It’s been a little over three months since I arrived in Gabs, and it’s been a ride. From weeklong road trips, to cultural excursions, to hitting up the nightlife scene, I’ve met awesome folks along the way who have made my experience here worthwhile. In this blog post, I will talk about a few bars/clubs, give you a few tips and discuss what to expect from Gabs nightlife.
As you may know by now, the drinking age in Bots is 18, which means almost all of you are of legal age to consume alcohol here ;) With that being said, it is important to stay safe at all times and not partaking in any adventure (no matter how tempting) that endangers your life or anyone else’s. Basic rule of thumb, don’t do anything you wouldn’t do in the states.
*Most of the clubs and bars I’ve frequented attract a lot of tourists and outsiders, I have yet to experience local bars in the city.*
Main Deck: Found in Main Mall, this restaurant-bar (you will quickly notice that, unless you go to a local bar, most establishments that serve alcohol are restaurant-bars) serves good food (try their pizzas!) and drinks are well prepared. The prices for drinks are similar to that of the states (with your conversion rate, one mixed drink in the states averages to about $8, and in Gabs costing you ~P65). Some are obviously cheaper or more expensive, depends on what you order, but generally the cost of drinks remains the same from place to place.
Tips: On Thursdays, local bands perform. Also, if you have a big group, make sure to arrive a little early (~6/7 pm, especially Thursday-Saturday, as that is when it is most packed) or be prepared to wait.
News Café: Walking distance from campus (~13 min), this restaurant-bar is best on Thurs & Friday for their happy hour (5-7pm). All drinks (with the exception of some, make sure to ask which ones are part of their happy hour deal!) are buy one get one free. It’s best to order with someone because they bring both drinks out at the same time, so unless you want to drink two of the same, I’d recommend splitting it.
Chez Nicolas: Ok, time for a change. Chez is a club in CBD, and in my opinion, plays better music than other clubs in Gabs. In general, it is always better- and more fun- to go out to Chez with a big group.
Tips: make sure to check out their Facebook page for events and whatnot. Usually, ladies get in for free before 9pm on Fridays and 11pm on Saturdays. After said times, the cover charge is P100.
Absolut: Named after, you guessed it, Sweden’s Absolut Vodka, this roof-top club is found inside Masa Centre (another general area to hit up if you’re in the mood for good dinner &/or drinks).
Tips: Local students say to go to Absolut first on a Saturday night and end it at Chez. Absolut also has a cover charge of P100 after 9pm for ladies and gents. Age limit is 21 & over.
Going out does not always mean drinks, sometimes it just means grabbing din din at Pizza Hut!
Finally, it is best to ask Bethel to drop you off & pick you up from wherever you’re going. He knows his way around Gabs and can also give you tips on new places to eat/drink (plus he’s safe & reliable!). Lastly, and this applies to ladies mainly, you will attract unsolicited advances and conversations from men. If you want to engage and interact, go ahead! However, if you are not interested, you are free to say no, they will most likely leave you alone. This is why I also recommend traveling in larger groups, so that you have each other in case anything makes a left turn. Don’t fret, from my experiences (and that of other international students), we have not felt unsafe or in danger the times we’ve gone out. Batswana are generally super friendly and helpful, so don’t be scared to go out and have a blast!