Located partway between Gaborone and Francistown, Palapye is a growing railway town on Botswana’s north-south line. It was originally home to the Bamangwato people who were led by Khama the Great, with the remains of their 19th-century settlement still visible today. The name “Palapye” derives from a word meaning “place of the impalas”.
Things to do in Palapye
Palapye makes an ideal base for visiting the Khama Rhino Sanctuary, a community-based wildlife park that encompasses more than 8,500 hectares of Kalahari sandveld. In addition to providing a refuge for white and black rhinos, it’s home to zebras, blue wildebeest and leopards. More than 230 species of birds have also been recorded here. Guided game drives led by rangers are the best way of exploring the sanctuary.
A short drive east of Palapye are the remains of Phalatswe, which served as the capital of the Bamangwato people from 1889 to 1902. Among its ruins is the London Missionary Society Church, which is an inspiring subject for photographers. Artefacts dating back to the Stone Age have been uncovered at the site, which has now been declared a National Monument.
Also nearby is the Goo Moremi Gorge, a protected heritage site within the Tswapong Hills. It encompasses natural springs and an enchanting waterfall that can be accessed on guided nature walks. The rugged surroundings provide habitat for gemsbok, kudu and bushbuck, together with a huge diversity of birdlife.
Getting around Palapye
Palapye is around three hours’ drive from Gaborone and Sir Seretse Khama International Airport, which has flights to destinations across Africa. Regular buses and trains connect to Palapye and travel through the town. Renting a car and driver is the most convenient way of exploring the area’s natural and cultural attractions.