Gaborone Google maps and facts
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Gaborone, the capital, is by far the most important city in Botswana. The other urban centres—Francistown, Maun, Selebi-Phikwe and Jwaneng have specialist functions. The capital has a fascinating history and still offers much for the tourist or the passing businessman to see and do. Gaborone has also become an important arts and crafts centre to tempt the most discerning shopper.
Gaborone, the capital city, is located in the southeast corner of Botswana near the South African border. It has good communications with South Africa through the Sir Seretse Khama International Airport or by road. Gaborone also provides access by air or road to the main tourist attractions—the Okavango, Chobe, Kasane, the Kalahari, the Makgadikgadi saltpans and the Tuli block.
Gaborone is a young city with nearly a quarter of a million inhabitants. It scarcely existed in the 19th century before Chief Gaborone moved his Batlokwa tribe into the area from the Magaliesburg Mountains in the early 1880s. He settled in the Tlokweng area on the Notwane river.
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At the time the Bechuanaland Protectorate was actually administered from Mafikeng (then Mafeking) in South Africa. Cecil Rhodes of the British South Africa Company was building his great railway through the country that he hoped would to run from the Cape to Cairo. He had little interest in Chief Batlokwa's village as he pushed the line north. However as the Boer war loomed, he built a fort near the village, to protect the railway line from the Boers who were raiding into Bechuanaland. He built the fort on a railway siding. It was here that Dr Jameson launched his unsuccessful Jameson raid towards Johannesburg. The Boers later took the fort but did not hold on to it for long. After the Boer withdrawal, the area relapsed into a sleepy little backwater.
It was this modest site that was chosen in 1964, just before independence, as the new capital of the country. Enthusiastic town planners set about building an entirely new capital city and the administrative centre was moved from Mafikeng. The town planners of the 1960s created a new parliament, government buildings and Africa's first traffic-free shopping mall where pedestrians could wander and shop, safe from the traffic, under the shade of the original trees.
In 1966 Gaborone became the capital of newly independent Botswana. Two decades later, in 1986, it was declared a city. Today, stimulated by the discovery of diamonds and the rising wealth of the nation, Gaborone has become one of the fastest growing cities in the world, while still preserving its offbeat rural charm.
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