Gaborone is situated between Kgale and Oodi Hills, on the Notwane River in the southeastern corner of Botswana, and 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) from the South African border. The city is served by the Sir Seretse Khama International Airport. It is an administrative district in its own right, but is the capital of the surrounding South-East District. Locals often refer to the city as Gabs.
Many languages are spoken there, Setswana (Tswana) being the main language. English, Kalanga, and the native language of the Kgalagadi, are also spoken.
Because the city had no tribal affiliation and was close to fresh water, the city was planned to be the capital in the mid-1960s when the Bechuanaland Protectorate became an independent nation.
The centre of the city is a long strip of commercial businesses, called the Mall, with a semicircle-shaped area of government offices to the west of the Mall. The city is one of the fastest-growing cities in the world, and this has created problems with housing and illegal settlements. The city has also dealt with conflicts spilling into the country from Zimbabwe and South Africa during the 1980s.
The National Museum and Art Gallery is located just northwest of the Mall along Independence Road. The museum opened in 1968. It holds many things from traditional crafts to works of art by local artists. The museum houses original paintings by Thomas Baines and Lucas Sithole.
Exhibits include Artists in Botswana, Children's Art Competition and Thapong International. Outside the museum, there are various forms of transportation such as wagons, sledges, and bakkies (pickup trucks). There is also an exhibit on the San, the earliest inhabitants of southern Africa.
The museum opened a 3.6-hectare (9-acre) botanical gardencalled the National Botanical Garden on 2 November 2007. The garden was built to protect Botswana's indigenous plant life, and 90% of its total plant species are native plants from Botswana.
The Maitisong Festival was started in 1987 and is held every year for seven days on either the last week of March or the first week of April. The festival holds outdoor concerts, plays, and films in various venues around the city.
“My African Dream” is a performing-arts competition that is held every year at the Gaborone International Convention Center. The show features many kwaito dancers and musicians.
The book series, The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, is set in Gaborone. The series is written by Alexander McCall Smith. The books follow Precious Ramotswe, the first female private detective in Botswana, and the mysteries that she solves.
The city is the government capital as well as the economic capital; the city is headquarters to numerous companies and the Botswana Stock Exchange. Gaborone is also home to the Southern African Development Community (SADC); a supranational organization, hoping to increase economic unity.