Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Gaborone, where the famous Lady Detective lives

I’m in Gaborone, the sleepy, but pleasant capital of Botswana.  No doubt many of you have read the best selling series by Alexander McCall Smith  ( on the entertaining exploits of Madam Precious Ramotswe, the owner of the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency.  The books were made into a hit TV series in Britain, which was later picked up by HBO and is now available through Netflix.
The series is set in Gaborone where the Rhodesia-born, Scottish author and law professor is said to have a home.  This is not a city where tourists will want to spend much time, although the Americans at the Embassy say it is a great posting for families.  For visitors, it is really more a transit point to explore Botswana’s interior, which I’m told includes some of the best game reserves and most fascinating deserts, and wetlands in all of Africa ( Unfortunately Gaborone will be the extent of my Botswana visit.

The Kalahari which runs through Botswana and Namibia is said to be one of the world’s oldest and driest deserts and the habitat where a dwindling number of nomadic Kalahari Bushman eek out a meager existence by obtaining water from the morning dew and from various plants and underground sources that their people have learned to recognize over the centuries.  Their principal foods are bulbs, fruits, leaves and grasses, augmented by a little game whenever they can get it. Their ethnic name is San or Basarwa and as I mentioned in my Namibia post, they are one of about 4 tribes that speak with clicks (  They were also the principal backdrop of the movie The Gods Must be Crazy (

As a final comment: the Botswana currency is pula, which means rain in the dominant Setswana language. The cents are thebe which according to Wikipedia, means shield, but which a local told me also means drop! Now that's cute!

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