For the last few weeks, my friend, Maxine, and I have been going around Gaborone to various shops “off the beaten path.” She has taken me to quite a few hidden gems that she’s discovered.
Many of these gems aren’t actually hidden, although a few are difficult to find. I’m thankful she’s been my tour guide, because I sometimes stick to what is comfortable in fear of venturing out and getting lost or frustrated. In our tour off the beaten path, I have appreciated her adventurous spirit and how she discovers these places by just driving around and popping in to see what the shops are selling.
In this post, I’ll share just a few of the gems from the Broadhurst Industrial area. So grab a buddy and be sure to check out these hidden gems in Gabs.
Mr. Veg may not be all that hidden or unknown to you, but during my first stay in Gabs from 2012-2015, I never ventured into one. What a shame! The store offers an amazing array of fresh produce, dry groceries (mostly Asian), and some staple products like milk and bread!
I sometimes must go to several grocery stores to find all the produce I need, but I think Mr. Veg is probably the most comprehensive place to buy your produce and the prices are amazingly affordable. I found some exotic and harder to find produce: granadilla, lychees, and parsnips. As I mentioned, they have dry grocery goods such as soy sauce, Indian spices and curry packs, as well as lentils, rice, and other grains.
It is a true gem and I’ve made it my new bi-weekly habit to check Mr. Veg before I do the rest of my shopping as it saves me a great deal of money in the long run! Insider tip: bring a jersey or sweater as walking through the refrigerator for your produce is a bit chilly!
CCO Chinese Restaurant / Superb Blends
On the road that leads from the Sefalana Hyper (Ramakukane Rd), you’ll find Oriental Plaza on your left near the end of the road. There are all kinds of textile and furnishings shops, etc. in the plaza. A few shops had some lovely dishes for sale as well as kids’ toys/bikes and party supplies. So you’ll just need to walk in and out of the shops to see what you find. However, my favorite gem in this plaza was the restaurant, CCO Chinese Restaurant/Superb Blends!
It’s located in the far right of the front corner of the complex (if you are facing Oriental Plaza from the street). I was thrilled that they have ready-made or quickly made dine in or take away. Instant gratification for your hungry family! I got a take away box with steamed rice, beef, cabbage & green beans for P50 and it was so flavorful! They also sell spring rolls & fried/steamed pork bun fried dumplings, soup, etc. so be sure to check them out.
They are open only until 5 PM so you’ll need to go during the day. I stopped there after a shopping excursion and got some fried noodles for my kids. They gobbled it up after I picked them up from school. Insider tip: While the prepared food options are excellent, my kids love the fried noodles. These aren’t always on the serving station, so ask nicely and they’ll stir-fry up a batch quickly.
Reliable Produce & Provision
My friend, Julianna, was telling me about this one, so I ventured out on my own to find it. I did miss Reliable Produce the first time, but I found a recycling place (Recycle-It) down the street as a bonus for getting a bit turned around! Reliable Produce is located just off Nelson Mandela road. Turn at the robots by Total Garage and make your first right just after Total. The road is called Mokolwane. As the road starts to make a curve to the left you’ll find this gem hidden in the curve of the road on the right side.
They sell an assortment of spices, spice mixes and oils, including ground cardamom, saffron threads and neem oil which was difficult for me to find elsewhere in Gaborone. We love the Braai spice mix as well as the Maharani spice so far. They also have lentils, fragrant rice (Basmati & Jasmine), sauces and other groceries available.
The general manager, Mohamed Sayed Daya, was extremely helpful and even posed with the spices for me! The hours of operation are: M-Thurs from 8:30 to 12:45 and 2:15-5:15; Friday from 8:30 to 11:45 and 2:15-5:15; and Saturday from 8:30 to 1:15. Insider tip: In addition to cardamom powder, the Amul brand pure ghee is in a gorgeous tin on the shelf and is cheaper than the large tubs you find elsewhere. It was the perfect amount for me since I don’t use it frequently for a large tub.
So these three are my most recent finds but if you have any in this area please let me know. As you can see I love to explore and see the places less trodden.