Happy March! We are now at the time in the year where the rest of 2019 will fly by. Why does it seem like January is generally the slowest, February speeds up time a bit and then March hits & the remainder of the year is a blur!? Anyways, I hope March is filled with love, blessings and opportunities for us all.
Lebo and I decided we would venture to Gaborone, Botswana this past weekend since neither of us had been there before. We have friends that live in Gaborone and thought it would also be a great opportunity to visit them. On Wednesday, we headed to Woolworth’s to stock up on snacks and embarked on our road trip to the capital city of Botswana: Gaborone.
Leaving from Johannesburg; the drive is only about 4,5 hours. Once we crossed the border into Botswana; it was an immediate culture shock. Cows were roaming about the streets and walking amongst the locals and everyone was un-phased by this. It is definitely a sight you wouldn’t see in a big city like Johannesburg.
Once we arrived at our friends’ house, we ate dinner and rested for the remainder of the night so we could explore the next day.
Feeling the extreme heat of the city the next morning was super uncomfortable. The temperature went up to 38 C — luckily for us, it is a dry heat which means that your body cools better and can tolerate higher temperatures than if it were humid heat.
Despite the heat (and our complaining about it); we made the best of our weekend together in Gaborone.
For anyone interested in visiting this city; here is how we spent our weekend:
Thapong Visual Arts Centre
When visiting any city, country and/or continent, my priority is to learn about and explore their local culture and art scene. We visited Thapong Visual Arts Centre, whose aim is to promote unity and excellence within the visual arts community in Botswana. The arts centre maintains studios and hosts workshops as well as enabling artists’ personal growth and development through networking.
Residences have been offered for international artists to work in Botswana for a couple of months and then they get to exhibit their work at the end of their residency alongside local artists.
I enjoyed the art, which consisted of modern, contemporary and abstract pieces. It’s great to see a centre like Thapong promoting the budding arts industry in Gaborone.
Thapong Visual Arts Centre is located on the corner of Baratam & Maratadiba Rd. in Gaborone.
No. 1 Ladies Coffee House
After viewing art, just walk across from Thapong Visual Arts Centre and you will be greeted by waiters standing outside of No. 1 Ladies Coffee House. There are both indoor and outdoor seating but since it was so hot outside, we opted for indoor seating and both the a/c and quick WiFi.
We ordered cappuccino’s and they were great — thick foam and cool coffee art with a bold coffee taste. The menu has a mix of breakfast choices (that end at 12pm), wraps, salads, and traditional foods (which are generally heavier), like pap and chakalaka. The service was really great and I highly recommend this place for food, coffee, wifi and a step away from the heat.
Gaborone Game Reserve
Although small, the Gaborone Game Reserve is worth visiting for a look into the wildlife in Botswana. It is the most visited tourist destination in Botswana and a nice break from the streets of Gaborone. The reserve was established to give the public a view of Botswana’s wildlife in a natural and accessible location.
The reserve is only 5 sq. km. but it is filled with ostriches, warthogs, zebras, wildebeests, kudus and more. What I enjoyed most about the reserve is that you can do a self-guided tour through it in the comfort of your own car.
Mokolodi Nature Reserve
Unfortunately, we didn’t come here to visit the reserve. Instead, we came to enjoy dinner at reserve — which was quite great. I enjoyed the ambience which was quiet and candlelit. It was an experience to look out and see animals like kudus and warthogs also enjoy their dinners simultaneously.
I would love to go back to the reserve and experience the activities it has to offer such as: rhino + giraffe tracking, cycling, night drives, champagne brunches and reptile park visits.
The Daily Grind Cafe + Kitchen
As you know, I am a sucker for a good coffee shop. The Daily Grind Cafe + Kitchen is perfect for a lazy weekend brunch in Gaborone. Fairly new to the city, this 2-year-old coffee shop is located in a busy part of the city (across from BOCRA - Botswana Communications Regulatory Authority).
They offer 12 variations of coffee and food options where you can choose from healthy and/or decadent dishes. Cakes are also offered which would make for a nice treat paired with coffee or tea.
I learned that the coffee industry in Botswana is fairly new. The Daily Grind Cafe + Kitchen is definitely a pioneer in the coffee shop world here.
If you find yourself in Gaborone during the week (like me), this is a great place to work from — with free WiFi, outlets for charging your laptop and an ambience perfect for working.
Overall, Gaborone is a nice and quiet city to visit when you are looking to escape the hustle of living in a big city. There is a developing art and coffee industry and I think that is something for locals to be proud of.
I am going to be staying in Gaborone for a bit longer than a weekend, so I will definitely be writing about my other discoveries as time progresses.
Thank you for reading,