Gaborone, says a big bill board as you drive in from the airport, is the fastest growing city in Africa. It is certainly spreading out farther and farther. There are many different sides to the city. Hopefully these photos give some idea about a place with only 200,000 residents, but all the facilities of a capital city.
LEFT: The Gaborone skyline from the Gaborone Dam.
BELOW: Gaborone extends to the foot of Kgale Hill. The Dam is in the distance.
Gaborone was never really a town or village before the British declared a Protectorate in 1895. There is evidence of residence before then, but nothing substantial and nothing remaining. Gaborone was not the capital of the Protectorate - which was actually in Mafikeng, in South Africa. However, there was a need for some sort of police force to control the white population, so the area across the river from Chief Gaborone's tribal base, now Tlokweng, was settled on as the place for a fort, a prison and later a Government Rest House. It came to be called Chief Gaberone's Village (mis-spelt), or Gaberones or The Village for short. But little was built before the plans for Independence began in 1961. Then it was decided that Gaberones would be developed as the capital and work began on the Dam in 1963 and the town in 1964. At Independence in 1966 the name was changed to Gaborone (pronounced with a guttoral 'g' as in loch, Hab-er-roan-ee).
ABOVE LEFT: One of the older buildings in The Village beyond one of Gaborone's many wonderful Jacaranda trees.
LEFT: The old prison, with the water tower behind it.
BELOW LEFT: One of the older government buildings behind the small garden which is in front of the Parliament House. This is about the only public garden in the whole of Botswana, as far as we found.
BELOW: The headoffice of Debswana Diamond Company (Pty) Ltd, the joint venture between the Government of the Republic of Botswana and De Beers Centenary AG, diamond mining and production.
BELOW RIGHT: Main Mall, which runs for about a kilometre from Parliament House down to the City Hall.
ABOVE: The Department of Health building, rumoured to have cost P600 million to build.
RIGHT: The Magistrate's Court in The Village
BELOW RIGHT: The area around the station and bus terminal is the most stereotypically African part of the centre of Gaborone. Generally, there are a few stalls set out, especially in Main Mall, but no markets. Rather, people with money shop in one of the ever-growing number of South African-style shopping malls, like BELOW - Riverwalk. This one is just next to the river which divides Gaborone from Tlokweng, which is lined with thorn trees, termite mounds and other evidence of the city being carved out of the pure bush. Cows are par for the course.
LEFT: Differing styles of housing in Gaborone.
RIGHT: The Anglican Cathedral
LEFT: One of Gaborone's many through-ways for pedestrians only. This was normally bare earth - until the rains came.
BELOW LEFT: The Notwane River which divides Gaborone from Tlokweng - one of our favourite walking paths.
LEFT (2): Different views of the Gaborone Golf Club.
ABOVE: Gaborone Dam & the hills surrounding Gaborone.