A Nature Lover’s Guide To Gaborone
Once proudly referred to as ‘Africa’s fastest growing city’, Botswana’s capital, Gaborone has much more to offer than just a skyline on the rise and endless urban sprawl. ‘Gabs’, as it is known locally, is surrounded by some incredibly picturesque nature reserves and game-rich sanctuaries. Here is our nature lover’s guide to Gaborone ‘s best outdoor experiences.
Mokolodi Nature Reserve
The Mokolodi Nature Reserve is a 3,700 hectare reserve created from land previously used for cattle farming. Since its establishment in 1994, the sanctuary has grown as a home to a variety of animals and plants, some of which are endangered. Species include white rhino, leopard, cheetah, giraffe, zebra and more.
The reserve offers fee-based activities such as game drives, rhino tracking and volunteer programmes; the revenue of which is used to assist in conservation and education programmes. The reserve is also just a 15-minute drive from Gaborone.
Lion Park Resort
Lion Park Resort is one of Gaborone’s major attractions, offering activities such as paintball, roller coaster rides and water slides. The resort has shaded campsites with electricity, water and ablution facilities which are very clean. The Wet’n Wild Water Park features a wave pool, a kiddies’ pool and 3 water slides.
The lions at the park are kept in a separate enclosure away from the amusement rides. Informed guides will assist you in arranging a tour. Be prepared to be awed and thrilled by an up-close experience with the kings of the African bush. Rates and specific opening times can be found on their website.
Gaborone Game Reserve
This reserve was established by the Kalahari Conservation Society in 1988 to conserve the natural wildlife and flora near Gaborone. Although the reserve is quite small, it is the third busiest in Botswana and rich in birdlife, antelope species and even a pair of rhino.
All the roads within Gaborone Game Reserve are accessible in a regular sedan car and there are a number of quaint picnic sites, game hides and a small visitor education centre. Guided tours are not offered within the park, but a detailed map can be obtained from the entrance gate. It’s a great option for a day trip from the city.
Situated along the Notwane River, just a few kilometres outside of the city, Gaborone Dam is the main water supply for the capital and a site for fun water-based activities. The Gaborone Yacht Club is probably the most popular offering at the dam, with an open-air bar, a swimming pool and delicious lunches served on the weekends. The dam also has lots of picnic sites and a children’s playground, ideal to spend an afternoon outdoors in the sunshine.
Khutse Game Reserve
Khutse Game Reserve is a game sanctuary that acts as a gateway to the Kalahari, about 240km north-west of Gaborone. Although a bit further than other parks on our list, the reserve is a favourite for Gaborone locals because of its impressive game viewing and unfenced border with the Central Kalahari Game Reserve.
Khutse – meaning ‘place where you can kneel down and drink’ – features a series of picturesque waterholes (that are signposted) where wildlife often gather in the dry season. Animals regularly seen include springbok, gemsbok, giraffe, wildebeest, kudu as well as predators including lion, cheetah and hyena.
Distances from Cresta Lodge Gaborone:
Mokolodi Nature Reserve – 14,1km
Lion Park Resort – 18,1km
Gaborone Game Reserve – 9,4km
Gaborone Dam – 3,6km
Khutse Game Reserve – 240km
Making the day trip from Gaborone? Check out Cresta Lodge Gaborone for affordable, well-appointed accommodation as an ideal base from which to explore Gaborone and surrounds. Enquiries can be made at +267 397 5375 or firstname.lastname@example.org or on our website.
Image Credits: Flickr/David Cohen, Flickr/Thibaut Boissot, Flickr/Dave Bezaire, Flickr/Insu Nuzzi, Flickr/ Deepak Narayanan Madangarli, Botswana Tourism Org
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