Gaborone boasts a plethora of shopping malls, and almost every South African chain business has a location in the city. Regrettably, this pushes out small independent businesses. Despite the VAT rate of 12 percent, which is lower than the 14 percent in South Africa, Gabs is a disappointing and fairly costly location to buy.
However, there are a few artists towns and small enterprises that defy the trend, and a visit might be a nice afternoon diversion.
- Green Shop, Plot 3491, Kaunda road, +267 3913709. The store is in the Somarelang Tikologo (Environmental Watch Botswana) Eco-Park, which is a non-profit organization committed to raising awareness about environmental planning, resource conservation, and waste management via community initiatives and demonstrations. From skin care goods and accessories to home furnishings, everything offered in the Green Shop is manufactured from recycled or natural materials crafted by local women and out-of-school youth organizations.
- Oodi Weavers (about 5km east of Phakalane on the road to Modipane).10AM – 4.30pm Monday – Friday (closed weekends). Peder Gowenius, a Swedish apartheid exile, founded this tiny business in 1972 to manufacture appealing tapestries depicting rural settings and the like (P1,000 Pula for a good sized piece). Visitors are welcome to see the workshop and speak with the weavers.
Wood carvings and colorful prints are high quality and reasonably priced; most are imported from other African countries. There are very high quality.
The Game City Mall’s Game Store is Botswana’s biggest superstore, with a wide range of low-cost, medium-quality merchandise.
Botswana Craft is an oddly placed paradise with a handful of small eateries and art businesses in the center of an industrial complex. It may be a touch too Arikaaner-flavored for some, but it’s a fun location to stop by if you’re travelling through. This is the place to go if you want to purchase a Buddhist statue or some fragrant candles.
The Bike Shop, Halle Selassie Road, +267 71306146 (look for many of yellow trucks belonging to a nearby freight firm). Great tiny bike store that sells reconditioned bikes from the US as well as high-end new mountain bikes and accessories. Definitely more professional than Gaborone Garage and Cycles, which is close by.
Western items are priced at EU levels, whereas native goods (corn meal) are affordable in grocery shops.
Choppies and OK Foods are local chains with the lowest pricing and locations around Gaborone.
Woolworths is located in many of the city’s big shopping malls and offers significantly higher-quality produce and a wider range of European foods. If you’re looking for unusual fruits or veggies, or fine cheese, this is the place to go.
Pick-and-Pay, a South African chain, is more costly and of higher quality than Choppies.
The cheapest juices seem to be at SPAR in the Main Mall (about 5.25 Pula for 1 Litre of 100 percent fruit juice).
Buy a pie from Pie Time and then a drink at SPAR if you’re on a budget! A complete supper costs 8.25 Pula.
There is a food shop in every supermarket mall.