On The Run

Chasing Jacarandas In Gaborone

Exhausted from my recent travels to Ghana and Kasane, I was looking forward to a rare lie-in this weekend. But Ditiro was quick to say, “We can’t miss the jacarandas. They are out in full bloom now!” Ah yes, my favourite time of year to run in the city…

The Jacaranda mimosifolia is a sub-tropical tree native to South America but has been widely planted in many parts of the world because of its vibrant violet flowers. In Africa, they are mostly found in Kenya, South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Botswana, and each year, from late September to November, they burst into bloom adorning different towns in a magnificent and magical display of colour. The purple looks spectacular against Botswana’s blue skies.

Where To Find The Best Jacarandas In Gaborone

Although there are Jacarandas around the city, the area where they are most abundant is downtown Gaborone. So this morning we parked the car in the Main Mall and started our 6km run from there, heading to Khama Crescent which offers a pretty purple row of Jacarandas.

We then took a small detour past the official residence of the Vice President opposite Thornhill Primary School to find a glorious canopy of purple blossoms in the roundabout as well as a lush carpet of fallen flowers with bees buzzing excitedly from one to the next.

We then headed back to Khama Crescent, hopped onto Morupule Road and joined Independence Avenue. From here, we turned left onto North Ring Road, taking a short detour onto Lengau Close to admire the Jacarandas interspersed with the ever-present Bougainvillea.

Next we turned onto Nswazwi Road, left onto Moemi Road, where we were in for another purple shower when we took the bend past Karong Clinics.

It was then back onto Independence Avenue for the last few minutes of our run. Before turning right into the Main Mall, we crossed Botswana Road briefly so we could appreciate even more jacarandas next to the Trinity Church.

As we arrived back at the car, we were welcomed by another majestic jacaranda next door to the Central Police Station, and just opposite the road from where we had parked.

There are many visitors to Gaborone who are quick to right it off as a dull and dusty town. And to be honest, I don’t blame them. The city doesn’t boast beautiful parks, historic monuments, interesting museums and art galleries, exciting tourist attractions and significant landmarks, or even a buzzing night scene. But once you stay a while you realise Gaborone has a subtle charm and quiet energy that slowly pulls you in. You start to appreciate the small things the city offers – the clean streets, the lack of crowds, the relaxed pace, the pockets of artwork, and at this time of the year, the beautiful jacarandas with their vibrant flowers welcoming summer.

Have you been out chasing Jacarandas? Are there Jacarandas where you live? Where would you recommend someone runs to see Jacarandas in your town or city?

I’m joining two fabulous runners, Kim from Running on the Fly and Deborah from Confessions from a Mother Runner for their link up – the “Weekly Run Down”.

44 thoughts on “Chasing Jacarandas In Gaborone

  1. So beautiful! It sounds like you were on a similar mission as my cherry blossom runs. I really enjoy seeing all the pictures from where you run. It brings the other side of the ocean a bit closer! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oooh, thank you for sharing this with us, Shathiso — they are absolutely stunning! My husband generally measured a location either by the food or the scenery — so he would love the jacarandas too. I don’t think we have any, we are obviously not a tropical area.

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  3. WOW!!!! Those jacarandas are absolutely beautiful!!!! Pretty sure we have zero of those in my area LOL Currently, our leaves are starting their autumn right of passage…turning colors before they all descend onto the ground. Thanks so much for sharing this experience…totally brightened my somewhat cloudy/gloomy morning 😉

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  4. How beautiful are those trees! I don’t think we have any here, although there might be some in our botanical gardens, I’ll have to have a look. Thank you for sharing this with us!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They are so beautiful at this time of year but when they lose their flowers, you hardly notice them although they provide great shade! They originated in South America but have absolutely thrived in this part of Africa. It would be interesting to see if you have them in your botanical gardens!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I had to look it up, and yes, there are jacarandas in Florida! Reading your post made me realize that I’m not fully appreciating my own area. Anyway, I loved this tour of your town- all the purple is really beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Jenny!

      I challenge you to a Jacaranda Run in Florida when the time comes round for you! Unfortunately, they are out in full bloom for such a short time and without flowers they are barely noticeable! But keep an eye out as soon as Spring arrives!

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  6. We definitely don’t have jacarandas here in the Midwest US! I wish we did, though. They are beautiful. I wanted a lie-in today but I’m doing that trail challenge, so duty called me out of bed! I’m tired.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. We have jacarandas in certain parts of Puerto Rico, but nothing like this pretty road. What a treat to run there. Also, you are a wonderful ambassador to your city and country.

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    1. Thank you Angie! That’s a lovely thing to say – I really do love showcasing Gaborone and Botswana in general. It was such a treat to run in this area – this is an older part of town so the jacarandas are very well-established here.

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  8. I LOVE jacarandas, I know they are alien to our neck of the woods, but I always said that if I should ever live in JHB, I’d buy a house with one in the garden (It is illegal to plant them in SA because they are alien). Sadly they don’t grown down on the coast, so I have to please myself with a visit north at this time of the year to see them. At varsity (I studied in JHB) the rule was if you hadn’t started studying for finals by the time the jacaranda flowers started falling, you’d left it too late.

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    1. They are so beautiful!! But I read somewhere that they have become quite invasive and territorial so I guess it makes sense why they would be illegal to plant… but they are just so gorgeous!!! When racing returns to normal, we should do the Jacaranda Race in Pretoria! It always falls around my birthday and I’ve said for a long time that it would be an absolute dream to run a Half Marathon surrounded by all that purple!

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  9. Oh, those Jacarandas blooms are so pretty, thank you for sharing them with us! The closest thing we have for creating a special running route is when we run into DC to see the cherry blossoms. We used to do that regularly, but haven’t done it in several years.

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  10. STUNNING!

    We don’t have anything like that here. Our big “boom” event is azaleas, and while they are pretty, they are also pretty common, and you wouldn’t necessarily make a running destination out of them.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Jacarandas!!! Can’t wait to check them out when we arrive in Cape Town this week. Although, the ones I see are not as big and beautiful as yours, Shathiso. Great photos, too!
    I like your description of Gabarone in the last paragraph – “subtle charm and quiet energy that slowly pulls you in”… I’ve never been to Gabarone but I understand exactly what you mean.

    Is Botswana open to international travel again?

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    1. For the best jacarandas Catrina, if possible, stop in Pretoria or Johannesburg on your way to Cape Town. Those two towns probably have THE most spectacular showers of purple! There is an annual race in Pretoria that is typically held around mid-October that takes you along those jacaranda lined streets – the Jacaranda Marathon. Beauty at its finest!!

      I think Botswana is open again! When we visited Kasane last week, there were quite a few European tourists. But I think we are still on the red list for other countries.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Thank you so much for giving the detailed information on where to find these beautys in Gabs – I just arrived here again after spending summer back home in Europe and now get to enjoy spring in Botswana. Flying into Gaborone airport I already wondered what these stunning trees would be called and thanks to you now I learned and definetely will go and check them out in the city center.

    Your blog gives me so much confidence in solo running as a female in Gaborone, and also lots of inspiration on where to go here. Thank you!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Doris, So lovely to hear from a fellow blogger who is based in Gaborone! I’m also very happy that you have found my blog useful to you. When I started the blog, it was more focused on my running journey but it slowly transitioned to also showcasing some of the beauty around the city but also in Botswana in general! Please let me know if ever you need more information. I’m also going to check out your blog – I saw that I could translate it from German to English!

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