Most people will associate Botswana with the vast flat Kalahari Desert but there are a good number of rock outcrops around the country. Right in the capital Gaborone, there is Kgale Hill which has a number of cliffs of up to 25m high with several bolted routes as well as trad routes. About 60km further South there is a group of hills surrounding a village called Otse. Other climbing areas include the Kanye gorge(90km from Gaborone), the Kobokwe Gorge in Molepolole, the Tswapong Hills (250km north of Gaborone) with a number of gorges in it, bouldering in Moshupa and Thamaga south of Gaborone. There are a surprising number of gorges and outcrops along the Eastern edge of the country. which the Kalahari Mountain Club has been unearthing over the years.
The most accessible climbing area is Kgale Hill which faces the new Game City shopping complex in Gaborone (with it’s own climbing wall). You can park in the vast shopping centre car park and then it is a short walk to the base of the cliffs. There are three main areas.There is easy access to the base and the top of these cliffs if you want to set up a top rope. You will need a rigging rope as the nearest suitable anchor points are sometimes a little way back from the top of the cliffs
RD compiled by Carl Bauer - http://www.bauerconsultbotswana.com/Climbing/climbBot1.html
A word of environmental caution: Rocks in Botswana are scarce and this means that the ecosystems on these rocks are unique. If we are going to climb on them we should tread lightly. In other parts of the world where rock is plentiful rock climbers do not have access to rock because some climbers have been disrespectful of the environment. The following advice may seem obvious but it is not so to everyone:
Nesting birds should be given a wide berth. We should not climb anywhere near them as some, like the vultures at Otse, are under threat of extinction. See Birdlife Botswana's website. There are also many unique plants and trees on and around the rocks and these should be left intact. Needless to say let's not leave litter and if you see some you could even take it away.