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Botswana Cities and Districts

Botswana cities and districts have their respective unique features that pertain to culture, geography and economic activities.

There are eight districts in Botswana each having a city almost identified as a district capital city.


Gaborone is both the administrative capital of Botswana and the South East District.

South East District

The South East District is in the south east of Botswana.

It lies along the Botswana-South Africa border.


Francistown is the second largest city in Botswana with a population of 120,000 people.

Named after a gold digger, Daniel Francis, Francistown started off as a gold mining town in 1867.

Francistown is also variously called the Ghetto, Toropo or the capital of the North.

North East District

Although Francistown falls within the Central District it is the most major city closest to the North East District.

The district is mainly for the Bakalanga ethnic group and its administrative capital is Masunga.


Gantsi also known as the capital of the Kalahari, is sometimes loosely spelt as Ghanzi or Ghantsi, which directly translate to 'many times'.

It is furthest away in the west with a population of 30,000 people.

Gantsi District

Gantsi District is unique for being named after its administrative capital town, Gantsi.

The district occupies the heart of the Kalahari Desert.

It is host to the Central Kalahari Game Reserve which is the largest reserve in Africa.

Kgalagadi District

Kgalagadi District, just as with Gantsi District, lies within the Kalahari Desert but to the south west.

The administrative capital of the district is Tsabong.

About 33%of its land has been taken by the Kgalagadi Trans-frotier park which extends into South Africa.


Maun is Botswana's busiest town in air traffic.

This is so because Maun is the tourism capital of Botswana as it is the gateway into the Okavango, Chobe, Makgadikgadi and the Central Kalahari Game Reserve.

Most tourists prefer to chatter small air-crafts from flight tour operators in Maun and fly over these areas.

Maun is a town with a population of 30,000 people that has a mix of modern buildings and native mud huts.

North West District

North West District was formed by merging the Chobe and Ngamiland areas.

Loosely, Maun is the capital of Ngamiland while Kasane is that of Chobe.

However, with the merger Maun is the administrative capital of the entire district.

This makes the district the most tourist-rich area in the whole world as it covers the Okavango, Chobe and Makgadikgadi Pans.


Serowe has for a long while been known as the largest village in Africa with a population of of 90,000 people.

The village is the birth place of three of the only four presidents of Botswana ever had.

Central District

Central District is the largest of Botswana's districts in both area and population.

It is the homeland of the Bamangwato, and covers other ethnic groups of Bakalanga, Batswapong, Babirwa and Basarwa.


Kanye is the administrative capital of the Southern District.

Established in 1853, it is the oldest major settlement in Botswana with buildings from the early 1800s such as the London Missionary Society church still visible.

Southern District

The Southern District is home to the Bangwaketse tribe.

It is home of the richest diamond mine in the world, Jwaneng.


Molepolole is the second largest village after Serowe as it is home to 70,000 people.

The town is the administrative capital of the Kweneng District.

Molepolole is the gate way into the Kalahari Desert.

Kweneng District

Kweneng District is the homeland for Bakwena people.

Bakwena are the first people in Botswana to be converted to Christianity by the missionary David Livingstone.


Mochudi is the homeland for Bakgatla people who settled in the place in 1871.

It is the administrative capital of Kgatleng District.

Kgatleng District

Kgatleng District is the origins of mankind, at least according to a Tswana legend as evidenced by the 'Matsieng' footprints.

These belong to the giant who emerged from the earth's centre along with people and animals to inhabit the world!

Other major Towns in Botswana

  • Palapye:
    palapye mall

    Located halfway between Gaborone and Francistown with a population of 60,000 people, Palapye is Botswana's 'meeting place' with the highest number of people crossing over one place from all parts of the country.

  • You can also read about Old Palapye, a small heritage settlement, but not the same place as Palapye.
  • Shakawe:
  • shakawe
    • Shakawe is the capital of the Okavango, as it is located at the source of the Okavango River where it enters Botswana.
    • Lobatse: is the first place in Botswana to be identified as a town, and it was originally earmarked to be the capital of Botswana. It is 70km to the south of Gaborone with a population of 40,000 people.
    • Selibe Phikwe: is a copper and nickel mining town with a population of 50,000 people. The town derives its name from two small settlements, Selibe and Phikwe, which straddle a large deposit of copper and nickel.
    • Kasane: is in the Chobe area, a place which is synonymous with tourism in Botswana.

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