Many locals think that traveling is only referred to as that when they fly to a European country. They overlook the experience and knowledge they could gain from exploring their neighboring country. A group of young Namibians from Windhoek decided to invade Gaborone for a taste of the SADC experience and to learn more from the brothers and sisters from the other side. The 12 hour drive features a lot as soon as you cross the Mamuno Border Post.
The Road Trip
The days of Botswana being referred to as ‘the land of dust’ are no more. The roads are well constructed and offer any driver a smooth sailing journey. Driving at night from the towns of Kang, Jwaneng to Kanye and sailing into Gaborone are even more welcoming with light reflectors on the road to make the driver’s path clear. Safety on the road can however now and then be jeopardized with a lot of animals cruising around for grazing. Unlike in Namibia where you only see most of the wild animals in parks, expect to see a few jackals, eagles and ostriches here and there for photos. Also, it is quiet an unusual scene to see goats at road bus stations cooling off during the sun. It is however guaranteed that you will have to stop every now and then for cattle that graze on the side of the road and sometimesthey just simply cross the road without warning. The people of Botswana say there are more cattle then people in the country so that explains a lot.
The people of Botswana have a welcoming attitude towards visitors and amongst themselves. They smile, greet back and are always keen to help. In fact, the moment they realise that you cannot understand Setswana, they are willing to switch to English. Another thing that stands out about them is their level of order and organisation. It was amazing to see long queues at the bus stop of people waiting patiently for their respective buses and entering in an orderly fashion. This is surprisingly in contrast to the situation in Windhoek where struggle to comprehend the word ‘order.’
If you are the type who thinks it is only European countries that have the best and beautiful buildings, then you surely must visit the Gaborone CBD. The buildings are fascinating and nothing close to what we have home. We visited the Three Dikgosi Monument that simply built but offers a resourceful history about the people of Botswana. The monument celebrate the three gurus who are the architects of the country’s history with big statues of Khama III, Sebele I and Bathoeni I. The Batswana have surely built their own country.
Unlike at home, the young people in Gaborone are spoilt for choice. The capital city has been blessed with a number of malls that accommodate facilities that can keep young people glued to either electronic games or something physical. Those who wish to have more can visit the Lions Park Resort that is a few kilometers from the city. The Lions Park offers young people and families a time to have fun. Kids can enjoy the Roller Coasters, Dune Buggies, Target Shooting and a variety of rides only available seasonally in Namibia. The park also presents to the visitor an opportunity to see live wild lions- hence its name.
The highlight about the food in Gaborone is the fact that it is cheap to eat in the city. You have a choice to go traditional and enjoy the crushed beef (seshwa) or the porridge (bogobe) made by putting sorghum, maize or millet flour into boiling water. Else, you can hit Wimpy, KFC and other franchises that we have at home.
We visited the youth at the University of Botswana and it was interesting to learn how involved they are with activities outside school. Our first meeting was productive and exciting, meeting young people from All Brilliant Minds Organization. The organization helps students with career choices and offers tutorials to students. We also had a fruitful meeting with the University of Botswana Work Camps Association, University of Botswana Wildlife Society, Bots Stuttering Association and BW Jobs for graduates. The future of Africa looks bright.
We concluded our stay in Botswana with a visit to the Mokolodi Game Reserve which is situated 15 km out of Gaborone. We had a game drive and were introduced to the giraffe, antelopes, warthogs, cheetahs, hippopotamus, white rhino and a gallery of the bird family. The game drive was concluded with a bush lunch next the lake. Such good hospitality at a reasonable cost.
So next time you want to travel, think no further. How about you take on a neighbouring country and you will be shock how much there is to discover in a country so close to Home.