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What you need to know about Francistown

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 Inchwerivers, 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.

Population: Estimate 111, 905 Visit Population.city
Area: 1,001 m

Currency

The Botswana Pula is the currency of Botswana. Our currency rankings show that the most popular Botswana Pula exchange rate is the USD to BWP rate. Thecurrency code for Pule is BWP, and the currency symbol is P.

Culture and tourism

Francistown is home to the Supa Ngwao Museum, with exhibits related to the area’s history and heritage. The museum, which receives most of its funds from the government, is currently going through refurbishment as of October 2011. A new nature reserve, Tachila, has been established 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) from central Francistown on an old Tati Company Farm, Lady Mary. The nature reserve is expected to be a tourism turn-over for the already flourishing city with its variety of wild animals.

Economy

Mining

Francistown is located on Botswana’s main air and road transport routes; mining and agriculture are important. Principal mining companies include Tati Nickel, owned by Norilsk Nickel, which has operations at the Selkirk Mine and Phoenix Mine, producing principally cobalt, copper and nickel. The Dumela Industrial Complex, an industrial park, is an important employer; the Botswana Metal Refinery was being built in 2008 near the city. However, the project was halted due to high costs.

Media

The city’s media fraternity is still at its infant stage. The media includes Botswana’s The Voice newspaper, which was founded in 1993. This is a very popular tabloid newspaper that had also spread its wings to the capital city, Gaborone.

Language

The official business language of Botswana, and most written communication is in English. A majority of the population speaks Tswana.

Religion

The city is the home to the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Desert, which is the seat of the Apostolic Vicariate of Francistown. There is a mosque a few metres from the city centre in the quiet Town Centre Residencies, the Jamea Masjid, that serves the Muslim population. Not far from it is the Independent Church of Francistown, an old-style church building that serves some of the city’s Christian population. Other worship venues in the city include the Zion Christian Church (ZCC), Christ Embassy, Hindu Temple, Satya Sai Centre and many others. With these choices, visitors and inhabitants are offered a variety of worship places.

Transport

The city is a major transport hub. A railway line links the city with Harare in Zimbabwe via Bulawayo. The same line links Francistown with the capital city Gaborone and Lobatse in the south. Surfaced roads link the city to Ramokgwebana in the north, and to Kazungula as well as Kasane via Nata. The city is served by Francistown Airport, a domestic airport with two runways located around 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) from the city. In 2003, it had a total passenger throughput of 29,223. Another airport, Francistown International Airport was opened on 9 September 2011 after being built at a cost of P596 million, officially opened by Minister of Transport, Frank Ramsden. With a terminal building designated for traffic forecast of up to 2025, it has a larger capacity and has replaced the old airport, which is now used by the Botswana Defence Force’s Air Arm.

Weather

Francistown features a hot semi-arid climate, with warm to hot summers and mild winters. The city on averages sees 460 millimetres (18 in) of precipitation annually. The city features a short wet season that spans from December through March and a lengthy dry season that covers the remaining eight months. Francistown receives on average only 3 millimetres (0.12 in) of precipitation at the peak of its dry season (from June through August), which is also when it experiences its chilliest temperatures. Average low temperatures routinely fall below 8 °C (46 °F) during the aforementioned months.