FRANCISTOWN IN BOTSWANA
Francistown is one of the oldest settlement towns in Botswana that was founded in 1897. It is located in the eastern part of Botswana approximately 400 kilometres from Gaborone (Botswana’s capital) and 90 kilometres from its border with Zimbabwe. It is where the Tati and Inchwe rivers meet near the Shashe River. This second largest city in Botswana is labelled as the capital of the north. Maun, Kasane, Okavango Delta, Chobe National Park, Livingstone, Zambia and Victoria Falls are accessed through the northwest road of Francistown.
This oldest city of Botswana used to be the centre of the gold rush in Africa in the 19th century. Today the town is still a host to many mines. Its name was derived from Daniel Francis, director of the Tati Concessions Company, who was granted license for prospecting in 1869.
The town boasts of Francistown hotels, lodges, inns and guest houses that provide accommodation for tourists and business visitors in the mining business. It also prides itself of eateries and clubs for weekenders and nightlife lovers. The town is inhabited by Christian and Muslim population living peacefully thus there is the presence of several mosques and churches. Francistown is served by a railway linking the city to other areas. It is also accessible by air, the airport only being two kilometres from the city.
The town houses and the Supa Ngao Museum showcase and preserve the culture and history of the Kalanga people who inhabited the town centuries ago. The artwork includes pottery, carvings, basketry and musical instruments of the people of northern Botswana. Only years have witnessed the development of the city from an outback town to the modern Francistown it is today. The old town has emerged into a modern urban town, and the dusty surroundings turned into a bustling commercial centre with malls, modern Africa hotels in Botswana, shops, restaurants, housing developments and industrial complexes.
Even with the modernization, patches of old colonial buildings are still seen in the city centre as reminders of the old Francistown. The mixture of the old and modern features of the city gives it a colourful make up and exudes a distinctively African town that makes for a perfect stop over for overland Botswana safari visitors. Francistown may be like any other city in its industrial and commercial make up as it continuously grows into an urban area, yet it is definitely unique with the remnants of the old mining settlement.