Though it’s fun to go home to Canada or the UK, I love having family or friends visit us here in Gaborone. It’s exciting to show off our city and introduce them to our everyday life.
The Gabs Game Reserve is our favourite place to take visitors to get them warmed up to their trip. It’s right in town, easy and inexpensive, and gives visitors a terrific introduction to African wildlife.
With my brother in law and his family visiting, we first went to the Deli at the Craft Market to pick up a selection of sandwiches and cold drinks. We then took it in to the Gabs Game Reserve to see what animals we could spot and have a picnic lunch.
After checking in and paying at the gate, we started our drive. We followed the roads and wound around various parts of the park. The first thing we saw were monkeys, which made my toddlers jump up and down in the car with excitement. What would we see next?
There were impala around every bend. We take them for granted, but impala are actually very beautiful with their painted eyes and bums. Our guests got some great photographs of these deer that almost pose for the camera by staring right at you.
It took a bit longer to find them, but we also saw mongoose, warthogs and ostrich. Sadly we missed the eland, bushbuck, kudu and zebra on this drive.
There are plenty of shady trees at the picnic spots, as well as braai stands. We were busy getting our lunch out of the car when we looked and saw that a monkey had not just arrived, but climbed inside our car to look for food. That was a rookie error on our part. Note to self: always check that your windows are rolled up. Rumour has it that they even know how to open car doors!
Suddenly we were surrounded. Everywhere we looked there was a monkey peering hungrily at us. My toddler loved playing a game of ‘Shoo, Monkey!’ and our guests couldn’t stop laughing at the animals’ brazen show. One big guy was so cheeky he stole a sandwich right from under my sister in law’s arm.
Overall it was a great way to show the family a ‘little bit of Africa’, and only a few minutes from home. We spent three hours shopping for lunch, doing the game drive, and having our picnic, making for a nice day out.
The cost of visiting the Educational Game Reserve is very reasonable; adults are P10 each and children 8-17 are P5 each. Children under 8 are free. There’s an additional cost of P5 per adult if you’re picnicking plus P10 per car. Our picnicking party went in with one car, four adults, two teens and two toddlers and it only cost P85.
We only saw one other car in the park, at lunchtime on a Saturday.
On weekends you need to pre-book by calling +267 318 4492. On weekdays you can just drive up. They open at 06:30 so I’ve put it on my list as a possible breakfast idea for the next time we have guests over. So gather some friends and go explore the Gabs Game Reserve, or add it to your list of ideas for the next time you have family in town.