Gaborone (Tswana IPA: [χabʊˈrʊnɪ]; English /ˌɡæbəˈroʊniː/ or /ˌxɑːbəˈroʊneɪ/, named after Chief Kgosi Gabarone) is the capital and largest city of Botswana with a population of 191,776 based on a 2006 survey. Gaborone is situated between Kgale and Oodi Hills, on the Notwane River in the southeastern corner of Botswana, and 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) from the South African border. The city is served by the Sir Seretse Khama International Airport. It is an administrative district in its own right, but is the capital of the surrounding South-East District. Locals often refer to the city as Gabs.
Because the city had no tribal affiliation and was close to fresh water, the city was planned to be the capital in the mid-1960s when the Bechuanaland Protectorate became an independent nation. The center of the city is a long strip of commercial businesses, called the Mall, with a semicircle-shaped area of government offices to the west of the Mall. The city grew rapidly in the first decade of its existence, and this created problems with housing and illegal settlements. The city has also dealt with conflicts spilling into the country from Zimbabwe and South Africa during the 1980s.
The city is the government capital as well as the economic capital; the city is headquarters to numerous companies. Gaborone is also home to the Southern African Development Community (SADC) a supranational organization, hoping to increase economic unity.
Parks and recreation
The Gaborone Dam is located south of Gaborone along the Gaborone-Lobatse road, and provides water for both Gaborone and Lobatse. The dam is the biggest in Botswana, able to hold 141,400,000 cubic metres (3.735×1010 US gal). It is also starting to be marketed as a recreational area. The northern end of the reservoir is planned to become an entertainment venue called The Waterfront. There is a yacht club, called Gaborone Yacht Club, also on the northern side of the lake. The southern end houses the Kalahari Fishing Club and a new public facility called City Scapes. City Scapes contains parks, playgrounds, and boating facilities. The dam is popular with birdwatchers, windsurfers, and anglers. However, there is no swimming due to crocodiles and parasitic bilharzias.
Gaborone Game Reserve
The Gaborone Game Reserve is a 600-hectare (1,500-acre) park west of the city on Limpopo Drive. The reserve was built in 1988 and is now the third-busiest in Botswana. Examples of animals in the park are impala, kudu, ostriches, wildebeest, zebras, gemsbok, bushbuck, springbok, duiker, Common Eland, and warthogs. The park is famous for its birdwatching. Birds in the marshy section of the park include snake eagles, boubou, gallinule, kingfishers, and hornbills.
Kgale Hill is located a few hundred metres from the city. The hill is nicknamed the Sleeping Giant and is 1,287 metres (4,222 ft). There are three different paths to reach the top, usually taking two hours.
Mokolodi Nature Reserve
The Mokolodi Nature Reserve is a 30-square-kilometre (12 sq mi) reserve that was created in 1994. It is located 12 kilometres (7.5 mi) south of Gaborone. There are many different species of animals found in the park such as warthogs, steenbok, kudu, zebras, giraffes, Common Eland, ostriches, hippos and rhinos. The park helps with wildlife projects in Botswana that include: the reintroduction of the White Rhino and the relocation of “problem” cheetahs. Mokolodi also holds the Education Centre, which teaches children about the conservation projects.
Somarelang Tikologo Ecological Park
Somarelang Tikologo (Environment Watch Botswana) is a member-based environmental NGO housed inside an ecological park at the heart of Gabarone. The aim of the organization is to promote sustainable environmental protection by educating, demonstrating and encouraging best practices in environmental planning, resource conservation and waste management in Botswana. The park was officially opened by the Botswana Minister of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism, Onkokame kitso Mokaila on 27 February 2009. The park contains a playground for children to play on throughout the day, a community organic garden, a recycling drop-off center, and a shop where visitors can purchase products made of recycled material.
Gaborone is controlled by the Gaborone City Council. The city council is run by the city clerk and the deputy city clerk. The city is governed by the mayor, deputy mayor, and several committees run by councillors: the financial and general purposes committee; the public health, social welfare and housing committee; the Self-Help Housing Agency (SHAA) management committee; the town planning committee; the trade licensing committee; and the education committee. The councillors elect the mayor and place each other in the committees yearly. The council has 2,515 employees. The city council has been criticised by the Botswana Association of Local Authorities for its closed elections and minimal authority. In 2010, the council had problems with waste management: Frenic, the waste management company hired by the city, sued the Gaborone City Council for unpaid compensation. This has led to a buildup of uncollected garbage.
The city has had eleven mayors since 1966. Two mayors were women. Several are listed below:
* Derek Jones
* Serara T. Ketlogetswe
* Nelson Ramaotwana
* Paul Rantao
* Harry Mothei
Gaborone is the political center of Botswana. Most government buildings are located west of the Mall in an area called the Government Enclave. The National Assembly of Botswana, the House of Chiefs of Botswana, the National Archives, and the Ministry of Health. Near the entrance of the parliament building, there is a statue of Sir Seretse Khama, Botswana's first president as well as a memorial dedicated to the three hundred Batswana who were killed from 1939 to 1945.
Before 1982, Gaborone held one parliamentary constituency, one seat in the Parliament of Botswana. From 1982 to 1993, Botswana was divided into two constituencies, Gaborone North and Gaborone South. A third seat in Parliament was given to a member elected for the whole city of Gaborone. In January 1993, two new constituencies were created: Gaborone West and Gaborone Central. For local government elections, the four constituencies were divided into wards. Gaborone North had seven, Gaborone West had seven. Gaborone Central had six, and Gaborone South had five. In 2002, the city had five constituencies: Gaborone North, Gaborone Central, Gaborone South, Gaborone West North, and Gabororone West South.
An International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA) was established on 24 July 2001 in Gaborone. The academy would provide training for middle managers for the countries in the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
The city is also home to several embassies and consuls.