Getting out of town

Gaborone Travel Blog

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One of the main roads of Gaborone

My first days in Gabs are over…Feelings are a little bit mixed: There didn’t seem much to be going on this weekend. My Saturday was spent mainly playing with Nina and Joey in the morning as well as shopping groceries with the family at a mall and then heading out by foot to a pretty empty Main Mall Shopping Centre that is located in the heart of the city, pretty run down, but also very empty for a Saturday afternoon. Many shops had closed by 3 PM or earlier.

I went to an Internet café were I posted my latest entries. The place was alright, a speedy connection and 1:30 h cost me 10 Pula (approx. 1 Euro). Apart from that, there was nothing going on, so I headed back one of these roads you can see on the photo. It is a major one way road in Gabs, doesn’t look like it, huh? The whole city looks like this: you see so much green and grass at the sidetracks, it feels rather rural than city-like.

State Seal
But then they have these ultramodern buildings as well…strange mixture.

My cell phone is still freaking me out: On Saturday, I tried sending a message to different friends in Germany and Switzerland, and it worked (at least it said so! – Judith or Thomas, could any of you please confirm you received my message?), except for two numbers…really strange. The guy from Orange promised to get back to me with information, but so far (Sunday morning) nothing…

Today, Sunday, I slept long and after getting up, Regina, a German who is working for the Ministry of Education, asked me whether I wanted to join her for a drive outside Gabs.

At Arne's Horse Safari
I readily agreed. The weather was like it has been ever since I arrived: blue skies, not a single cloud. We drove past Kgale Hill, Gabs’ local hill, and headed east, towards Molepolole passing Mogoditshane. The route was ok, but the sights weren’t too nice: loads of tire and car dealers, a lot of rubbish on the streets, people walking and offering things for sale, sometimes as little as 3 water melons. Once we left that road towards Kopong, all of a sudden it became much more rural and for the first time it looked like bush. We saw loads and loads of cattle (a sign for richness in Botswana), goats and donkeys. All was lushly green, and Regina explained that there had been loads of rain recently.

We kind of lost our way (there are not many road signs in Botswana), so we stopped at a gas station to inquire.

Mokolodi Nature Reserve
Here, I was met with what seems to be typical. A guy volunteered to drive with us to show us where we wanted to go. His car had run out of petrol and we could drop him off on the way…well, in fact his car was several km behind where we wanted to go, but nonetheless, it was ok. It seems to happen all the time, you are asked whether you can take someone along in your car. It happened to us 3 times today, and we always took them. One lady even offered 5 Pula fair before she left the car (we declined). During that ride I learned another lesson: never ask a Motswana (inhabitant of Botswana) how much cattle he owns. Since cattle is a sign for status and richness, you do not ask about it because it might embarrass your counterpart. Regina did just that, and the guy in the car got rather silent and then admitted he did not own much cattle…later she remembered that this was not appropriate…

The place we went to was Arne’s Horse Safaris.

Canned jam
Arne was a Scandinavian who bought a huge property and since then hosts horse safaris on that land. It is a beautiful spot, you can see some in the pictures. The horses however did not look all too good, they were very skinny. Arne died a year ago and his nephew has taken over, but it seems he is not very interested in the farm. He lives in Gabs and rarely travels the 40 km.

We left and headed back to Gabs, taking a young woman with us (who offered the 5 Pula). Once we dropped her off, Regina suggested going to Mokolodi Nature Reserve, some 15 km south-west of Gaborone, behind Kgale Hill. It was a splendid idea! We sat on the restaurant’s terrace, enjoyed some nice tapas-style food and had a chilled lemonade, watching the sun sink and enjoying each other’s company as well as a Jack Russel terrier’s. J We talked and talked and finally decided to get back to our apartment. On the way back, I got to see my first warthogs! A family: 2 babies, mommy and daddy. I was so happy and excited I forgot to get my camera out and take a picture…darn. I guess there’ll be more to photograph at a later point.

Turns out this was a really nice Sunday: leaving the city and seeing some rural Botswana was just what I needed now. I feel like finally I have seen some of Botswana. The Gabs setting seems pretty unreal with all its walls and cars and electric fences.

I’ll end with a curious thing I noticed yesterday: In Botswana, jam and marmalade are bought in cans! Same goes for butter. I will try to post a picture soon!
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One of the main roads of Gaborone
One of the main roads of Gaborone
State Seal
State Seal
At Arnes Horse Safari
At Arne's Horse Safari
Mokolodi Nature Reserve
Mokolodi Nature Reserve
Canned jam
Canned jam
Gaborone
photo by: strangemystic