Gaborone - Post Report Question and Answers

How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

Most things are available, but with limited variety. You have to visit several stores to complete your shopping list. The market at the Serbian church is popular and reminds people of a Western farmers' market. Botswana imports most of its food and started restricting the import of produce in 2021. So we go through episodes where there are shortages of basic produce like tomatoes or potatoes. People make a sport of tracking down these rare items and then posting their finds on WhatsApp. Many people drive to South Africa to buy produce, but technically, it's illegal to bring that produce in, although people do. Produce and cleaning products are more expensive than in the States, but beef is super cheap and very good quality. Eggs here are very tasty as well. - Dec 2023

I did this tour right after Tajikistan which was a 30% hardship post. I thought the selection of groceries here was pretty good although it was definitely better in South Africa (basically same as the US). Johannesburg was 4 1/2 hours away so you could always go there or go to Rustenburg (3 hours away) for better groceries. Sometimes you couldn't find specific items you liked or wanted. - Jul 2019

Groceries are not cheap in Botswana but not expensive either. In Gaborone you can find everything you need, just maybe not everything you want. I imagine it is more difficult to grocery items outside of Gaborone or other major towns. - Apr 2017

You can find everything you need here - just not everything you want. It's not unusual to go to the store and you can't find tomatoes, or eggs. Or even bread! But it will be there tomorrow. You just have to get there when the truck from South Africa gets in. But if you're willing to look, you really can find almost anything. Costs are lower than US, but not cheap-cheap. - Jul 2016

Availability is EXCELLENT for an African post - cost is comparable to the U.S. Lots of red meat and chicken available here, pork products less so. Upscale Woolworths carries great produce, bread, pasta/sauce, dairy/yogurt/cheese/ice cream, even cookies and cake mixes. Bring your Mexican/Latin American food favorites - spices, sauces, black beans. Bring CHOCOLATE CHIPS!! Bring your own paper products. Randomly, they do not have all-purpose flour, so bring and/or order that. - Mar 2015

The variety of groceries is really limited. Sometimes you find something, next time they don't have it anymore. All products are imported and that adds to the cost. - Oct 2014

Groceries can be fairly expensive by U.S. standards. Household supplies are comparable. - Nov 2013

Groceries are surprisingly varied and readily available, but expensive. Everything is imported through South Africa from there, Europe, South America, or elsewhere in the world, so all manner of fresh produce and fine cheeses from England, France, Italy, etc. are available. Several American products are available as well -- even Dr. Pepper imported from Texas at one grocery store! You can find most everything you'd need, again, all at a price. One generally has to go to two or three stores to get everything you need/want. There is a store called Game that was recently acquired by Wal-Mart and has many of those types of household products. - Jul 2013

All South African brands are available - not cheap but I've been at more costly posts. The shock is the price of chicken - 40% more expensive than beef. Being close to South Africa, you can find about everything. - Apr 2013

There are numerous quality South African grocery chains where the quality and variety is quite good. On a good day, you will find unexpected American products at reasonable prices. On a bad day, you will need to go to 3 stores to get the brand of butter or cereal that you prefer. Generally prices here are comparable to the U.S. and most products you crave for a western diet are readily available in stores, though sometimes you can only find South African brands which are slightly different than what you are used to back home. - Jun 2010


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