is commonly used because it is the language of business and everyday life. Most people in Botswana are well educated and able to communicate in English.
What are good things to remember in order to avoid offending the other residents of this city?
It is important to know how to greet people in the local language. When talking to someone, it is important to look at him or her directly and use the correct greetings for hello, which in Botswana are:
Dumela Rra - when directed at men
Dumela Mma - when directed at women
How might the local weather affect my daily life?
Botswana's climate is semi-arid, which means that although it is hot and dry for much of the year, there is a rainy season (usually lasting through the summer months) when rainfall tends to be erratic, unpredictable and highly regional. Often a heavy downpour will occur in one area, while 10 or 15 kilometers away there is no rain at all. Showers are often followed by strong sunshine so that a good deal of the rainfall does not penetrate the ground and is instead lost to evaporation and transpiration. Until you become accustomed to it, the weather might cause dehydration. It is recommended that you drink plenty of water and fruit juices (at least three liters of liquid) daily.
Is there anything else I should know about the overall character of your city or its people?
Botswana is full of many friendly residents and it is common to say hello or to help each other. However, just like any other city, there are some neighborhoods that are unsafe. With that in mind, avoid unlit areas at night and seek safety in numbers and you will be just fine!