The capital of the north
Francistown, sometimes called the "capital of the north", came into prominence during the gold rush around 1869, 15 years before the gold boom near Witwatersrand in South Africa. Named after Daniel Francis who obtained the prospecting licenses in the region during this time, it is now the second largest town in Botswana with a population of roughly 100,000 people. Francistown was a settlement built around the Monarch mine and is to this day surrounded by mines, some abandoned, a few still in full operation.
Francistown is one of Botswana's administrative hubs, and serves both the Northern Districts of the country as well as part of Zimbabwe, due to the city's close proximity to the international border.
Things to do in Francistown:
Francistown is an administrative hub and serves more to business travellers and holidaymakers, stopping over en-route from Zimbabwe or South Africa. If you have some time to kill during your stay, perhaps have a look at the Supa Ngwao Museum, which shows cultural and historical aspects of Francistown. They also offer walking tours of the city to show you the major highlights. By prior arrangement and if you prefer the outdoors, it may be of interest to go on a game drive at the Tachila Nature Reserve, although this is only possible via self-drive. Francistown is also one of the few places in Botswana where you may like to explore some nightlife.
How to get to Francistown:
By aircraft: To Francistown airport (FRW). When arriving by plane it is recommended to arrange a transfer in advance with your accommodation. Air Botswana offers daily flights from Francistown to Gaborone, and 2-3 flight connections per week to Johannesburg.
By car: All access roads are tarred and you can arrive with your vehicle of choice. If arriving from Gaborone (southwest) or the Ramokgwebane border, from Zimbabwe (northeast), you enter Francistown on the A1. If arriving from Nata (north) you will be entering the city on the A3.
By bus: The Seabelo Express offers a circular route connecting Francistown with Maun - Ghanzi - Gaborone / Lobatse and Selebi-Phikwe.
By Train: Botswana Railways offers a daily train connection between Gaborone and Francistown. The schedule is available on their website.
Where to stay in Francistown:
Francistown does not offer a very wide range of accommodation and our preference is Cresta Marang Gardens, located on the Tati River, away from the bustle of the city. Accommodation in Francistown is yet to exceed a 3 star standard, although this might change in the future.
Click here for a list of accommodation.