Location of Serowe in Botswana

Coordinates: 22°23′S 26°43′E / 22.383°S 26.717°E / -22.383; 26.717
Country Botswana
District Central District
Sub-District Serowe/Palapye
Elevation 1,140 m (3,740 ft)
Population (2011)[1]
  Total 47,447
Time zone Central Africa Time (UTC+2)
  Summer (DST) not observed (UTC+2)
Area code(s) 463xxxx
ISO 3166 code BW=CE
Climate BSh

Serowe (population approximately 60,000) is a town in Botswana's Central District and is a trade and commerce centre. It is as famed Botswana's largest village. Serowe has a rich history in Botswana; it being the capital for the Bamangwato people in the early part of the 20th century and for being the birthplace of many of Botswana's Presidents. In recent times it has seen many developments as the town and Botswana continue to grow.


Serowe has a memorial to Khama III, chief of the Bamangwato people in the late 19th and early 20th century. In 1903 he founded as a new capital Serowe, Bamangwato.New International Encyclopedia. It is also the birthplace of Seretse Khama, Botswana's first President, and the traditional center of the Bamangwato tribe.

Swaneng Hill School in Serowe was the first of the Brigades Movement schools founded by educationalist Patrick van Rensburg.


View from Swaneng Hill east across the Kalahari

Serowe is located in a fertile area, well-watered by the Lotsane River. It lies west of the GaboroneFrancistown road, from which it is easily reached. It also marks the beginning of the Serowe-Orapa road, which ends at the diamond mines in Orapa. Construction of this road began in 1986, and was completed several years later.

There are two hills at Swaneng - called Rra-Swaneng and Mma-Swaneng: Father- and Mother- Swaneng respectively.

Notable features of the local area include a Botswana Defence Force (BDF) base on the road to Paje and the Khama Rhino Sanctuary.

The Khama Rhino Sanctuary is a charitable game reserve established in 1992 by the Ballentines and Watsons (local families) and Ian Khama (the current President) that lies 25 km north of Serowe itself. The 4,300 hectares of Kalahari sandveld was established as a haven for black and white Rhinoceros.


Serowe currently serves as the capital of the Central District. The town also has a rich history in the Botswana Government, with Sir Seretse Khama, the first president of Botswana and father of current president, President Lieutenant General Ian Khama, and former president, Festus Mogae, having been born in Serowe.

The Botswana Prison Service (BPS) operates the Serowe New Prison.[2]


Since the turn of 2000, Serowe has undergone numerous developments and continues to expand at a steady rate, despite an exponential growth from neighbouring Palapye. The Swaneng Senior Secondary School, fondly referred to as Swaneng Hill, was also upgraded by the Botswana government through a Chinese construction company. It now has relatively modern chemistry, physics and biology laboratories. However they lack equipment for in-depth experiments. Despite this, they have sparked an interest in the sciences, leading to the school sending a lot of capable students overseas. It is also noteworthy to mention that they have a highly knowledgeable history department that takes students on field trips to ancient sites around the country. Debating is highly encouraged, leading to a number of national championship titles.

One of the major upgrades was the construction of the new state-of-the-art Sekgoma Hospital, which is located 6 km to the south of the main town, replacing the old and derelict hospital in the area also by the same name. It operates as the main district hospital in the area. The facility was constructed at an estimated cost of P300 million. The hospital was opened to the public by late 2007. It has proved to be a major centre in the area, reducing a heavy burden at the Francistown Hospital, which was succumbing to problems of overcrowding and unhygienic conditions.

Another major development that has taken place was the Serowe Stadium and surrounding sports complex. This project, which cost the Botswana government P30 million, was opened in mid-2003. It currently provides the Central District with its only major sports facility.

The town used to be served by Serowe Airport. The airport location was used to build the now completed Sekgoma Memorial Hospital and the adjacent Nursing Institute.


Serowe was the adopted home of South African-born writer Bessie Head, inspiring her 1974 book Serowe: Village of the Rain Wind. Her name and importance to the village is remembered in the Khama III Memorial Museum in the Bessie Head Room, which was established (the room) in 2007.


  1. "2011 Census". Archived from the original on 27 December 2012.
  2. "Prisons and Rehabilitation." (Archive) Government of Botswana. Retrieved on 26 March 2013.

Coordinates: 22°23′S 26°43′E / 22.383°S 26.717°E / -22.383; 26.717

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