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Oodi is an unassuming village in Kgatleng District, 20km north-east of Gaborone. I’ve participated in a few Y-Care Charity walks on the outskirts of Oodi and also hiked up the distinctively rounded Oodi Hill a couple of times. But I’d never run through the village itself.
So on Sunday we thought it would be fun to explore the village on the run. I’d say from our somewhat spider-shaped route, we made a pretty good effort of getting some wide coverage!
We parked at the base of Oodi Hill, strapped on our hydration packs and hit the road! We first headed towards the main road and turned right, running just over a 1km to get to the Oodi College of Applied Arts and Technology which was opened in 2012.
We then headed back in the direction we had come, but this time took the right turn onto the paved road which heads into the heart of the village. We navigated our way to Oodima Community Junior Secondary School. We spotted a heavily graffitied school sign as well as an old (and now defunct) pay phone by the gate entrance. Remember those?
We returned to the paved road and worked our way back to the fork leading towards Matebeleng. This road took us to the famous Lentswe-la-Oodi Weavers which was opened in 1973 as a Swedish-initiated cooperative to provide economic stability and to empower women from Oodi, Matebeleng and Modipane. The cooperative is now owned by the weavers themselves who design and produce beautiful handwoven and hand-dyed wool wall hangings, tapestries, runners and bedspreads, with most designs depicting rural scenes, animals or traditional geometric patterns. A visit to Oodi is incomplete without a stop here.
Once back on the tarred road, we ran across the Notwane River and to the first of a long stretch of vegetable markets that line the road on your approach into Oodi from the A1.
We then returned to the Hill but as we still had a couple of km left, we added an extra loop on the left side of the hill, running on a slightly pebbly path through a small neighbourhood.
This path took us to the main road and back to the Community Hall at the base of Oodi Hill.
Five Things I Loved About Running In Oodi
Sense Of Community: As we ran along the paved road heading towards the school, it was quiet but neighbours had already started chatting across their fences. Coming from a city, this is something I miss and remember so fondly from my childhood when we didn’t have huge walls surrounding our homes. It was lovely to see neighbours talking and laughing from the comfort of their yards. We also spotted some kids playing out on the street and one girl in head-to-toe pink shouted ‘Hello’. There was a lot of music – first, a lively choir at a Pentecostal worship session, ironically, next to the blue bottle-store, then a blue truck blared gospel music as it puttered down the bumpy gravel road and finally some jazz music from someone’s yard.
Terrain For Every Runner. We ran on tarred road, pavement as well as trail, all on our 15km route. There were gentle slopes, enough to add that extra workout but without leaving you terribly out of breath. And for those looking for hill repeats or a stiff climb, Oodi Hill beckons with a concrete path all the way up to the top and spectacular views as your reward.
Quirky Signs and Shops. I love unique shops and creative signs and although there are a few hidden in Gaborone, Oodi had many more to offer! This outdoor hair salon was one of my favourites but there were several other quirky places dotted around the village.
Bravely Bold Buildings. Oodi certainly doesn’t fear bold colours and fun patterns! It may not quite be to your taste but it certainly adds a lot of character and flavour to the place.
Great Entrepreneurial Spirit: There were so many small businesses, some lining the roads, but most tucked away in people’s yards. They were car and tyre repairs, furniture upholstery, woodwork and carpentry, brick-moulding, bakeries, hair salons, bars and bottle stores, several dimausu (food vendors/kiosks) and fruit and vegetable stalls. As I ran past one stall, the fire was already roaring in preparation to roast the maize (corn) cobs.
Oodi Village was a fun place to run – navigating the quaint paved roads and taking in so many bright features, bold colours and fun signs. There was a relaxed vibe but also a subtle liveliness as people set up shop or chatted with their neighbours across the street. I would highly recommend this place to city runners looking for a slightly different experience.
Have you run in Oodi before? Which village/town do you want me to explore next? What new place have you run in recently?
#Annoucement: I’m so excited to be a Pineapple Clothing (USA) Ambassador and on my run through Oodi I felt at home in my comfortable, fun and flowery leggings! If you’re looking to jazz up your closet, use this affiliate link and get 20% off with my Coupon Code: SHACOY.
I’m joining Kooky Runner and Zenaida on their link up, Tuesday Topics. I’m also joining the Runner’s Roundup with Mile By Mile, Coach Debbie Runs, Confessions of a Mother Runner, Runs with Pugs, and Laura Norris Running! Be sure to read their blogs and catch up with other runners from around the world.