Ghanzi is a small but significant town in western Botswana and was home to only 12,000 inhabitants in 2011. Until the late 1980's, it did not have much to show except for the Kalahari Arms Hotel, which is still there today and after that the city slowly started expanding, after the installation of it's first telephone service in 1988. This was followed by a series of events, including the construction of schools, tar roads connecting the town with the capital of the country and today it is providing a home to over 200 cattle farms in the greater district. Beef is one of the largest industries in the country and the farms in this region are said to provide up to 75% of product to the Botswana Meat Commission, who are solely responsible for the export of meat in the country. It should come as no surprise that you may find some cattle crossing the road on your drive, although this applies to most of the country.
The Trans-Kalahari Highway was officially completed in 1998, connecting Botswana with both Namibia and South Africa. The city is conveniently located next to the highway and today a great deal of business in Ghanzi is gained from the tourism industry. It provides an ideal stopover en-route to Gaborone, the Mamuno Border as well as Maun. Although it is not seen as one of the major highlights in Botswana, it should not be overlooked. Several of the lodges offer a glimpse into the life of the ancient san bushmen, which can be a very rewarding experience.
Things to do in Ghanzi:
Your experience in the Ghanzi region will vary dependent on where you are staying and how much time you have available. If you are interested in wildlife viewing, there are few accommodations that offer game drives as an activity. If you are travelling via self-drive you could opt to drive to the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, which is roughly 150km from Ghanzi.
For a more cultural experience, there are several options. Either participate in a traditional tour offered by your accommodation, take a look around town and stop at the Ghanzi Craft shop who have displays where you can see how traditional jewellery is made, or stop at the Whatona Cultural Village to get a glimpse of life as a Setswana.
How to get to Ghanzi:
By aircraft: There is an airport in Ghanzi but there are no regular or scheduled flights heading in and out and it is mainly accessed by charter airlines. Some accommodation in the region have their own airstrip.
By car: All access roads are tarred and you can arrive with the vehicle of your choice. Essentially there is only one way in and out via the Trans-Kalahari Highway, also called the A3 in this region.
By bus: The Seabelo Express offers a circular route connecting Francistown with Maun - Ghanzi - Gaborone / Lobatse and Selebi-Phikwe.
By Train: N/A
Where to stay in Ghanzi:
Due to it's small size, accommodation in Ghanzi is spread in and around town, some places located several kilometres away. There are no 5 star accommodations present in this area, but a decent number of midrange hotels and camps. One can even opt to experience sleeping out in a traditional bush hut at Ghanzi Trailblazers.
Please click here for a list of accommodation.