A Guide to Car Hire and Safe Driving in Botswana’s Capital
Gaborone, the vibrant capital of Botswana, is a blend of modernity and tradition. While public transport options exist, hiring a car provides a level of freedom and convenience that's hard to match. This guide helps with what you need to know about hiring a car and driving in Gaborone.
Car Hire in Gaborone:
Availability: Numerous car hire companies operate in Gaborone, from international chains to local providers.
Required Documents: To hire a car, you typically need:
A valid driver’s license from your home country.
International Driving Permit (recommended, but not always mandatory).
Passport for identification.
Credit card for security deposit.
Age Limit: Most car hire companies require drivers to be at least 23 years old, though this may vary.
On the Road: Conditions, Traffic, and Tips:
Drive on the Left: Like many Commonwealth countries, Botswana observes left-hand driving.
Road Conditions: Major roads in Gaborone are tarred and well-maintained. However, venture outside the main city areas, and you might encounter some gravel or dirt roads.
Traffic: Gaborone experiences the usual morning and evening rush hours. Stay patient, and always be vigilant for pedestrians, especially near schools.
Residential areas: 40-60 km/h
Main roads: 80 km/h
Highways: 120 km/h
Parking: Designated parking spaces are available in shopping areas, hotels, and public buildings. Some may charge a fee, so always have some Pula (local currency) on hand.
Night Driving: While Gaborone is relatively safe, avoid driving outside the city limits after dark due to reduced visibility and potential wildlife crossings.
Lock Up: Always lock your car, even if you're leaving it for a brief period. Keep valuables out of sight.
Fuel Up: Petrol stations are plentiful in the city, but it's a good practice to keep your tank at least half full.
Navigation: Having a GPS can be handy. However, many locals are friendly and often help with directions if you're lost.
Beware of Livestock: When venturing outside the city, be cautious of free-roaming livestock on the roads.
Roundabouts: Vehicles already on the roundabout have the right of way.
Hooting: A short honk is a common courtesy when overtaking another vehicle, especially on single-lane roads outside the city.
Hand Signals: Some drivers use hand signals, in conjunction with indicators, especially if turning off a primary road.
Gaborone offers a unique blend of experiences, from its bustling markets to serene parks. Hiring a car ensures you can explore the city's breadth at your own pace. Prioritize safety, respect local driving customs, and your Gaborone road trip will be an unforgettable adventure. Always stay updated with local traffic rules and be aware of your surroundings.