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Gaborone is the capital of Botswana in southern Africa. The city was elected capital in the sixties of the previous century because it barely had connections with any of the many tribes in the country. It's a fairly modern city, with an elongated shopping street, The Mall, as the center.
Gaborone is a fast growing city; in 2010 nearly 200,000 people lived here but that number will increase rapidly in the next years.
Botswana's capital is located along the Notwane River in the southeast of the country between two ranges of hills, the Kgale Hills and the Oodi Hills. The border with South Africa lies only 15 kilometers south of Gaborone.
Gaborone is Botswana's center of economic activity. Apart from government institutions there are financial service providers and the headquarters of the Southern African Development Community (SADC). The extraction and trade of diamonds play an important role in the economy. The company Debswana (a cooperation between the South African De Beers and the Botswana government) has its headquarters and sorting office in Gaborone. In recent years, large investments have been made by international companies such as Hyundai, IBM, Daewoo, Volvo and Siemens.
Gaborone Airport, Sir Seretse Khama International Airport, is situated 15 kilometers north of the city center. The airport is named after Botswana's first president and is easily reachable by rental car via freeway A1 (which runs along the Central Business District) and Airport Road.
So-called Kombis (small white vans) and taxis constitute Gaborone's public transport. The Kombis run set routes but there aren't any regular stops; you can get on or off everywhere. Larger buses run to places surrounding Gaborone. They often leave very early from the central bus station, but not at set times: as soon as the bus is full (which includes standing room) they leave.
Compared to other African cities, traffic isn't bad in Gaborone. We advise against parking your rental car anywhere in the street; always make sure there's a 'guard' (often unofficial) watching your car. Obviously this guard expects a compensation when you return to your car. There's a large parking lot near the Botswana Botanic Gardens, on the east side of town.
Gaborone offers a good choice of accommodations. Besides guesthouses and lodges, Botswana's capital offers luxurious four- and five-star hotels. Many tourists make trips from Gaborone to the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, northwest of town.
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