There was something about the top of Kgale hill that would put my dad into full Mufasa mode. "Good morning child. We are looking out across the land and life is good", are the kinds of texts he would send to me in London at ungodly hours of Sunday mornings while he was looking out from Gaborone's hilltop.
My parents recently went on a two year adventure from the UK to Gaborone to help set up the medical school at the University of Botswana. So for the past couple of Christmases I've been flying south for the winter to Botswana's capital, Gaborone. As Gaborone isn't the most exciting of Africa's capitals, most people travelling to Botswana head straight for the Okavango Delta further north near Maun, an area famous for its safari's and wildlife. But Gabs does have a few gems worth spending a couple of days enjoying, of which Kgale Hill just on the outskirts of the city (near Game City Mall) is one of them.
While in Gabs Sunday morning hikes to the top of Kgale became a family tradition followed by brunch at our favourite garden cafe Sanitas to replace all the calories that got away on the hillside. It's a great way to see the city, and realise from the top just how small it is, and also a great way to meet local families on the hike who will greet you with a sweaty 'Dumela'.
The best time to go is early in the morning before it gets too hot (most people head out about 6am) and when there are people around in case you pass out from being over enthusiastic about your exercise. Once you're on your way, the hike takes about an hour each way. There's an easy beginners route and slightly tougher route which involves actually climbing a bit of rockface- best avoided if you spent Saturday night at one of the two bars worth going to in town.
The view at the top is beautiful and would be the perfect place to sit down and have a little meditate if not for the baboons gallavanting around the hill and your sweaty panting family next to you on the rocks. However there is something about standing that high above sea level with your loved ones that makes you feel a bit on top of the world.
Author: Kiran Yoliswa is Co-Founder of SBA, a graduate student of Development Studies at SOAS University, freelance journo and Kgale Hill climber.