It is now October and as such we are nearing Botswana’s amazingly hot summers, and so in our effort to find somewhere to hang out that is in the shade I have decided to write a blog on places to go in Gaborone both during the day and night.
Quick Tip: Make sure you have sunblock here or buy an umbrella, a lot of locals use them to protect you from some of the heat and if you are a lover of swimming bring a swim cap as it is required to swim in the pool here (which is amazing).
Just like back home you will eventually get tired of the cafeteria food. Which though good and fairly cheap (15P) can get a little monotonous since it mainly consists of rice/pap/pasta, chicken/beef, and a vegetable (squash, cabbage, salad) though how they are cooked does sometimes change.
There are 3 main malls here in Gaborone (which I may have mentioned previously) of the three they all have different types of food that you are welcome to try depending on your price range
Main mall: mainly has plenty of street vendors with hotdogs and 3 fairly decent sized restaurants which are the hungry lion, chicken licken, and Nandos, all of which sell a western style of food so if your missing the states a bit, there are close, there is also a KFC in main mall if you really want something from back home.
Riverwalk: Has tons of restaurants it has Indian food (Indian embassy), brazilian, italian (Primi Piatti), and some general resturants where you can get food like burgers, stake, chicken (Apache Spur, and Linga Longa). For places to just relax it also has a amazing coffee shop (Equatorial) which offers wi-fi and fairly cheap coffee. There is also an ice cream shop and a ethiopian resturant (which is one that I enjoy other than primi). This mall also has Nandos and 2 pizza places
Of these all I would suggest going to Primi sometime the food is awesome, it has free wi-fi, a nice interior and good drinks.
If you want more of a social atmosphere though I would also recommend Linga Longa which is like a bar/restaurant and is cheaper than primi.
Game City: Is one of the larger malls and so contains a bit more, it also has Nandos, as well as 2 coffee shops and a chinese restaurant.
If on the hot days you want to go out and enjoy the weather there are numerous things to do outside, by combi or taxi there is a nice garden nearby which also has a small coffee shop, there are parks and Gaborone Game reserve isn’t too far from campus (less than a 5 minute combee ride). Kgale hill is always a nice place to visit as well.
If you are one to go clubbing or just want to get out and see other locals in a more relaxed setting there are 3 main clubs around Gaborone they are Bull and Bush, Zoom, and Lizard Lounge, there is also a more local one called Chihuahua (though I wouldn’t recommend it). As always in cities and especially foreign countries it is important to travel in groups if you decide to go out, Gabs is fairly safe in many standards but there are crazy people everywhere.
Bull and Bush- is one of the ones that costs to go in, it has good food during the early evening and a decent sized dance floor with a pool table in another room (if you are a girl, just know it is hard to play pool in this country the guys hog the tables). Generally it is 40P to get in and you can get there by cab, though it is one of the pricier clubs it is also one of the safer clubs
Lizard Lounge- is a much smaller club and if you are female you will almost always get in free it is two floored so if you just want to hang out you can go upstairs there is a decent sized dance floor as well with mirrors all around it, none of us have ever had in major problems at this club
Zoom- is one of the more local ones and is not recommended on the weekends (same with chihuahua) as it can get dangerous with the pick pockets, two girls have had their phones stolen here, so if you here about this club from the locals keep in mind that you need to be very careful and travel with a large group. Other than that it is a large club with two floors .
Chihuahua- I have not been to this club (or zoom) but of the other internationals here who have they have gone once and say never again, it is in a not so great part of town so stick to the other three if that is what you enjoy doing ^^
Tip: If you do go clubbing or drinking be careful and make sure to be friends like anywhere in the world there are guys who are jerks and there are thieves so stick together and if you bring a nice phone leave it in your dorms when you go out.
Throughout the year (or semester in my case) there are different activities on campus.
If you are religiously inclined they do a lot of big events through the church and every Wednesday they do discussions, religion is very important to many Batswana and so you will find many groups, clubs and activities all the time.
During the fall semester there is the Freshers Ball which is a large party held on campus generally there are 3 security teams available during this time, but in my experience I would suggest staying in during this particular event. It is large and as such many of the people off campus generally come in and security is not always tight near the dorms which in the long run is where you are going. If you do decide to go, be in a large group don’t carry money if you don’t have to and do not have your phone on you.
During the spring semester there are inter varsity games which is you enjoy sports you can attend.
There are so many groups and clubs on campus some of which are:
Swimming Club (5P for the whole year and you can be a beginner with no experience meet every day but fridays)
Karate (of which I am a member 100P a month which includes 3 aerobics classes we meet every day and have competitions about every month) <—Awesome club! ^^
Aerobics Club- meets every day
Basketball, Softball, and Football teams are all here
Philosophy club and a bible study club is availble
For those who are more academically interested there are many societies such as:
Environmental Society, Economics Society, Wildlife Society –which all do different events and activities if you are curious just attend on of their introduction meetings to see what is going on
Tip: There isn’t an easy way to find clubs on campus, it took me a month to find out when the karate club met, the swim club and sports clubs will post many posters as will the academic societies for meeting times just keep an eye out around campus or ask a local (which is what I did)
Other than that look around and explore there are always different events going on and different things to do get involved make friends both local and other international students and be patient!
Side Note: Sorry for the lack of picture for this blog, one of the other things you will have to get used to is that the internet is not always fast or always working and sometimes certain things are blocked, though the wi-fi is fairly consistent near the library or off campus.
(Once I am able I will be posting about my trip to Chobe, the Delta and Vic falls!)