Day 6 - April 12th - Plumtree > Francistown

Route Information

Start Plumtree
Finish Francistown
Accomotation Cresta Marang Gardens
Length 96.900km
Terrain Mixed
Ascent 336m (3.5 m per km)
Descent 747m (7.7 m per km)

Places of Interest


Francistown is the second largest city in Botswana, with a population of about 100,079 and 150,800 inhabitants for its agglomeration at the 2011 census and often described as the "Capital of the North." It is located in eastern Botswana, about 400 kilometres (250 mi) north-northeast from the capital, Gaborone. Francistown is located at the confluence of the Tati and Inchwe rivers, and near the Shashe River (tributary to the Limpopo) and 90 kilometres from the international border with Zimbabwe. Francistown was the centre of southern Africa's first gold rush and is still surrounded by old and abandoned mines. The City of Francistown is an administrative district, separated from North-East District. It is administered by Francistown City Council.

Although evidence of habitation by humans goes back around 10,000 years, written evidence is more recent. The Matabelepeople (Ndebele) colonised the area in the 1830s on their way to Bulawayo, bringing their culture and influence to the BaKalanga/Kalanga area of north-eastern Botswana. Reportedly, Nyangabgwe was the nearest village to Francistown to have been visited by Europeans, when it was visited by the missionary, Robert Moffat. Moffat was followed in 1867 by a gold prospector, Karl Mauch who found the Bakalanga mining gold along the Tati River.

The present town was founded in 1897, by the Bakalanga as a settlement near the Monarch mine and named after Daniel Francis, an English prospector from Liverpool who acquired prospecting licences in the region in 1869. Francis was a director of the Tati Land Concessions Land (Tati Concessions Company), which acquired the land from Chief Lobengula. The centre of the new town was formed when the company sold off 300 lots in August of that year. The Monarch mine was not the only mine in operation at that time, and it was widely believed that Francistown would grow rapidly.

In the beginning, the town comprised one street east of, and parallel to the railway line. This street featured several companies, including two hotels, (the Grand and the Tati), retail and wholesale shops and three banks.

Prior to independence Francistown was Botswana’s largest commercial centre. In 1897, the company sold part of the land for residential and commercial purposes, and one may say that this marked the birth of Francistown. The city started as a gold mining town, and gold sustained the area’s economy from the late 1800s until the 1930s. When gold was discovered nearby in 1869 it sparked the first gold rush in Africa fifteen years before the gold boom at Witwatersrand in South Africa. The industry was hard hit by the global recession of the 1930s. Between 1936 and 1980s, the economy of Francistown was largely supported or dependent on the Witwatersrand Native Labour Association, a company that recruited labour for South African mines. The miners were recruited from many African countries, and transported to South Africa through Francistown by air or railway.

Haskins Street (named after a prominent family in the town prior to independence) was the first tarred road in Botswana. Since 1966, the city has grown significantly due mainly to active cross-border trading with Rhodesia/Zimbabwe, in 1997, Francistown became a city, Botswana’s 2nd after Gaborone. With the city located astride Botswana’s main road and rail transport routes, mining, commerce and agriculture have been essential parts of its economy. Tati Nickel, The Dumela Industrial Complex and Botswana Meat Commission are the main economic drivers in the city. Both government departments and private benefit the local economy.

There are a variety of places of worship, including Catholic churches, Muslim mosques, as well as Protestant churches some of which serve traditional African congregations such as the Zionist Christian Church. Education around the city is also diverse. There are several private English-medium schools (Mophato School, KTM and John Mackenzie School) and government schools such as Mater Spei College (partly run by the Roman Catholic Church), Francistown Teacher Training College, University of Botswana Campus and several technical colleges. Transport is also reliable, with railway links to Harare and Bulawayo in Zimbabwe, road links with Ramokgwebana Border in the north, and Kazungula as well as Kasane, Maun via Nata. The airport has flights flying locally, to Gaborone, Maun, Kasane and other points around the country. Local taxis operate through the night.

Cresta Marang Gardens

Less than 10 minutes drive from Francistown city centre, located on the banks of the Tati River with established well manicured gardens, is the charming Cresta Marang Gardens Hotel. Home to several bird species, this 105 roomed facility is the ideal setting for relaxation, but also ensures a professional business feel with more than adequate conference facilities.

One of the best hotels in Francistown, Cresta Marang Gardens offers beautiful accommodation for a relaxing stay as well as a well maintained campsite, for adventure seekers who want to be a little closer to nature, with easy access to modern conveniences of hot water and wifi. At Cresta Marang Gardens, you will have the time to breathe in-between business meetings, giving you a fresh frame of mind to make the right decisions. An always friendly staff, comfortable air conditioned bedrooms and sumptuous à la carte and buffet menus, Marang Gardens answers every traveller’s s needs. Enjoy an evening with light snacks and drinks at the cocktail lounge and pool bar; and feel the excitement at the nearby casino.

Cresta Marang Gardens Hotel is a fully licensed hotel with a 24 hour front desk.

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Share Day 6 - April 12th - Plumtree > Francistown

TOTAL RAISED $ 8,050.00