The second largest city in the country welcomes you with a handshake and a “Dumilani” (hello/good morning!). Home to many Kalanga natives and often referred to as the Capital of the North, Francistown is a vibrant destination perfect for an overnight during a luxury African safari.
The city was named after the British prospector and miner Daniel Francis, who acquired prospecting licenses in 1869, eventually becoming director of the Tati Concessions Company. Francisand other prospectors often used ancient gold shafts as guiding points for their prospecting, or they simply carried on the mining which had been started in those shafts generations ago. The city is still surrounded by old, abandoned mines.
Today the remains of the Botswana gold rush tell a story about the discovery in the city and can be viewed at the museum. This Botswana city is close to the Tati and Inchwe River confluence, a few kilometres from the Zimbabwe border. The city can be self-explored and is home to restaurants and supermarkets.The main road northwest of Francistown gives passage to Maun and the Okavango Delta, Kasane and Chobe National Park, Livingstone, Zambia and Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe.
Common Kalanga phrases include:
Good morning. How are you? — Dumilani. Mamuka tjini?
I am fine thanks — Tamuka totibathu
What is your name? — Zina lilo/labo/lenyu ndiani?
Who are you? — Ndi ingwi ani?
I do not know Kalanga well — Anditoziba tjikalanga zwibuyanana
I come from... — Ndodwa ku...
It was nice meeting you — Ndoshatha kushangana na’ngwi
How much is this thing? — Kuthu ikoku kodana bungana?
Thank you — Ndaboka
It is very hot — Kopisa kwazo
Birds and Game Botswana
Birds and Game Botswana an animal orphanage established by Uncharted Africa, Birds and Game Botswana has served as refuge for injured or orphaned wild animals for the past twenty years. A popular outing for local residents and a venue for school trips, it has also helped to educate the public about the country’s wildlife heritage.
Tachila Nature Reserve
Spreading over 8,000 hectares of donated land just under 5km from the Francistown city boundary, Tachila Nature Reserve is a broad-based community project that offers natural, archaeological, historical and cultural attractions unique to Francistown and North East District. Tachila – a Kalanga name meaning ‘saviour of all living things’.
Wildlife species include leopard, hyena, kudu, impala, bushbuck, steenbok, klipspringer, rock dassie and warthog. Eventually, rhino, sable and roan antelope, cheetah, giraffe, zebra, wildebeest and eland will be introduced.
A luxury lodge, with conference centre and restaurant will be built in the reserve; and all structures will be eco-friendly, utilising renewable energy, recycling programmes, grey-water reticulation and organic gardens. Whilst still in the development stages, visitors can now enter the reserve for game drives. This is on a self-drive basis, and on arrangement only. Tel: +267 241-2313, or +267 74- 086-277, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
This historic site is situated in the northeast of the country, along the Masunga- Kalamati Road, Domboshaba contains excellent examples of cement-less, stone walling and enclosures; some have been reconstructed by the National Museum archaeologists. It was one of the first National Monuments to be gazetted in the country – in 1938.
The stone wall site dating back to 1450AD, is a conservation area with the most striking, even walls that despite their massive width (some are 2 metres thick) and their beautiful decorative motifs and stylistic variations, both underlining the absolute precision and aesthetic considerations with which they were built. Despite the fact that no cement was used in their construction, some walls have survived intact for centuries.
Further up the hill, the floor plan of what is believed to have been a headman’s or chief’s residence can be seen. And the circular remains of houses that once dotted this community reveal earthen floors with stone edgings.
Many walls have collapsed and the National Museum has prioritised this site for further restoration and development, including improved trail signage, camping and ablution facilities. An easy return day drive from Francistown that doesn’t require four-wheel drive, Domboshaba gives entrance to one of Africa’s greatest empires, and an important cultural heritage of the nation.
Supa Ngwao Museum
Aptly named Supa Ngwao (‘to show culture’ in Setswana), culture vultures can rejoice as the local museum offers exhibitions on the culture and history of the Kalanga people, as well as visuals from the early years of Francistown and Botswana. Located in an old government camp, the Supa-Ngwao Museum serves as an important repository of northern Botswana’s heritage. Its collection includes pottery, woodcarvings, basketry and musical instruments.
Authentic, hand-made crafts can be purchased at the Museum’s Craft Shop, which supports approximately 200 craftsmen/women mostly from the surrounding areas.
The Museum also serves as information centre for Francistown and conducts guided walking tours of the city, covering most of the important historical sites. To book a tour, call +267 240-3088, or email email@example.com.